Category Archives: PGCert Project

Three roles – or is it four?

Four days a week, I’m an academic librarian.  One day, I’m a postdoctoral researcher.  In August, the emphasis will shift slightly to three and a half days and one and a half, for the duration of my AHRC network funding grant.

A couple of days ago I realised my SCONUL Focus article was now in print, describing how my three roles in librarianship, research and pedagogy serve one another.  I find it quite easy writing about process, and I’ve often been asked to write or speak about this kind of thing.   In fact, my PGCert project also had a focus on process: I was contemplating the best ways to support distance learners in their information needs and skills development, and although the project gave me insight into how social scientists conduct educational research, and conducting the survey and interviews was an unexpected eye-opener, at the end of the day I was writing not only about my research findings, but about process, ie, the best ways to support learners.

However, it’s more challenging and perhaps more satisfying to write engagingly and accessibly about my musicological research, because it goes deeper into my specialism.  I have several pieces of writing submitted and awaiting publication at the moment, but what’s missing is something actually on the drawing-board, being written right now.  That’s largely because I was completing the PGCert portfolio.  Librarianship happens four days a week, research a fifth, and the PGCert had to fit around family life and my spare time.   Which didn’t, to be truthful, leave any spare time for writing!

However, I remembered the other day that I gave a paper earlier this year for which I have not yet sought a published home.   Maybe, just maybe I ought to dig it out and see what needs to be done to turn it into a proper paper for submission.

Librarianship, research, pedagogy … and author.  Well, after my annual leave, anyway!

 

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(Cringe) I sound like a ClassicFM announcer!

period-481478_640I lost a bit of speed on my PGCert project during my husband’s birthday week – it was a “big” birthday and was celebrated accordingly.  With guests staying, I didn’t even attempt to do any project work.

Last weekend, therefore, I was resolved to push ahead.  On Friday evening, I transcribed my conversations with ‘Interviewee A’ and ‘Interviewee B’, so that I would only have one more to transcribe after the third interview.  (Rather alarmingly, I sound like a Classic FM announcer – this came as a bit of a shock!  Not that I don’t like listening to them, but I had no idea that my accent and tone might sound similar.  Gulp.)  However, family life and unexpected calamities got in the way for the rest of the weekend, so I haven’t done any more writing for the final report.

However,  I attempted a quick summary of some of the issues that arose, since I shall need to incorporate them into my report at some stage soon.  (Another 421 words – pathetic, considering the lengths I sometimes write!)  I won’t go into too much detail in this posting, however; my thoughts need to be refined and interpolated into the writing I’ve already done, so it would be inappropriate to write at length here.  Furthermore, I hadn’t yet done the third and last interview, which will also need transcribing and analysing.

  • My first two interviewees’ comments often reflected their status as part-time, mature distance-learners.
  • Sometimes, learners realise that their difficulties are actually connected with a previously undiagnosed problem, such as dyslexia.
  • The help of library staff is much appreciated.
  • Being able to find instructional tools/apps easily comes through as a common thread; as well as providing a range of tools, the library needs to ensure that they can easily be found.
  • Another issue raised, was that of interactive learning tools for learning how to do referencing; this ties in with questionnaire responses asking for more details about  learning how to use the online bibliographic referencing tools that are now freely available.

Although five questionnaire respondents expressed willingness to be interviewed, I only actually had three responses when I followed up the willing volunteers, so I decided to accept that there will only be three interviews.  Time is pressing, and I need to start writing up all the various components required in my portfolio!

If I wanted animation in a webcast

LIGHTEN UP!

One of the responses to my survey suggested lightening up my “learning experience” webcasts with video, cartoons etc.  This is an interesting challenge – animations and cartoons are not in my librarian/postdoctoral researcher/info skills trainer skillset.  So, I thought, surely there must be a place where I can download gifs, so I can use them sparingly to engage my library-user audience.

