KU Libraries selects 2024 Sprints Week participants

The University of Kansas Libraries have selected Patrick Ploschnitzki, Assistant Teaching Professor of German in the Department of Slavic, German, and Eurasian Studies, and Anurag Garg, Assistant Professor of Analytics, Information and Operations Management, as 2024 Sprints Week participants.  

Ploschnitzki and Garg will each work together with a team of librarian experts on a research or teaching project during Sprints Week over the spring-summer intersession and have been awarded a $1,000 stipend. Both of this year’s projects will explore technology integration into courses, with the goal of incorporating emerging platforms and tools, including artificial intelligence (AI), to enhance learning.  

Patrick Ploschnitzki and Anurag Garg
Patrick Ploschnitzki and Anurag Garg, 2024 Sprints Selections

Garg teaches business analytics courses for undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Business. One of his goals is ensuring that students have a basic understanding of any data they may encounter on the job. His Sprints project will focus on looking at new tools he might use and exploring data sets that may be useful and engaging for students to fuel assignments and discussion.   

As an assistant professor in the research track, Garg appreciates the opportunity to focus on teaching via the project.  

“If there are resources out there that can help me make my courses better, I want to use those resources,” Garg said. “After teaching the courses twice I have learned some things, but I know I can figure these things out earlier and easier by using the library resources.” 

Ploschnitzki teaches introductory and intermediate German language courses and his project will focus on diversifying information sources and enhancing language learning. 

“I’ve been teaching for more or less 15 years and when I started generative AI was certainly not a thing, and Google Translate was barely a thing,” Ploschnitzki said. “I’ve been meaningfully integrating these technologies into my teaching in the past because people will use Google Translate and other tools available to them – and yes, we need to talk about what is and isn’t acceptable within the bounds of academic integrity -- but shouldn’t we also encourage, educate, and support learners in using the tools that are available to them without categorical suspicion and policing and see that as a professional development opportunity?” 

“Sprints Week is one of the most rewarding collaborative opportunities we provide, bringing experts together in novel ways,” said Samantha Bishop Simmons, Humanities Librarian and current chair of the Sprints selection committee. “Researchers and teachers in the libraries and across campus are bubbling over with ideas, and the ability for the Sprints teams to pool a variety of skills and resources creates partnerships in cross-campus collaboration that can exist for years to come.” 

Garg and Ploschnitzki will work intensively with their teams during the week of May 13-17 to produce a tangible outcome or product. The Sprints participants will present their projects on May 17 at the Kansas Library Association College and University Libraries Conference, which is taking place at KU this year.