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A Snapshot of Information Skills Training Experience of Students Transitioning from FE to HE - Field (poster)

Presented at LILAC 2018

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A Snapshot of Information Skills Training Experience of Students Transitioning from FE to HE - Field (poster)

  1. 1. A snapshot of Information Skills Training Experience in Students Transitioning from Further Education (FE) to Higher Education (HE) Peter Field Background UCL School of Pharmacy is part of the Faculty of Life Sciences at University College London (UCL). It offers one undergraduate degree, the four-year Masters in Pharmacy (MPharm), as well as several taught postgraduate and research postgraduate degrees. Each year, 180-230 new undergraduate students enrol. For the past four years, the School of Pharmacy Library has invited freshers to complete a brief and anonymous survey during induction week. The survey is designed to generate a very broad picture of new students’ interactions with information sources and an indication of their previous experiences of learning about referencing. Library staff deliver two separate workshops to year 1 students in semester one. Workshop one is on Information Resources; workshop two is on Referencing and Plagiarism. The data from the survey is used in the preparation and delivery of the second workshop, enabling facilitators to tailor the content according to students’ previous experience. The concept of transition from FE to HE has been the focus of much recent research. Many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have established extensive transition and induction programmes to mitigate the challenges faced by new students, in particular social isolation, displacement and the novelty of independent living 1-3. HEIs recognise the significance of transition not just on the wellbeing of the student but on the enduring academic performance as well 4,5. Improving the transition experience of international students in the UK is a strategic objective of many HEIs and the subject of current research 6. Methodology On the first day of freshers’ week, the School of Pharmacy Library runs a welcome stall in the main reception area of the building, greeting new students as they arrive for local induction. Library staff introduce themselves to the students and distribute library induction packs and freebies. From 2014 until 2016, library staff mingled with the gathering cohort, inviting individual students to answer 5 questions in an anonymous survey using iPads. Three of the questions pertain to information- seeking behaviour and instruction, the results of which are presented here. There were 94 responses in 2014, 68 responses in 2015 and 69 responses in 2016. To increase participation and sample size, it was decided in 2017 to present the same questionnaire to the students in the first workshop instead of during the induction welcome. As a result, 179 responses were gathered. In March 2018, the two questions about sourcing information were posed again to all undergraduate students via email. 43 individuals responded. Results and Discussion Over 50% of respondents had either not received instruction on how to cite literature or were unsure if they had received instruction. This indicates that new students are enrolling with a variability of experience, variability of comprehension and variability of confidence. New students over the four years have been consistent in their assessment of the indicators of trustworthy websites. The data could suggest that transitioning students have an intuitive or experiential appreciation of the markers of quality. Online sources are the main targets of healthcare information for these new healthcare professionals, although significantly not social media. Limitations and Future Research No distinction was made between transitioning students and returning students (students embarking upon higher education for the first time following a gap from further education). Whilst useful to the preparation of the workshops, the sample sizes of 2015 and 2016 represent 30-40% of the total intake of new students which compromises the validity of any findings. No distinction was made between UK/EU and International students. This is an area of potential future examination so that the Library is better able to meet student’s diverse needs based on the diversity of their experiences. References 1. Brooman S, Darwent S. Measuring the beginning: a quantitative study of the transition to higher education. Studies in Higher Education. 2014;39(9):1523-41. 2. Dias D, Sá MJ. The Impact of the Transition to HE: emotions, feelings and sensations. European Journal of Education. 2014;49(2):291-303. 3. Turner R, Morrison D, Cotton D, Child S, Stevens S, Nash P, et al. Easing the transition of first year undergraduates through an immersive induction module. Teaching in Higher Education. 2017;22(7):805-21. 4. Christie H, Tett L, Cree VE, McCune V. ‘It all just clicked’: a longitudinal perspective on transitions within university. Studies in Higher Education. 2016;41(3):478-90. 5. Tett L, Cree V, Christie H. From further to higher education: transition as an on- going process. Higher Education (00181560). 2017;73(3):389-406. 6. Ecochard S, Fotheringham J. International Students' Unique Challenges - Why Understanding International Transitions to Higher Education Matters. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice. 2017;5(2):100-8. UCL School of Pharmacy Library 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00 7.00 8.00 Type Tendonitis into Google Search web for appropriate sources GP appointment Ask a Pharmacist Consult a reference book Call a friend Ask Facebook #tendonitis M e a n Information Seeking Behaviours 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 0.00 10.00 20.00 30.00 40.00 50.00 60.00 70.00 80.00 90.00 100.00 Author information Last Update Contact Us section Top Google Result Domain About Us Section Feedback Tool Loads Quickly Images Adverts % Characteristics of a trustworthy website 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 2014 2015 2016 2017 % Did you learn how to cite at FE college or school? Yes No Not Sure Did you learn how to cite literature at your Further Education College or school? Yes No Not sure What makes a website trustworthy? (Tick as many as apply) It is one of the top results on Google It tells you who wrote the information There are images It tells you when the page was last updated It has adverts The domain in the address You can comment or leave feedback There is an About Us section It loads quickly There is a Contact Us section What would you do to get some information about treatments for tendonitis? (Rank in order - 1 being the first thing you would do, 8 being the last.) Type 'treatments for tendonitis' into Google Make an appointment with your GP Ask your friends on Facebook or other sites Consult a reference book Search the web for appropriate sources, e.g. type NHS into Google Ask a pharmacist Search Twitter #Tendonitis Ring a friend or family member who may know Three information-seeking behaviour related questions posed in survey