We’re having a three-day Learning and Teaching Conference here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland this week. Today, Information Services department gave some quick updates. Here was my invitation to teaching colleagues to make the most of the skills that we Performing Arts Librarians can share with students at appropriate points in their courses. I am quite keen on the Biteable format – it’s quick and snappy, and it seemed to go down quite well!
When I was doing my PGCert, I surveyed a cohort of postgraduate distance-learners to see what they thought of some brief instructional self-help clips that I had designed. I asked for feedback, and I got it – short videos were very welcome, it seemed, but several students particularly asked for animations – or my talking head in a corner of the screen. (WHY would anyone want to watch my talking head? Something that mystifies me, to be honest!) But I liked the idea of animations – apart from wondering how I would achieve this!
When I found Biteable.com, I was quite excited – there are a number of templates and audio backgrounds to choose from, and you can just edit in your own text, changing colours and adding pictures as you choose. I’ve done a couple for the Claimed From Stationers Hall network project that I spearhead, and a couple of months ago I made one as a library guide, too.
This week, I made two more. One is about setting up email alerts for our library discovery layer, and the video I’ve just curated today is about fake news – and basically, not leaping to conclusions about things when you haven’t enough evidence to back your suppositions up. That video stemmed from a Stationers’ Hall field trip that I made recently. It would have been great to have been able to say that I’d discovered a whole story about how certain music scores got into an old library collection. But – as you’ll see – in truth, I haven’t enough evidence to back up my guesses, and my initial ideas are probably pure fantasy!
Anyway, do have a look. I had fun making them, and I hope both videoclips will be useful.
Okay, feeling more alive now, I decided it was time to wrap up my project “interventions” – the two user education guides that I’ve undertaken to devise as part of my PGCert project.
Initially, the intention was to create just one. It didn’t feel enough, and it didn’t offer the chance to experiment. Moreover, it didn’t really address the problems that I perceived our students were experiencing.
I decided I’d create two. I had bold ideas of podcasts, vodcasts, powerpoints with recorded voiceovers, and screencaptures. I even toyed with the idea of combining a YouTube and screencaptures. I went to the park one lunchtime and played with YouTube (it’s anonymous, and there weren’t many people around). Then commonsense kicked in.
- Who wants to listen to me explaining something, without seeing what I’m telling them about? This is about using electronic resources, guys!
- Who wants to see me talking about e-resources, without seeing the e-resources?
- I asked my more technically-minded son how difficult it would be to combine a video of myself, with screen-captures of our e-resource pages. “Who wants to see your little face in a circle in the corner of the screen, Mum?” He wasn’t being unkind. “We want to see what you’re explaining about”, he continued. He had confirmed my misgivings.
I decided my first intervention would be something I felt comfortable with: a powerpoint. I have hardly ever recorded a voiceover, but at least the powerpoint would be easy. Simplicity itself, in fact. I spent hours sourcing suitable images, made a presentation about referencing and citation, got it approved in principle by my project supervisor, and scurried home to write and record the script. Six migraines and a viral infection later, I had a free evening and got the mic/headset out of its box … took a deep breath, and got on with it. I had a complete intervention – put out the flags!
It had been so easy, I had more time left over than I expected. So I started my second intervention. I sourced screencapture software, made a handful of powerpoint slides, and wrote the script. This morning, I seized the gift of some more free, peaceful hours, and started recording.
Even with a new, more robust internet connection, my computer didn’t load up pages as fast as I needed them to load. I tried again, this time pausing the recording until they did load. There are parts of our webpages that seem to occupy half the screen before sliding up again. Not helpful. Moreover, flipping between a handful of powerpoint slides and the e-resource pages was clunky, and I wasn’t entirely sure that my guinea-pig cohort (still innocent that they are to be invited to be guinea-pigs) would see exactly what I wanted them to see, or whether they’d get all the recording clutter around the edges of the screen. This wasn’t going well.
I thought again. What, actually, was wrong with another powerpoint-plus-voiceover? I’m good at powerpoints, I can read a script confidently, and I know the recording will work. Is there really any merit in trying anything else that won’t look as good or flow as smoothly? It took minimal time to turn all my scripted online demos into screenshots in the powerpoint. Recording it was easy – why, I’d even practised the words several times already on the functional but ugly screen-capture attempt.
Finally … I have two interventions. (I wish I could show them off here straight away, but that would spoil the project, so you’ll need to wait! But here’s a picture, just as a teaser.)
And I can put the kettle on!
I had to write my Research Context section for my PGCert project. When I met my supervisor, she explained this is where I write a brief literature review. I have now done this and added it to my PGCert Project Page.
Then I’ll have to write my Professional Aims, and also personal benefits to me.
My Research Questions come next.
Then my Methodology – a qualitative study/approach, using a thematic method of analysis. Google Braun and Clarke for a list for thematic analysis.
- My plan of action will then be:-2016 Survey informs intervention
- See what students think might be useful.
- Build intervention
- Share intervention with cohort
- Send a short questionnaire
- Interview my four categories of respondent (hope I get all four categories!)
As I mentioned, there’s the facility for asking questions on ResearchGate. I’ve decided to be bold, and I’ve just asked a question of my own:-
Postgraduate student? Did you have good library training in using electronic resources?I’m doing a PGCert in Learning and Teaching, and my project is about the best ways of providing students with training in using electronic resources (databases, e-books, digital journals etc). I appreciate that some people like video-clips, others like brief talks, or personal introductions. So I’d like to ask for the briefest of examples of good/bad experiences. Please, only write one sentence! And do let me know if you would mind being quoted anonymously. Thank you.