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Creating learning hubs at Dundee College


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Abi Mawhirt, Senior Learning & Information Assistant – Dundee College

Published in: Education
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Creating learning hubs at Dundee College

  1. 1. Learning Hubs:Breaking Down Barriers withNew Models of WorkingAbigail Mawhirt: Senior Learning Hub Assistant
  2. 2. Challenges• Impending sector restructure: Regionalisation of 42colleges down to 13, funding 13 regions, not 42 colleges• Internal restructure to absorb funding cuts to FE• Job role changes for academic and support staff• Continuing curriculum reform in Scotland (CfE)• Move from five campuses to twoIn 2010, Dundee College was facing:
  3. 3. Challenges• Managing significant change, including cultural• Working with less staff overall• Removal of traditional, comfortable job roles• Still to improve retention and achievement• Decision to be made: Sink or swim as libraries faceuncertainty and can be seen as obsoleteIn reality this meant:
  4. 4. MelroseKingswayGraham StreetNConstitution RoadGardyneOvergate© GoogleDundee College: Old Estate
  5. 5. KingswayNGardyne© GoogleDundee College: New Estate
  6. 6. Dundee College: Old Buildings
  7. 7. Dundee College: Old Buildings
  8. 8. Dundee College: Gardyne Campus
  9. 9. Dundee College: Gardyne Campus
  10. 10. Dundee College: Gardyne Library
  11. 11. Dundee College: Gardyne Learning Hub
  12. 12. • New location, new building, new working styles• New systems developed and purchased:CELCAT central timetabling systemNew LMS and move to RFID securityBespoke student dashboard developedOnline applications and matriculationMoodle replaces Blackboard VLE• New job roles for Hub staff and many academic staffChanges Presenting Challenges
  13. 13. • Two significant things brought change:• Internal financial savings proposals created newLearning Hub Assistant posts• Opportunity presented by new buildingImpetus for Changes to Library Service
  14. 14. • Library staff roles were completely reinvented• Team recruited with a variety of backgrounds and skills• Opportunity to redefine model of working• Staff redeployed to areas outside the libraryNew Job Role and Staff Team
  15. 15. • Library teams have the skills to deliver study skills• Libraries have always offered referencing sessions, ITdrop-ins and support using resources• We’ve never had such a good opportunity to promoteour skills and diversify methods of delivery and our role• Formalisation of library’s role in learning and teaching• Curriculum staff are being given an opportunity to utiliselibrary skills properlyLearning Hub Rationale
  16. 16. • Three open plan IT suites each split into two class areas• Formally timetabled sessions, organised by lecturer• Hub staff responsible for register, behaviour management• Hub staff support tasks, demo websites, deliver sessionsWhat is a Learning Hub?
  17. 17. • Key partners to fulfil the Hub vision are:• Buildings and Estates team• IT Services• Curriculum staffWorking with other Departments
  18. 18. • Creating suitable learning spaces which can also be social• Close liaison when plans did not translate to reality• Repurposing furniture and changing layouts• Coordinated move and library stock mergeWorking with Buildings and Estates
  19. 19. • Selecting an LMS which could be hosted internally• Ongoing support for LMS and RFID solutions• Significant work supporting online matriculation• Facing front line issues, persuading IT they exist!Working with IT
  20. 20. • Financial climate led to reduction in PT lecturing hours• Lecturers being encouraged to utilise Hubs• Less teaching hours yet support staff numbers increase• Mindset had to change to embrace new library serviceWorking with Curriculum Staff
  21. 21. • Concerns from curriculum that Hub staff replace them• Worries Hub team are moving into ‘teaching’• Hub team growing whilst academic teams are shrinking• New ways of working not always embracedChallenge 1: Suspicion
  22. 22. • Academic staff not realising potential of model• Hubs considered ‘babysitting’ / place to leave class• No liaison with Hub staff, disengaging students• Students unsure of value of Hub sessionsChallenge 2: Misunderstanding
  23. 23. • Hubs are new and sold as a great innovation to staff• Academic staff overlooking Hub staff abilities• Purposeful learning not always taking place• Success a little too hit and miss, demoralising staffChallenge 3: Motivating Hub Staff
  24. 24. • Full buy in from curriculum staff required for success• Students understand value of what they are doing• Time is productively spent by all involved• Service worthwhile for students and staffBuy In
  25. 25. Breaking Down Barriers• Focussing on the support aspect of our role• Securing buy in from heads of teaching areas• Liaising with staff regarding under-utilised Hub sessions• Removing bookings from staff expecting babysitting
  26. 26. Year One: Outcomes• Some areas bought in, others still sceptical• Service had changed, but not fulfilling potential• Hubs successful on paper in terms of bookings• Keen to deliver more but sensitive to climate of change
  27. 27. Year Two: More Challenges• Working harder to develop & deliver high quality service• Building relationships with key curriculum areas• Delivering 100+ hours of Hub sessions weekly• Looking for ways to expand and ensure validity
  28. 28. Students said: they feel involved in the learning process (91.7%) the level of materials is good /correct for them (91.7%) Learning Hub staff support their learning Only 8.5% of students claimed they did not feel moreconfident in the aspects of independent learning afterhaving attended the Learning HubsBreaking down barriers to learningImpact Assessment
  29. 29. Impact AssessmentStaff said: The students really got a lot out of the [Hub] session.Internet research is increasingly important tocooperative study so these sessions give them a goodfoundation for future independent study. My history students (particularly the ones who aremoving on to university) have really benefited from the“how to learn” type of skills Hub staff deliver. My students are much more capable of workingtogether and sourcing information for their projects.This year the project work has been of a much higherstandard with evidence of wider reading.
  30. 30. • Always open to new ideas for service delivery• Focussing on information literacy levels and support• Working to reach entire curriculum, focus is on Kingsway• Piloting new sessions and fundable courseMoving Forward
  31. 31. Learning Hubs:New Models of WorkingAbigail Mawhirt: questions?