THE EXPERIMENT

But where? I started with Giphy.  Supposing I was going to do the referencing and citation webcast again with some animation included.  What would I need?  Cue for some keyword searching.  How would Giphy handle terms like this?  I would want my gifs to have a uniformity of style, for preference, and I’d want them to inform or at least illustrate appropriately

Library (this is from UCL Institute of Education). The poor chap makes me feel stressed just  watching him!  I could use the same gif to illustrate Studying.  It’s animated, but I don’t personally feel it adds very much to the kind of presentation I’m aiming for.

giphy (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information (this experiment really is so time-consuming!)

giphy (3).gif

Bibliography (I’m struggling here) – and this is hardly going to raise a smile!

giphy (4)

  • Harvard style – not a good search term! Try Harvard style referencing.  Harvard referencing? Harvard citation? No.  Referencing? Nope!

Citation. Actually, this gif – which came up as one of the most relevant – is ironically more relevant than it seems.  There aren’t any gifs which represent bibliographic referencing or citation in any way, lighthearted or otherwise.  giphy (5).gif

Bibliographic software.  It seems I can have ‘software’, but not the bibliographic kind. Better than nothing, I guess!  On the other hand, oh yes, HALLELUJAH! I can have a Mendeley gif.  Biased, but perfect!

Now let’s try the webcast about using e-books and e-journals.

Electronic resources   giphy

E-book – I found a nice animation, but it doesn’t exactly convey the message I’m aiming for!  giphy (8)

  • E-journal, Electronic journal? Not a chance of a suitable gif!

Shibboleth (two results, absolutely no connection with e-resources) / authentication.  I simply have to share this – it’s so very daft! but there’s nothing relevant:-  giphy (9)

CONCLUSION

It takes a very long time to source gifs that are even remotely appropriate, so maybe I need to keep looking.  I possess a lot of dogged determination, but if I was aiming for, say, even six animated screencasts, then it would take me arguably more working time than I can afford.

There is, of course, one more thing to try.  I can ask the community on Twitter and ResearchGate.  Here goes!

TOMORROW’S EXPERIMENT: GOOGLE IMAGES

Googling images using Google tools to select animations, might be useful.  I’ve just tried it for ‘library education’ with hopeful results.  But I’m not doing any more right now!

Completing and Commencing Projects

hurry-2119711_640June 2017 sees me working towards completion of my PGCert project (Postgraduate Certificate, Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education), and towards the commencement of my AHRC-funded networking project, Claimed from Stationers’ Hall.

I’m setting things in place for the postdoctoral project, but I’m hopefully going to have the PGCert written and submitted before the postdoc network kicks off.

The PGCert Project

target-418917_640For long enough, I’ve been focused first on getting my practice-based project research proposal written and accepted, and then getting it through the ethical approval process.  Between those two milestones, I devised my project questionnaire and two ‘interventions’ – experimental mini online tutorials that I would share with my chosen project cohort, asking them targeted questions to elicit their reactions to my efforts.

Finally, I was able to get the project under way.  I shared the questionnaire several times.  I set a deadline of the end of May, to allow myself time to evaluate the questionnaire responses.  Finally this week, with the deadline past, I was able to start my analysis.  I had 18 sets of responses, and decided that would do.

Some of my questions were multiple choice (eg, Did this help? Yes or no.)  Others offered the opportunity to give free-text answers.  When it came to analysis, the multiple choice questions were easily turned into pie charts, whilst the free-text ones lent themselves to textual analysis.  Having sorted the answers into rough categories, I even managed to make some more pie charts.  (My study was more like a pie-shop this morning!)

Towards completion

I also need to submit a Journal Summary (1000 words) with PDPdetailing where my learning development has changed with regards to ‘Pedagogy, Research, Scholarship [and] Professional Practice‘ – and I need to refer to key journal entries in that regard.  The PDP shouldn’t go past 3 A4 pages.

  • And complete the UKPSF Checklist

 

Progress of a (PGCert) Project

It’s a week since circulating my survey for my PGCert project into improving user education for using electronic resources and other related library skills.  With bated breath, I bravely revisited the survey site yesterday, to see all the responses that I imagined would have accumulated.

Nothing.  fjord-647078_640

I knew the links worked – at least, I thought they did.  The chill fear of doubt entered my heart …

Another email went off to my chosen cohort.  Today, with even more bated breath, I checked again.  Thankfully, I now have six responses.  Obviously, I can’t just sit back and wait for surveys to be completed – I need to nudge people with a combination of charm and persistence!  However, I’m relieved that the survey “works”, technically, and I already have some useful comments and suggestions.  Phew!