Monday, 1 October 2012

Induction ponderings

Life is full of different paths to take.
Image taken by Andrea_44
It’s that time of year where the library gives inductions to new and returning learners. These subject specific sessions last between 30-45 minutes and cover topics such as searching the online catalogue, accessing e-books, e-resources and Boolean searching techniques. We also draw learners’ attention to the library website/blog, Moodle, ClickView and MyPC computer booking system. In addition to this, learners receive a tour of the library with useful resource areas pointed out.

The original idea was to facilitate inductions in September and then offer group referencing sessions in October. However, some learners are keen to get to grips with referencing and we are already delivering one-to-one referencing sessions as requested. I remember being an undergraduate student and stressing over referencing at university and would never have believed that one day I would advise and teach it!

There are 3 members of the library team who share the user education workload. Group sizes range from 5 to 25 and inductions have been delivered to foundation learners through to foundation degree courses, covering the majority of subjects taught at the college. Lessons are quite diverse in scope and in the 3 weeks since term began, I have so far delivered 32 sessions. Some have been more successful than others, and I’ve received some lovely feedback from observing teaching staff.

Reflecting on the library’s delivery of user ed allows me the opportunity to self-reflect. I have never been quite sure whether I actually enjoy delivering user ed sessions. I don’t relish looking at the daily timetable of sessions, it makes me think of the other tasks I won’t have chance to do. However, when it actually comes to delivering the sessions, I think I do it fairly well (yes, I’m blowing my own trumpet here!) and I enjoy it when a group participates. I spent 6 years working as a school librarian which gave me countless opportunities to observe lessons taught by teaching staff. This helped strengthen my confidence and encouraged me to enrole on the ‘Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector’ course (PTLLS). I completed this in 2010 and really enjoyed it. It gave me background knowledge of teaching strategies, learning styles, classroom management, lesson planning - all the things I had chance to observe during the school day. Now that I work in a further education, I refer back to this knowledge all the time.

This time last year, I remember feeling drained by the user ed timetable and being new to commuting. This year, this seems to be going a little better for me. We’ve adapted the delivery of the sessions; last year we gave 1 x 90 minute session per group, whereas this year we give 2 x 45 minute sessions and it seems to be working much better. Sessions aren’t as long so learners’ attention spans don’t drift, and it is less demanding on staff delivering shorter sessions. I much prefer it this way and it leads me to ponder whether I would enjoy a role with the full-time remit of user ed delivery. I recently saw such a vacancy advertised and although I didn’t apply for it, I must admit to finding myself thinking of that path more and more. As I get older, I realise that you never know when new paths will show themselves or where life will take you…

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