University Library Services at the University of Sunderland have been involved in a number of projects over the last few years to identify and address the challenges of supporting students throughout their learning journey. This afternoon we’d like to present 2 of these projects to you.
Both projects looked in different ways at students’ experiences of libraries and their use of academic resources And explored ways to develop students’ research skills in Schools, FE and HE to enable them to become independent learners and critical thinkers
Our 2 presentations will be in the form of Petcha Kucha or Pet Cha Cha (chit chat) devised by 2 Dutch architects working in Tokyo in 2003 We hope you find the style different and interesting, and we’re certainly interested in hearing your views!
So what is Petcha Kucha? There are 20 slides for each presentation 20 seconds per slide – so that’s exactly 6 mins and 40 seconds in total for each presentation There are no handouts, very few words on screen but lots of visual imagery
So how will this work? This will be quite fast paced – This introduction and our 2 presentations delivered in just over 20 minutes – leaving 25 minutes at the end for group discussion and feedback
Here’s some context: We are committed to widening participation with 40% of our 25,000 students studying off campus Our partners include local FE colleges 16 HEFCE funded collaborations and 20+ Overseas centres
Provision ranges from Foundation to PhD level. Many of our FE students progress to University Most are engaged in vocational programmes Some are in work based learning programmes Subject areas are mainly in the Social Sciences, Education and Business
So this presentation is a quick overview of 2 of our recent projects, looking at how we support students at various stages in their learning. These are 2 projects with a different approaches, different perspectives and a different focus, but they share the same direction and destination
So lets us introduce ourselves I am Julie and about to take up my new post of Learning and Teaching Support Manager in University Library Services, my liaison area is Education During the last 15 years I have worked with a number of FE partners
My project was called ‘Mind the Gap’, It sought to identify skills gaps in prospective University students. The key focus was on the use of libraries and learning resources in a University environment Specifically on developing information skills to support learning.
The notion that young people of the Google Generation are confident and competent in using ICT is beginning to be challenged. The debate is moving to the real issue facing students a lack of adequate online research skills a lack of evaluation skills the need for these to be taught.
Mind the Gap has now become Services for 6 th Form Colleges and Schools Offering various customised options to schools, academies and FE colleges Supporting students moving into HE
Like all services our offer is always evolving as new possibilities are explored 2011-12 saw us launch support to research partnerships between schools and The University. At present we are making various bids in partnership with other University services and faculties Watch this space we are still growing!
I am Liz Astan, site librarian at St Peters campus at the University of Sunderland. My recent project work has focussed on enhancing the use of our e-resources, firstly through federated searching and more recently through discovery tools and library web design
This was accompanied by projects which looked at how students use our Library resources. It started back in 2009 looking at how our on campus students used e. resources and then went on to look at our students studying in an FE environment in 2010
The work with FE was Funded initially for 6 months by the JISC Regional Support Centre Northern, During this project I examined the use of our University Library resources by students studying for a Fd Degree in 7 of our local strategic partner colleges.
This research produced some useful insights into student behaviours and the difficulties they experience. It highlighted factors which inhibit and sometimes prevent our students in FE Colleges using University Library resources. It’s the findings of this research that I’m going to share with you this afternoon.
We were lucky enough to secure additional funding from the RSC to implement some of the project recommendations and in 2011 developed our service offer as a result of the findings Key to this is a strategic approach to activity to ensure activities are embedded and sustainable.
After Julie and I have given our presentations we will end with an opportunity for discussion and feedback around the key themes of the skills gap, the librarians role and the partnerships we need to develop to support students’ learning
So sit back, listen and travel with us as we share our experiences, findings and outcomes with you
Mind the Gap - A project seeking to identify skills gaps in prospective students of pre-University entry age It is built on a previous case study by the City of Sunderland College and the University - Further Education to Higher Education: library and research skills (2008-9)
Mind the Gap looked to: Highlight the differences in level and approach Nurture new skills to facilitate the transition to University. Diversify search behaviours and think beyond simple web surfing. Develop new partnerships, with a focus on the 14-19 age group.
