Library Services for non-traditional students at UEL


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Simone Ngozi Okolo
Academic Services and Skills Manager

Robin Stinson
Subject Librarian – Social Science
Presentation given at the aliss 2012 conference.

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  • Library Services for non-traditional students at UEL

    1. 1. Library Services for non-traditional studentsat UELSimone Ngozi OkoloAcademic Services and Skills ManagerRobin StinsonSubject Librarian – Social Sciences
    2. 2. OverviewUELNon-traditional students – New Beginnings – Fifth formers, sixth formers, school children – FE students – McNair Scholars Topics covered Methods
    3. 3. Overview• Feedback• Developments• Challenges and future plans
    4. 4. Overview• About 28, 000 students across 120 countries• Diverse and inclusive university with more than 65% of our students coming from a minority ethnic group.• In some cases will be first in the family to go to university.• UEL has campuses the London Borough of Newham which is the Olympic Borough• We used to have a Campus in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
    5. 5. Overview• In this and surrounding Boroughs, the uptake of higher education is very low.• It is also ethnically diverse.• Fair to say that many people leave school with few qualifications.• The University is making great efforts to recruit from these groups.• (Higher Education and Communities) 2010.• To upskill people ready to take up jobs generated by the Olympics and the Thames gateway
    6. 6. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• This programme started in 2001 and ran in its original format until 2010/11.• It was an initiative of a unit within the University – SkillsZone.• The unit is responsible for coordinating and delivering skills training across the University.• Part of its remit was addressing the non- take up of HE in the local Boroughs.
    7. 7. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• This is a widening participation programme for anyone who wants to come to higher education and who may not have had positive experiences previously.
    8. 8. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• It is a twelve week, part-time course and the purpose is to prepare students for study at university.• They are expected to produce assignments for which they have to do research which involves them in using the Library.• Some successful students go on to university.
    9. 9. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• At the start only one group of students was recruited and the programme was run at one campus.• The programme grew and was delivered in two of our campuses, as well as in the local public library, the Barking Learning Centre.• There are three starts to the programme – Sept, Feb. and May
    10. 10. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• The New Beginnings students are a disparate group.• Some come without any qualifications but have life experiences• Some have been referred by clearing.• They vary in age, confidence, computer literacy and academic background.
    11. 11. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• During 2011/12 New Beginnings sessions ran in the mornings, evenings and on Saturdays.• However in 2012/13, it will be mornings and evenings
    12. 12. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• In the Academic Year 2011-2012 the aim of the New Beginnings programme changed.• Responsibility for the management of the programme moved to a School prompting a revalidation of the programme.• It was found that the New Beginnings qualification was not stringent enough to guarantee that a student would cope on a degree programme.
    13. 13. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• It was decided to raise the standard of the New Beginnings qualification, so that it would be accepted by all the Schools at UEL as proof that a sufficient level has been reached for students to embark on an undergraduate degree.
    14. 14. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• Although, the standard has been raised and not as many students are recruited the main aim of the programme is still to prepare non-traditional students for undergraduate study.
    15. 15. Non-traditional students: NewBeginnings• The new students being recruited on to the programme are more able, confident and eager to progress themselves.
    16. 16. Topics covered• Experiential learning• Student finance• Sociology of childhood• Citizenship• Big society• School achievement• Time management
    17. 17. Library contribution• Initially we ran a one hour library talk and tour. This provided a basic introduction to the library and searching the catalogue.• Realising that we could help the students better with their research we argued the case with the Programme Leader for more hours.
    18. 18. Library contribution• We now run these three sessions:• Session 1: Tour of the Library…Show round the Library, opening hours, loan entitlements, photocopying, self-issue machine. Introduction to the Library Catalogue.• Session 2: Revision of the Library Catalogue and sample searches using EBSCO Academic Search Complete.• Session 3: Evaluation of Web sites, Advanced Google to look for sites on student finance and NEXIS UK for newspaper articles.
    19. 19. Methods• In planning the sessions, we bear in mind that:• It is important to boost the confidence of the New Beginnings students.• They only see us for a limited time.• They may have a lower boredom threshold than other students.
    20. 20. Methods• Consequently in all the presentations and activities we do not overload them with information, but try to provide them with sufficient expertise to find material for the assignments.• We also vary the activities in each session.
    21. 21. Methods• Presentations of the catalogue etc.• Hands-on practice with prepared activities around the chosen topic.• Interactivity to suggest keywords.
    22. 22. Methods- interactivity• Voting clickers-To make the sessions more interactive• To break the ice• To encourage peer bonding• To encourage everybody to participate• To boost confidence• To check that learning has taken place• To make the learning environment more fun• Voting clickers we use is Turning Point• In our Turning Point exercises we do not have too many questions
    23. 23. Feedback• Voting clickers• Post-its as students are leaving• Feedback sessions• General comments• Online form for all our training• This feedback is important in planning and developing sessions.
    24. 24. Developments• The sessions have been developed over the years to reflect the assignment topics• Also been developed in response to feedback• Timings and content of the sessions have been modified in the light of feedback from the students and staff. The second session now has EBSCO Academic Search
    25. 25. Challenges• Make sure that communication between the campuses, lecturers and library staff is effective. One case when a session was missed.• Make sure that everybody works to the same timetable.• Even with the improved intake the groups are disparate. It is fair to say that some of the students manage to finish the assignment in the time it takes for other students to login.
    26. 26. Other non-traditional students• Library sessions for fifth-formers, sixth-formers and FE students have been arranged in association with the External and Strategic Development Services. This unit is responsible for the outreach activities of the University.• We also receive visits from school- children and activities are arranged.
    27. 27. Other non-traditional students• These students only come for one day but we do aim to support them in their research• We give a presentation on sources of information such as books, journals and newspapers• We stress the importance of evaluating web sites
    28. 28. Other non-traditional students• We also give a presentation on Harvard Referencing.• In light of the pupils’ age we make these sessions very interactive to engage them• Again we have used clickers.• We produced an interactive Harvard referencing quiz based on “Who wants to be a millionaire”
    29. 29. Other non-traditional students• We used the referencing software package PLATO
    30. 30. Info skills• Harvard referencing quiz from our Info Skills programme. The pupils really engage with this
    31. 31. McNair Scholars• Since 2010 the Library has contributed to the programme organized by the University of East London for undergraduates enrolled as McNair scholars at the University of New Hampshire.
    32. 32. McNair Scholars• McNair Scheme prepares undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds to progress to doctorial studies.• The goal is to increase the attainment of PhD degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.
    33. 33. McNair Scholars• The McNair Scholars have the opportunity to meet with our students and exchange views.• These non-traditional McNair Scholars inspire our students to embark on postgraduate degrees.
    34. 34. Non-traditional students: one-to-ones• At UEL in 2011-2012 we spent 239 hours supporting students on a one-to- one basis.• Each session lasts about 30 minutes. Students come with their individual dissertation topics and we help them find information. The majority of the students are from minority ethnic groups.
    35. 35. Future plans• The University has increased considerably its outreach activities in the local area with the aim of attracting more non-traditional students.• We, in the Library, will continue to support these initiatives to make sure that these students make the best use of our resources to succeed in their degree.
    36. 36. Contact: