This post was inspired by this post by @librarylandL.
Name: Penelope Dunn
Role: Learning Resource Specialist (LRS)
Location: Rotherham College of Arts & Technology
Additional info: approx. 12,000 students – FE & HE courses
Time in post: 12 weeks
[I chose to write about this day as I think it includes virtually every aspect of my role]
Thursday 7th November
08:30 – start work: check emails & cluster of post-it notes I left myself from the day before
09:00 – 09:35 meeting with fellow LRS and two Library & Information Officers(LIOs) to discuss drop-in workshops.
We run these from October half-term until Christmas, in all Learning Centres (LCs), they have primary focus on Personal Statements but anybody can drop-in with any query. Discussed structure and identified useful UCAS produced resources to use (here’s the link should anyone else need resources for this: http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/undergraduate/filling-your-application/your-personal-statement). We also confirmed days and times.
10:15-11:15 – meeting with LC manager: discussed a long-term project for myself.
Creating a proposal about how to reorganise and modernise the LC Moodle pages. I was given this project as Moodle is one of my responsibilities (the student and staff training side NOT the techy stuff, although I can do a little of that) and as the new member to the team I have a fresh outlook on things.
I will be required to look at the information about the LC from all perspectives: college website, student portal and Moodle and try to create a cohesive message and format. I am hoping to make the LC Moodle pages more user-friendly by removing any jargon e.g. library catalogue. I hope to look at it through students eyes and focus on what they want from the LC (and how they’ll approach getting it) to make it more obvious where (and how) they can access resources and help.
I am looking forward to working on this as it will be “my baby” (my own little piece of strategic service development) until I put the proposal forward to colleagues where it is possible they’ll reject it. It also gives me the opportunity to explore different ways of delivering the information on our LC pages – I am currently looking at various online tools such as Padlet, Scoop-it and Popplet. I think by varying the ways we deliver information to students we can engage them more.
11:30 – 12:00 Information Skills session:
Planning and teaching information skills is the “bread and butter” of my role. This is the last of three sessions I have done for this particular group (BTEC Level 3 IT) – it was a quick session on ‘Academic Writing’ I started by getting each student to read two newspaper articles – the same story from two different newspapers (The Mirror & The Guardian) – then I asked them to tell me which one they preferred to read; largely it was The Mirror article because it was “easier and shorter”. I then asked them which they’d hand in for homework, most switched to The Guardian article because the language was “fancier” and “more formal”. We then discussed what made the articles so different and I talked them through some general tips e.g. use formal language, no slang, don’t overcomplicate it, don’t use first or second person etc.
I cannot take any credit for the newspaper activity – it is one I borrowed from colleagues.
12:00-12:50 check emails, respond where necessary. Double check presentation for later in the day, check which room the session is to be held in.
14:00 – 14:30 Meeting with colleague from Quality Assurance (QA) re: Staff training day
My colleague from QA and I are running three workshops on the next Staff Training Day (22nd Nov), they will be about Moodle. The college has produced a list of four minimum standards that every Moodle course should have (e.g. course handbook) – our session will aim to walk/talk staff who haven’t already reached the minimum standards through the process. It was quite a brief discussion as we have both ran sessions on this before.
I had prepared instructions for staff on how to add files etc to Moodle so we discussed any necessary ‘tweeks’ and sending it off to the college’s design and print team for branding.
15:00 – 17:00 Shift on LC reception desk.
I am required as part of my role to staff the reception and enquiry desks at the town centre LCs – this is organised via a rota and I normally only do it 3-4 times a week. I really enjoy having the chance to work on the desk because I get to build a rapport with students and also develop my skills in using the LMS Autolib as well as any IT troubleshooting and general enquiries. This particular shift largely involved: returning, renewing and issuing stock, but I also had to solve a few IT issues (mainly forgotten passwords). A student on the GCSE English course also came in wanting a book to help her with a descriptive writing assignment; it took me a bit of time to explain that we didn’t have a specific book on it but we have books with chapters on it (it always amazes me that students expect a single book to cover everything they need for one assignment) – so I got her the books and showed her how to look for specific information within it via contents page and index. She borrowed one of them and also took a poetry book so she could see how others use descriptive language and to extend her vocabulary.
Also on the odd time where it is quiet I get to work on other things, this time I ‘tweeked’ the Moodle guide and sent it to design and print.
17:00-17:30 I would normally go home at 17:00 but this week I had to stay to teach an evening group. I rang ProQuest (in the USA) to pay for some e-books via credit card.
17:30-18:15 Information Skills session:
Using Prezi for Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning Students, I found this session very difficult to plan as it was mostly going to be a demonstration session, and even thought I knew what topic the students would have to create their own Prezi on – I didn’t want to focus on that because I didn’t want them to copy me.
First of all I explained what Prezi is and how to get an account. I then showed them the Prezi “getting started” tutorial video – although the sound didn’t work very well so I had to talk over it. I then started a new Prezi, pointed out all the features about how it works e.g. frames and the path; we then started to create one as a group, using a template (I think the Prezi templates are great!). I showed them how to add images and frames and how to zoom in and out. I didn’t want to show them everything because it is pretty much impossible as the software is so flexible and also it would take longer than I had!
I rounded up the session by telling them to “play around with Prezi” before they have a go at their actual assignment and to come to the LCs if they get really stuck.
18:15 HOME TIME
[Any gaps in time are because I can’t remember or I blacked out from excitement]