Wednesday, 22 June 2011

CoFHE Conference 2011 - Day 2 - The Morning

E-guides and digital literacy – Workshop

‘E-guides’ are people who are trained to guide others in the use of e-learning resources and information learning technology. This session was split into two. Virginia Havergal from Petroc had trained her staff to work as e-guides throughout the college. Ceri Powell from Coleg Llandrillo had led an interesting project to train students to be peer e-guides.

A note on funding – Both speakers emphasised the usefulness of applying for (and getting) grants to support their projects. Virgina applied for a small grant from the Learning and Improvement Service to support her e-guide training programme. Coleg LLandrillo’s peer guide project was considered innovative enough to get significant financial support from JISC.

E-guides @ the library

Viginia Havergal – Petroc

Virginia identified a need in her college. Nobody was responsible for encouraging and supporting the use of information learning technology. As the learning resources manager she decided that her team were well placed to fill that gap. She carried out a skills audit for her team and invested in training to fill any gaps in their knowledge. Once the staff had been trained up they publicised this new role. Working as e-guides helped her team to build stronger working relationships with teaching staff. This was particularly important at Petroc because the college is spread across a wide geographic area.

Having established this new role the learning resources team used it to encourage the use of their existing e-resources and to develop new services. They had particular success with using their new skills to create online learning objects.

Peer e-guides and digital literacy

Ceri Powell – Coleg Llandrillo

The e-guide project at Coleg Llandrillo was very different. They decided to recruit students as peer e-guides. The idea was that students prefer to take advice and recommendations from other students. If a fellow student tells them that they can access all kinds of exciting e-resources then they will listen more than they will if we tell them that.

The library staff asked tutors to identify candidates. They targeted first year students on the grounds that they would then have a cohort of experienced e-guides to help train the next year’s recruits. They asked tutors to pick students who were reliable, approachable and had good existing computer skills. The students who agreed to join the scheme completed a skills audit and took part in a training programme.

The peer e-guide role is focussed on advocacy rather than training others. They give talks to classes and they are a point of contact for curious fellow students.

Warm advice for cold times – Plenary session

Andrew Green – National Library of Wales

Andrew gave us an overview of the work of the National Library of Wales. It holds a wide range of important collections including the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

He then moved on to giving us some warm advice. He emphasised the power of stories to convince people that we are doing a good job. He was sceptical about the value of relying on statistics to measure the impact of library services. His argument was that first hand stories from students who feel that the library has helped them to do better will always have more impact than any purely statistical demonstration of our value.

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