My Experiences as a Student Instructional Technology Consultant

This blog post was written by Christopher Seeman, LSA Class of 2017 - B.S. in Statistics, Minor in Mathematics & Digital Studies and Student Instructional Technology Consultant in ScholarSpace (2nd floor Hatcher)

Christopher Seeman sitting at a computer in ScholarSpace
Christopher Seeman in ScholarSpace

I began working as a Student Instructional Technology Consultant for the Graduate Library in April 2015. Since January I've been a student consultant in the newly created ScholarSpace. I’ve discovered that I’m learning just as much as our patrons! Working as a consultant requires a drive to learn new tools, flexibility and openness to unique solutions, and a willingness to be a bit experimental in finding the best solution! It’s all part of a process as informative as it is exciting!

For instance, when you’re writing a dissertation using Microsoft Word, you’ll come to realize that the tool is far more powerful than you could have imagined getting out a simple paper just minutes before it’s due. In fact, take all the formatting areas into account – margins, indents, chapters, figures, page numbers, tables, styles, etc. – it can seem more than a little daunting! I wasn’t too familiar with all of the tools I had at my disposal upon arriving, but with a little practice, especially applied towards helping out patrons, it has become easy to see just how useful these tools are. I even found myself using the techniques quite a bit for my own work! With software such as Microsoft Word, their friendly interface can mask a slew of complex tools, but as you become more confident in working with the program, you’ll be amazed at just what you’re capable of creating.

Also, we are in an exciting, albeit potentially frustrating, period of transition at the University of Michigan, marked by the transition from CTools to Canvas for educational interfaces. I was drawn to the heart of the change by utilizing Canvas in consultation appointments. As one of the few undergraduate students who managed to “create” his own Canvas site as an instructor, I again got to play around with the tools on a blank, for lack of a better word, canvas. Helping instructors come in to develop their own Canvas sites allowed me to build knowledge and experience with a new tool that had just entered the spotlight at the university.

With all of the programs at my disposal, full of excitement and complexity, working at the library as a Scholar Space Consultant has been a truly awesome experience. Even beyond the tools, you get to meet several people working on all kinds of amazing projects, and maybe even the professor of a class you took last semester! Through every consultation I’ve done, there’s always a feeling of excitement and discovery, for both myself and the patron.