Feature Story

Tech Haven connects campus with digital technology

By Mount Mary University

Posted on November 27, 2023

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The Haggerty Library is home to the Tech Haven, a new hub for connecting students, faculty and staff with tools for bringing creative visions to life.

Located on the library’s lower level, the Tech Haven is part of a STEM by Design grant recently acquired by the university. The space holds PC and Mac computers with access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of design software, as well as a separate room for podcasting. Digital Literacy Specialist Sarah O’Connell oversees the center and serves as its ambassador and trainer, helping to educate the campus community about the available resources.  

The Tech Haven has seen a flurry of activity, with classes already stopping in to take advantage of the recording equipment for class projects or just get help learning the basics of commonly used computer programs.  

O’Connell stresses the importance of promoting digital literacy as an essential skill for both classroom and career success, but adds that the learning curve of unfamiliar technology can sometimes feel intimidating.  

“People assume because students are digital natives that they’re automatically familiar with this technology, which isn’t necessarily true,” she emphasizes. 

O’Connell and her staff of student peer collaborators are available to answer questions and offer tutorials, making these resources accessible and helping to build confidence in users. 

We’re here to build up students and help them see themselves as capable.

Sarah O’Connell, Digital Literacy Specialist

“We’re here to build up students and help them see themselves as capable,” O’Connell says of her team’s role. “We’re going to help figure out what they want to make and set smart goals to accomplish that.” 

Rather than just providing information, O’Connell wants to build students into experts who are empowered to seek answers. 

“We’re going to normalize saying ‘I don’t know,’ and ‘this is hard, but it will get easier.’ We’ll support people by providing the resources to find solutions and become comfortable with learning.” 

As digital literacy becomes increasingly important for all fields, O’Connell plans to continue the conversation with faculty and department chairs about which new tools to add. She also plans to develop workshops and to build a mobile
lab to bring available technology directly to the students.