Outcomes included:- - assessment of the success/impact of the intervention a body of learning materials and approaches that are scalable and adaptable to new partners. a partnership learning package for use in our future business
Project timescale : Originally a 12 month project spanning 3 school terms but extended until 2011 to allow expansion and embedding in our service offer Stakeholders: University of Sunderland (Library Services and SR&BP), Sunderland Academies and Sunderland Comprehensives
The Education drivers: A widening participation policy that has resulted in not only an increase in mature students but also in a greater proportion of relatively ill-prepared standard-aged students How do we prepare these students to take the steps from School to FE to HE?
The learners? They are individuals with differing experiences of education and expectations of higher education. A common concern among students entering university for the first time is what are they suppose to learn and how. The biggest change is often the move from directed to independent learning, to becoming reflective learners & critical thinkers.
So how do we prepare students to take these steps between School, FE and HE? What role is there for academic libraries in this dilemma? Can academic libraries help bridge the gap and support a smoother transition?
Mind the Gap was an opportunity to explore what role there is for libraries and information literacy in aiding transition Seeing if information skills is a positive way of linking the student experience of the sectors Developing skills that are applicable to both education and employment.
Why Information literacy? It is an interesting area to explore due the concepts that lie behind it - that of seeking, locating, evaluating, selecting and organising information. Provides a role for librarians - nurturing new skills to facilitate diversify research behaviours - encouraging thinking beyond simple web surfing for information.
The stages – Stage 1 - In 2009-10 the prime partnership was with the City of Sunderland 6 th Form Academies and focused on the Extended Project completed by Aim Higher students. To develop a skills package that met present and future needs and prepared students for HE. Used team teaching with Extended Project tutors
The key skills identified for development were:- students’ planning the use of information resources reflective thinking in order to evaluate their own learning and the resources chosen.
Three main sessions were developed, based on evaluation and consultation with the college tutors. Exploring the University Library and planning Resources, references and plagiarism Review, evaluate and the way forward
Session 1 : Exploring the University Library and planning Introducing the difference between School/FE and University libraries, e.g. The size for starters Explore their present knowledge of resource types – most students have limited experience Identifying the topic and the approach Planning – what, how and when
Session 2: Resources, references and plagiarism Resource types – books, journals and Internet Quality v’s quantity Academic v’s general Referencing, citing and plagiarism – why, how and the law Evaluation and reflection What did they know? What was new? What was missing?
Session 3: Review, evaluate and the way forward Review How successful was the search? What had they used Did they need a questionnaire? Evaluation & the next steps What are the gaps? New resources needed? Do I need help? What next? Create/review action plan
Stage 2 - In 2010-11 we delivered the identified and evaluated 3 sessions programme - 6 groups at 3 different 6 th Form Academies Service offer being embedded in our service offer Developed shared access folder for teaching materials Developed marketing materials – both print and web site page
Stage 3 Working with the University’s widening participation team and academics in supporting and providing HE experiences for: City of Sunderland school academies A School to University scheme, providing a HE taster and awareness programme in Northumberland
What have we done to get 14 - 16 year olds interested and thinking about University life? – visits, and workshops using Wordles Were we successful? – wordles were a great hit both with pupils and teachers (top of visit evaluation!) Students said it was fun Teachers planned to use wordles for revision
What do we offer? - Skills for planning and reflective thinking - Skills for finding and evaluating information Visits to a University Library - An introduction to Higher Education for pre- University students Support to teachers working with the University in classroom based research To whom? Local 6th Form Colleges, Secondary schools or academies, and members of the University of Sunderland schools link programmes
What Now? We have an embedded service to local schools, academies and FE colleges offering skills for moving into HE for pre University students We support school teachers in classroom focussed research projects with the University We have raised the profile of the librarian’s role in developing students skills for moving into HE We are developing, in partnership with other services and faculties, accredited units for pre university students
I’d like to share with you the findings of my project which looked at how students studying for a University of Sunderland Fd degree in our regional partner colleges use the University Library to support their studies The main project aim was to understand the barriers and difficulties these students face and to recommend actions to increase their use of our e. resources
why investigate? We had inadequate evidence of how our students in FE Colleges were using the University Library. Anecdotal evidence suggested poor levels of engagement. This feeling was reinforced by comments from some external examiners which indicated poor use of the literature in student work
So a project was born We secured funding from the JISC Regional Support Centre Northern to undertake research into student and tutor library behaviours during 2010. Bishop Auckland College was chosen as the main partner for the project and a Fd degree in Early years Education chosen as the subject for the research
The Methodology included Interviews with stakeholders, including librarians, VLE managers, staff from our Partnership office working both centrally and in the Colleges, staff from the RSC Northern including the Regional HE Adviser, the programme leader at the University, the HE co-ordinator and course tutor in the College
In addition Questionnaires were completed by students and tutors on the programme in all 7 of our Regional partner Colleges and students at Bishop Auckland College attended a workshop to help validate the findings and provide more insight into the results We also held a Half day conference with our regional partner librarians
So what did we learn? From initial discussions with stakeholders we built a picture of activity which helped form the questions for the later research with students and tutors There was a common perception that Students were highly motivated but often lacked study skills, and made low use of the University Library
We also built up a picture of variable collaborative working arrangements often based on personal contacts There was no systematic or strategic approach However there was a real interest in working together for change
Key findings from students Access difficulties were high on the list as a barrier to using University Library resources, Distance deters personal visits and log in and password complexities plus technical difficulties can leave students feeling frustrated and disconnected from the University. Many just give up.
