Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Staff Development

At the end of last academic year we have two consecutive staff development days to round off the term. For the first time I 'led' a small group during an activity. I found this helped me to be more engaged with the task and, if I'm honest, more willing to carry out the activity (more on that below).

It all began on the morning of Thursday 20th December with the whole of the Student Services division congregating in the LRC's HE Centre. The Director of Student Services started with a presentation on recruitment and success rates. It was interesting to see how much competition the College now faces from provision across other College and Sixth Forms. He then got us thinking about self-assessment and the College's strengths and weaknesses in preparation for work on our SARs (Self-Assessment Report) - this generated some lively opinions amongst some! Following this we divided back into our divisions to work on our own SAR.

The Director of Learning Resources divided us into groups in which we focused on specific aspects of the service and thought about its strengths and areas for improvement along with what evidence could be provided to back up our statements. I led a small group looking at use of resources and e-resources. I found this activity a really good way of not only highlighting our recent successes, but also of bringing to light certain aspects for improvement which have been overlooked in the past. Here's an overview of my groups' discussion:

Strengths: significant improvement in provision of print and e-books following an increase in budget which allowed for collection project end of 2011/2012; purchased new e-resource Key Note to support business and subscribed to free e-resource Primal Pictures Anatomy & Physiology Online; upgrade of LRC PCs improved experience of accessing LRC eResources; this academic year has seen a considerable increase in the number of LRC resources embedded into Moodle courses; staff have worked to improve liaison with BTEC business tutors; LRC works hard to promote resources and can identify several publicity methods.

Weaknesses: 2011/2012 student questionnaire shows low awareness of resources; LRC awareness of reading lists and assignment details across College is patchy; analysis of usage data from Learning Resources pages in Moodle shows some areas rarely viewed; Moodle courses containing LRC content not widespread; no consistent monitoring of induction takeup, specifically e-resources/starting your research inductions; low use of DVD collection; past few years have seen a decline in the level of access provided to physical resources due to changes in opening hours.

At lunch we all headed back to the HE Centre for lunch and the annual quiz and raffle (in which I won a bottle of wine!). The afternoon began with a presentation from one of our Vice Principals on the changes to Ofsted's Common Inspection Framework after which we finished with an LRC senior team meeting tidying up loose ends from the morning's activity.

The following day was more laid back with updates and brief training. I gave an E-resources update highlighting new e-books purchased, changes to existing LRC eResources and new LRC eResources. One activity my colleague ran was based on teamwork and I thought she came up with a very ingenious idea: she had given us an activity to do first in small groups. For the second part, she gave each group a small jigsaw which we had to put together in our team and to shout out as soon as we'd completed it. Well there we were, all shouting FINISHED!, and she was going round saying that we hadn't! We soon twigged that in actual fact our individual jigsaws fitted together to complete a bigger picture, so we had to come together as a whole team to complete it - I thought this was a great idea. The College closed at 2pm that day so after we had finished we all headed off to the pub for a very well-deserved drink!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Reflections and wisdom

2012 was a good year. Highlights included: getting married; presenting at the JISC eFactor Showcase in London; being promoted to the position of Information Advisor (Resources and Content) and being involved in a collections project ordering books, books and more books (appealing to the traditionalist in me!).

I don't really have any new year's resolutions for this year. So instead, I thought I'd share with you some wisdom. Now, I have to admit that this wisdom isn't my own! My husband and I decided that, for our calendar this year, we would purchase one called The wisdom of kids created by Zavacopoulos and The London Studio. Some very insightful views follow. My personal favourites are September (no.9) and October (no.10)!

1. What's the moral of Cinderella?: 'Good things happen when you wear the right shoes' (Sophia, age 10).

2. Getting your priorities right: Love is the most important thing in the world, if you don't count football' (Andrew, age 10).

3. Who is the boss, mummy or daddy?: 'Daddy is the boss, until mummy comes home' (Chloe, age 7).

4. Why do grownups love wine?: 'It helps them live long. Cos it's grapes it's 1 of your 5 a day, so basically it's a health drink' (Alice, age 6).

5. What are the signs of ageing?: 'Old people have huge CD's that they call records' (Selina, age 6).

6. Is it better to be single or married?: 'It's better for girls to be single but not for boys cos they need someone to clean up after them' (Anita, age 9).

7. When is it okay to kiss someone?: 'When they're rich' (Pam, age 7).

8. The difference between men and women: 'Women have boobies. They have one for hot milk and one for cold milk' (Michael, age 5).

9. If you can't remember your age: 'Just look in the back of your pants. Mine say five to six' (Tina, age 5).

10. How to make someone fall in love with you: 'Shake your hips and hope for the best' (Camille, age 9).

11. The best present for a girl ...: 'Boxer chocolates' (John, age 6).

12. 'I tried to eat brussel sprouts but my mouth wouldn't let me' (Robby, age 4).