Get Started

Over the summer I wrote a post about ideas for library inductions following a very successful workshop on the topic. It has become the most visited post on this blog and so, now that induction season is upon us, I thought I’d write a follow-up about what we’re doing at Warwick.

Library orientation has always been a library-wide project with staff from all teams getting involved in the delivery. The overall organisation however has been overseen by staff from the Enquiry Support Team. This year things have been different, an Induction Planning Group was formed to gain input from across the Library in the development of a new programme. The group, which I chair, has over the past few months revamped our central library orientation and created Get Started.

Get Started has two parts:

  1. A website
  2. Orientation tours

The website provides answers to some frequently asked questions from new students. The questions are divided into three categories: how do I, where can I and who do I ask. The site combines video tutorials and text.

Get Started signpostThe orientation tours are running four times a day for the first three weeks of term. We have around 40 library staff who have volunteered as tour guides and members of the Induction Planning Group have taken responsibility for different areas of the day-to-day running.

The tours take in 8 stations on the first two floors of the library and show the whole process of how to find, borrow and return a book.

One of the best aspects of Get Started is the branding. We are using a signpost with pointers for each of the three categories of question. Each category is colour coded so everything we create for each can be tied together visually. We’ve got flyers and bugs and a proper signpost on Floor 1 which is where the tours start.

In addition to Get Started the Academic Support Librarians also deliver tailored induction sessions within the academic departments.

Ideas for library inductions

Earlier this week I attended an exchange of experience event on inductions at De Montfort University. It was organised by Kaye Towlson and based on the TeachMeet model.

The session began with speed networking and thought share bunting, or analogue Twitter, where we could easily share our ideas throughout the event. My contributions which came out of conversations during the speed networking were:

  • less is more
  • first impressions are vital; we need to be seen as friendly and approachable so students will come back and ask questions
  • learn by doing

We were also able to share examples of our marketing and branding as can be seen in the photo below which includes a Check It Out flyer from Warwick and brochure from Leicester.

Thought Share Bunting

Thought Share Bunting

What I especially enjoyed about this event was that all attendees contributed something. It felt very much like a collaborative effort and equal exchange of experience. Some of us gave short presentations, and others produced posters. All the presentations will be on SlideShare at some point and I’ll update this post with a link when they’re up. The rest of this post is a summary of my notes from the presentations, with my slides at the very end. In a future post I’ll write more about what we’re doing at Warwick.

Birmingham City University – Using rounds
All staff in the Learning and Teaching Team at BCU are required to complete a PGCert. The use of rounds was something that Christiana Titahmboh picked up from her PGCert course. These rounds were used in induction sessions after a tour, or presentation, to engage the group. Essentially, you open up the floor to the group for them to make observations and ask questions about what they have just seen. It works particularly well for postgraduate students and small groups. Another benefit is that you get instant feedback on the session.

University of Leicester – One size does not fit all
Leicester apply a flexible approach to inductions so that sessions can be tailored to specific subject groups and study levels. Unlike the other institutions at the event all inductions are done in the departments. A virtual tour, using annotated PowerPoint slides is used to show the physical library. This is favoured over a video because it can be easily kept up to date and adapted to suit the audience.

In addition to the departmental induction sessions a weekly email is sent out over the first few weeks of term to provide refresher information about specific topics, including: library membership, self-issue and return, study zones and electronic resources.

Aston University – Library Matters Live
Aston are in a unique position with all departments timetabled in for library inductions. Their inductions are run as orientation sessions with three demonstration areas on the ground floor. The demonstrations areas are: printing, reserve and collect, and take control. The first does exactly what it says, the second shows the self-issue and return machines and the third is a catalogue demo and introduction to the Information Specialists.

Nottingham Trent University
At Nottingham Trent inductions are run by the subject librarians. For them, the number of students in the group dictates the approach taken. Their library inductions include an IT element as this information is not delivered by anyone else. They also provide refresher sessions scheduled later in the term to give students a chance to actually use the library and then come back to ask questions or clarify information.

De Montfort University
At DMU indcutions in the past have been very traditional including a presentation and guided tour. A number of factors, including staff to student ratios and poor attendance have prompted a revamp for this year. The key elements of their new induction programme is that is interactive, multimedia, multimodal and learner-centred. The programme combines an e-induction to cover the basics and a library trail, or treasure hunt.

University of Warwick – Get Started
At Warwick this year we are looking to streamline our inductions. In previous years there has been both departmental inductions and a central programme, called Check It Out. In the coming year we are re-launching the central programme as Get Started. The main focus of this will be an area for Get Started on the library website where all of our induction materials can be hosted. There will also be sessions running within the library and resources for subject librarians to use in departmental inductions. The emphasis is on flexibility so that we can provide consistent information no matter what method of delivery is used.

Update 27/6: most of the presentations from the event are now available on SlideShare.

Library inductions online

On Thursday I had my first experience of presenting an online induction to library services. This post is a review of the experience.

The session was set up by the Executive MBA (EMBA) programme office at the business school. In previous years the EMBAs had done their induction face to face like everyone else. This would be as part of an induction weekend at the start of their first module (they attend week long modules roughly every 6 weeks). The feeling however was that this didn’t prepare them well enough for that first module. They arrived with too many questions and were then bombarded with information over a weekend when all they really wanted to do was settle into their new surroundings and get to know the rest of their class mates.

Last year the format changed and all of the induction sessions about the practicalities of the course, University services and facilities, and preparing for academic study were conducted online. In the three weeks preceeding the first module there was an hour long session on a different topic each week. This year the library was involved for the first time; I ran the first of these sessions in collaboration with Ian from the business school. I covered library resources while he introduced the business school’s VLE.

The software the business school uses to deliver these sessions is Wimba Classroom. This was the first time I had used it, although I have used WebEx before which is very similar. My main experience of this kind of software however is as a participant, not presenter.

Rather than explain what Wimba Classroom does, here’s a video showing the basics:

As you can see there are lots of different ways the participants can interact. They can ask questions either verbally or through the chat box. They can answer simple yes/no questions using the tick and cross icons. They can raise their hand. Laugh. Clap. etc. We had all bases covered in terms of the people on hand to answer questions; there was someone from IT to answer technical questions, a couple of administrators from the programme office to answer general questions and obviously the presenters, Ian and myself. Yet I was still concerned about how I personally was going to manage to keep on top of all the different ways that people might want to respond to my presentation. In reality it all went without a hitch. There were lots of questions through the chat box but these were all left to the end of the session when we had factored in time for questions. We responded verbally, or if someone else was talking through the chat box.

One thing we had decided early on was that we would use the web cams sparingly. We had them on at the start of the session so that everyone could put faces to the names of the presenters. As I was presenting the second half of the session I also switched mine back on at the handover as a reminder. I’m not sure I could have coped having the camera on all the time – there’s defintitely something different about addressing a camera than a room full of people.

I was really pleased with how the session went, and actually quite enjoyed it. There was some great interaction from the participants. We even got a round of applause at the end. I will definitely consider, if not actively try to include, this format of delivery for future library training.