Wednesday 8th February 2012
Today I must get to work on time – even early – have to deliver a session for new Master’s level students - in a hostile environment. So it’s goodbye to the free leisurely bus journey and hello to a quick drive with £7 parking ticket next to the University. It’s so cold, but the new Student Centre is warm and inviting. I pass by the cafe and notice it’s open and there’s a friend eating FEB (full English breakfast). What torture! I am slimming at the moment. .. Up in my office we are all set to go to the nearby Business suite which we are having to use.
It is 9.00 and the student group are beginning to arrive. I do some introductions as three colleagues wrestle with uncooperative equipment. We have lift off ; with full functioning Powerpoint and YouTube clips. These are new international students and I have up to 90 minutes with them. I refused to do the suggested “Introduction to the Library” and “ plagiarism” and instead am going to tackle Social Media and Google. Having just been writing about Information Literacy, Library 2.0 and Transliteracy it’s time to do something different! Taking an openly Transliterate approach for the first time was fun. Comparing Amazon with Google Books and the Library catalogue ; setting the number of books in the world, against the number Google have digitised and the number we have in our library and so on ; encouraging them to consider accessing material online, save results, make notes and use and save them across platforms (mobile, laptop, PC). We have a truly international bunch of about 50 and I go round individually finding out country of origin. When I talk about the power of Facebook and Twitter it is really humbling to hear how students from Libya have used these social media. Also a student from Cairo. The first session went well, but no time for tea. Straight into repeat session at 11.00 and out part way through at 12.00 to prepare for returning international students in the largest lecture theatre on the University site.
I collect some guides. We are going to do a special one hour session on skills they may have (or not learned) so far in the course. We expected 180 of them : I expected only half would turn up. Peering through the door it was full : back I race for more guides. The theatre is bursting with students : my colleague runs through a list of skills and then turns to me to see what I have done. In a flash I become “Francis Maxwell-Smith” and boast about all the things I have not done and how I will still get a degree. They love my posh Oxford accent! Anyway the role play goes well and we get the message across that there is help available and that they should start to take heed.
It’s 1.30 and I must get back to the third iteration (why do we all use that trendy word nowadays?) of the Social Media and Google session that began at 1.00. I help to round this off. Great to meet all these international students and demonstrate the world they live in by using YouTube “Social Media Revolution 2012” and “Next is Now!”
It is 3.00 p.m. but when was lunch? Fortunately not all days are like this!