Last year Capilano University Library, in North Vancouver, began major renovations, participated in the LibQual survey, and held a feedback session with students. There were many changes made based upon the results of the survey and the session, but the most immediate and most noticeable was the creation of a Communications Librarian role. A recent MLIS graduate who had been working part-time on contract was given the position; he’s a personable, kind, and helpful person whose instantly recognizable to students for his infectious smile as much as his towering height. The lesson? I think that we can learn communication skills in the classroom, or at work, but nothing beats natural aptitude.
From this week’s readings, the study on perception of communication skills amongst instructors and students (Alshare, Lane, & Miller, 2011) made me think about my own assessment, so far, of this program. My impression of my classmates is that we’re all good communicators, and this is being tested by juggling, in my case, four group projects. It’s not the group dynamics, that’s the problem, it’s coordinating when we can all meet that’s turning into the true challenge. I find it the perfect combination of time management skills and communication, and I much prefer it to some of the examples in the article. For example, I flinched when they mentioned writing cover letters; I’m in my 8th year of post-secondary education, if I have to complete another resume and cover letter assignment I’ll go mental.
As much as I enjoyed the relevancy of the article, I have issues with their methodology. That the survey ‘was available’ for about half a year, explains why they only got 59 and 83 participants. I’m also surprised that socio-economic backgrounds weren’t taken as an external influencing factor because I feel that this can severely hamper communication in the same way as cross-cultural communication issues. I may be wrong however, the list of external variables in the Results section ends with, “and other variables” (Alshare, Lane, & Miller, 2011, p. 189), but if they did take this attribute into account, then it would have been interesting to learn it’s effect.
Alshare, K.A., Lane, P.L., and Miller, D. (2011). Business communication skills in information systems (IS) curricula: perspectives of IS educators and students. Journal of Education for Business, 86, 186-194. DOI: 10.1080/08832323.2010.497819.