Students Rely on books as their main source of information 90% use their College Library for books, 33% use the University Library for books. Only 37% of students use print journals from their College Library, 32% from the University Library
Students make Low use of e. resources Only 15% of the students had used e. books either from their College or the University Library And there were Very low levels of use of e. journals and confusion over terminology
Reliance on the tutor Tutors were a highly valued source of help and support, and 63% of students said their College Tutor is a source of information about the University Library That’s significant when we go on to look at the Tutor results.
Use of VLEs Most students are confident users of their College VLE, and 77% use it to find reading material- again pointing to student reliance on the tutor for their information needs. There is less use of the VLE as a communication tool, with students preferring to use social networking tools for collaborative working
Skills and confidence 98% of students are confident using their College Library , this falls to just 49% for the University Library Confidence levels decline for the use of e. resources only 50% said they find their College Library e. resources easy to use and just 30% for University Library e. resources
Unsurprisingly students report high levels of confidence in using the internet to find information. Google and Google books were the most commonly cited search engines, with a handful of references to Google Scholar and just one to Intute.
Let’s move on to the findings for Tutors 80% of Tutors use their College library. However there is low use of electronic resources with both e. books and e.journals used by just 20% of Tutors Only 20% of Tutors had used the University Library, with both print books and e. journals having zero use
Tutors had low levels of satisfaction and confidence in using the University Library. 60% feel they needed more help using the University Library and Only 50% would recommend us to their students. This is especially important in light of our earlier findings of student reliance on the tutor.
So what conclusions can be drawn The findings were disappointing, especially in view of all our activity with College students but gave us a clear focus for future actions Most of all we have found that our investment in small scale practitioner research pays dividends in terms of understanding our users and redefining our service offer Here’s some of the key challenges
How can we improve access to our e. resources, remove barriers and enhance our visibility in the Colleges How can we encourage students to engage with University systems and resources to enhance their learning experience and ease their transition to HE We are urgently working on SSO to resources and are working with academic colleagues to create a central VLE programme space and digitising key resources for embedding into modules. We are embedding information literacy skills into study skills and research skills modules at levels 1 and 2
How can we persuade tutors to engage with University Library resources and to advocate (indeed require) the use of University Library resources by their students. This may require tutors to rethink their teaching methods and challenge students to become independent learners We are currently rolling out a programme of awareness raising and training events embedded into College CPD for Tutors, Librarians and others
How do we develop and sustain our people networks and collaborative working practices, How do we work together to encourage students to become independent learners, how do we give both tutors and students the skills necessary to exploit academic resources, to change their perceptions and expectations The project was extended in 2011 to work on these issues and to develop our service offer. There may be time at the end to discuss some of the things we did. currently working hard to build relationships with key departments and individuals through a range of interventions- visits to staff in Colleges- librarians/ tutors, CPD events, roadshows, University HE in FE Practitioners group. University HE in FE events. Working more closely with our Collaborative Partnership support staff- AL COP/ joint meetings/ training sessions Building 1-2-1 relationships
So now let’s move to our 4 discussion groups to consider the following 1. The skills gap – what is it? 2. Information literacy v’s computer literacy 3. Partnerships – what and how 4. The librarian’s role
Julie Archer & Elizabeth Astan "Partnerships for progression from School and FE to HE - the library perspective"
Partnerships for progression – the library perspectiveThe CILIP ARLG (CoFHE and UC&R) Conference 2012