University of Pittsburgh

ACIE Award 2011

Information Professionals and Student Interactions (IPSI)

Christinger Tomer Sue Alman

Christinger Tomer

Information Sciences
608A Information Sciences Building

Sue Alman

Information Sciences
604A Information Sciences Building


Watch the above video of Chris Tomer and Sue Alman discussing their ACIE Project.

Bridging academics with practice has always posed a challenge for professional education. Traditionally, faculty look outside of the University for practitioners to speak about relevant professional issues.  Information Professionals and Student Interactions (IPSI), enables Master of Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) students to interact with alumni in mentorship opportunities. Christinger Tomer and Sue Alman, Information Sciences, created a repository of five “digital mentors” selected from MLIS alumni currently working in LIS professions.  Students were assigned to each mentor and the mentors were video recorded and interviewed on WebEx, a web conferencing and collaboration utility.  After viewing the interviews, students and mentors participated in discussions on Blackboard where they submitted questions and comments to the mentors, applying key concepts and gaining a better understanding of real life issues.

In addition, support was available to record invited speakers as master teachers in a class sessions and during a presentation recognizing the 10th anniversary (link to Mediasite recording) of the FastTrack MLIS Program, the first fully online degree program at Pitt developed by Tomer and Alman, with their colleague Mary Kay Biagini.

This initiative can be sustained over a three-year period, serving as a model for other faculty who wish to cut costs by creating a viable alternative to hosting “live” guest speakers.  Alman and Tomer thank graduate student Becky Berkey, who coordinated and recorded the interviews, and managed the development of this project.

Final Report

Teaching Times Article

Virtual Lecture

Digital Mentors: