South African Strategic Collaboration

(This YouTube is a 16 second video clip of some of our colleagues at the CPUT in South Africa. It will transport you instantly to the Southern Hemisphere! Take a moment to meet the people with whom we are forming a collaborative working relationship, folks that may now be considered new arrivals to our library. After all, they are appearing more and more regularly, sometimes bigger than life, on our large monitors using apps like Skype, so their electronic presence is already a fact. Consider the clip a long distance “handshake & hello” made especially for us. Also pictured above are the South African team members with views of the university and the city.)

Virginia Tech University Libraries announces strategic partnership with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Libraries. 

International collaboration has long been one of VT University Libraries’ outreach initiatives, and Dr. Tyler Walters, Dean of the VT University Libraries, has sought out and sealed the partnership by signing, along with Dr. Elisha Chiware, Director of CPUT Libraries, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). He was assisted by Lesley Moyo, Head of Reference and Instructional Services, who is friends with Chiware and was instrumental in introducing the two deans at a conference.

Two teams are gearing up to collaboratively produce an international MOOC–from different sides of the globe.

During the MOU process, an exciting opportunity to produce meaningful instructional content coincidentally presented itself that would instantly pitch the two libraries together in a tight-scheduled project. An “open education” effort, the project is the first in an agreement for strategic collaboration between the South African institution’s academic library and our own.The job, inspired and facilitated by Stanford University’s Prof. John Willinsky during his visit to VT, is to design a MOOC module for Student Publishing Skills.

VT Deans’ Forum on Global Engagement

A second opportunity emerged in a call for presentations and posters at the VT Deans’ Forum on Global Engagement, also with a spring deadline, which subsequently resulted in a slot on a panel discussion event awarded to the library team.

Abstract: Student Publishing Skills: An Open, Global Learning Module

The VT team consists of Philip Young (contact person,, Anita Walz, Jennifer Nardine, Scott Pennington, and Paul Hover. The University Libraries is contributing a learning module on student publishing to the international course “Open Knowledge,” organized by the Public Knowledge Project. The course, scheduled to begin in September 2014, will be taken for credit by students in Ghana, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., and by anyone around the world with an internet connection as a non-credit MOOC.

 The learning module supports an increased focus on publishing student research at the undergraduate
and graduate levels. Students benefit not only from publishing their own research but by becoming
active participants in the publishing process. Issues in journal publishing such as peer review, editorial
policies, licensing, attribution, plagiarism, reproducibility, and open access are introduced. Learning
about research dissemination supports curricular goals and prepares future scholars on an international

The project will include collaborators at Virginia Tech as well as at our sister institution, the Cape
Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to advocating for the
open dissemination of scholarly information, the module will utilize and contribute to existing open
educational resources (OER) on student publishing, and will remain available after course completion.
Internally, this project supports the development of student publishing at Virginia Tech through
strengthening library capacities in information literacy and publishing services.

(Photos in gallery: