You’ll see it soon on flyers and the e-bulletin – but just for interest here’s the programme for the Research Support Office’s forthcoming Research Focus Week. The highlight naturally being Thursday afternoon!
Posts Tagged ‘Training’
Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 February, 2010
Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 December, 2009
Last week I spent three days on a Leadership Foundation for HE course on management, specifically aimed at Library and IT people working as middle management for the first time. I’ve always enjoyed management training (it formed a rich part of both my previous degrees), and welcomed the opportunity to go on this. I must say especial thanks to the Staff Development Office for funding my attendance too.
One thing I’ll be up-front about were the rules of the room – anything we discussed in-depth with real world implications had to stay in the room. It made for a very free and frank exchange of experiences, but it’s a bit of a shame as I would love to tell people more about them. But those where the rules, and far be it from me to breach them.
What I really learned was that a lot of people in positions similar to mine face a lot of the same challenges – and with the delegates taken entirely from HE we had a lot in common to start with, even based as we were around the UK. Quite a bit of what we covered wasn’t new to me, although much of it was well worth going through again. Some aspects and topics were on the other hand quite new – Edward de Bono’s colour of hats for thinking/decision making is one that really resonated with me.
The three days started with the personal, taking stock of ourselves and our skills using a Myers/Briggs test – which for most of us revealed what we already knew. However, being aware of it allowed us to shift roles within the group exercises to make maximum advantage of our proclivities and talents. From team roles and effective communication we shifted to people management and motivation on the second day. Then leading, delegation along with problem solving. The last day looked at managing yourself and real world issues and examples.
Throughout this was a very hands on, kinesthetic course with exercises, management games, discussions and tasks. Very much my prefered way of working, although I’m still quite tired out by it all some days later. it was just that full on an experience. Certainly the 24 people on the course bonded quickly in the face of this shared adversity, and discussions over drinks and food continued long into the night.
Of especial worth of mentioning were the two extensive business management exercises. The first looked at setting up a Dot.com buisiness from concept to pitch. As the team (and possibly the room’s) biggest extrovert communicator I can honestly say my role as Executive Head of marketing was a plum role; indeed one of the other teams started bidding for my services. The other exercise saw me heading a team, with very limited resources, in construction of a ship – to be judged against predefined characteristics. While we didn’t win, our team worked effectively and efficiently - and at least we produced by far the best looking boat.
There may be an underlying metaphor there – but I’ll skip on.
If there was a low point for me it would be the talk from the real head of service. Contrasted with the interactivity and engagement of the rest of the course it felt dry, and I can;t say I took away anything of especial value from it. Not helped by the fellow legging it as soon as he finished talking, a debate and discussion about translating theory to practice at senior level would have been a wonderful capstone.
But I have come back with a lot to think about, and the feeling that I’m not alone in the daily challenges I face (from the minor to the not quite so). I’d love to take some of the ideas further, and will certainly be following up some of the suggested reading to broaden my understanding of the concepts and techniques covered.
Posted by selinalock on 29 October, 2009
I’m looking for some advice or suggestions on alternatives to using a wiki during a session.
Last year I blogged about my experience using a wetpaint wiki with 1st year computer scientists which overall went well as the students liked the option to interact online, rather than interact verbally in the classroom. We found last year and so far with the group this year that they are far happier doing things in front of a computer!
Anyway, there are up to 70 students and I would like them to comment on issues such as the pros and concs of wikipedia during the session. The wetpaint wiki would not allow several people to edit at once so most of the students entries were lost or overwritten last year.
If anyone can recommend an alternative solution?
- wiki software that will let multiple people edit?
- chat room software that can deal with a big group?
- discussion forum software?
- would a blog allow lots of people to comment at once? Or would it fall over?
I only really need the software during the session, as I’m not expecting them to add to it afterwards, so it needs to be free and easy to use/register for. I would have used a Blackboard discussion board but this module isn’t using Blackboard!
Posted by gazjjohnson on 21 October, 2009
While it’s not falling within open access week there is still a chance for University of Leicester academics, researchers and postgraduates to find out more about the current developments in open access and scholarly publishing. The Research Office (RSO) and the University Library are presenting an Open Access Information Event, Wednesday 28th October 1pm onwards (that’s a week today).
The afternoon is broken into two sessions:
Session 1 is suitable for staff and research students in all disciplines. Speakers include Christine Fyfe (UoL), Astrid Wissenburg (ESRC) and myself. The focus is on the requirements of the UK HE funding councils and the Leicester open access perspective.
Session 2 is aimed at staff and research students working in disciplines covered by UK Pub Med Central (principally biosciences, health and medicine). Margaret Hurley and Alison Henning (Wellcome Trust) will be speaking about their specific funding policies and the new UKMPC grant reporting services. Finally Juliet Bailey (RSO) will talk about the Wellcome Trust OA fund at Leicester.
There will be a break for refreshments in the middle, as well as a chance for formal and informal questions to all the delegates. The LRA team will be there in force, so it’ll be a really good chance to talk with us about what we can do to help you fulfil the various institutional, funding and theses mandates here at Leicester; as well as making sure your publications are read as widely as possible.
To reserve a place and for a full programme contact Laura Roberts
Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support, Staff training | Tagged: event, internal training, open access week, research support office, scholarly publications, Training, ukpmc | Leave a Comment »
Posted by emmakimberley on 17 September, 2009
I’ve been mulling over some of the main recurring points from the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 09 and their impact on my own practice as someone who engages with researchers. Here is a brief list of qualities that participants in Vitae 09 thought development activities should seek to encourage:
- Ability to operate in a web 2.0 environment (for dissemination, collaboration, networking…)
- Recognition of the value of both blue-skies creative thinking and applied research
- Dialogue across disciplinary boundaries (This involves presentation and communication skills: researchers being able to present their ideas in accessible and jargon-free language.)
- Participation and support from academic role models (Students are more likely to use their training if they see tangible evidence of its usefulness around them.)
- Provision of physical and virtual spaces encouraging creativity, community and dialogue.
- Getting students to be reflective and to analyse their own needs (E-portfolios were suggested as one method of encouraging this.)
- Training that prepares future academics for new academic behaviours (VLRs, new devices and platforms.)
- Recognition that preparedness to cope with change and challenge is more important than any particular set of learned skills (Training needs to be flexible rather than prescriptive.)
- Important role of emotional/motivational support in postgraduate research students (This can be done through events and networking opportunities, a focus on the writing process in workshops, providing alternatives to the formal supervision system etc.)
Can anyone add to these?
Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 August, 2009
As I’ve mentioned earlier from the 1st of October I’ll be switching jobs to managing the repository and the document supply teams (or as they will be then the Document Supply & Repository Team, aka DS&RT). While this date is a few months off, I’m already increasingly getting myself involved with the team and offering them what support I can.
It is of course a big learning experience for myself, having never worked directly with inter-lending before. So as a result of this, and being a very much activist learner, I’ve spent the morning shadowing one of the experienced members of the team (Marilyn) as she goes through their daily routine.
There was a lot to remember, and I have to say I was very impressed by her efficiency. It looks like while a lot of the Document Supply role is routine in nature, there are many disparate elements to the job. And this is even before I find out more about what we do with Distance Learner support! There are also a healthy number of queries which thankfully I’ve been able to take a back seat to while the more experienced members of the team answer them. Doubtlessly in time as I become embedded with the team I’ll be able to answer them myself, but right now I think that there would be a lot of very confused people out there if I took a hand.
Thus all in all this has been a very eye opening experience. There was a lot to take in, quite a few things I’m going to need to think about some more and some very useful questions raised. It might be a daunting prospect taking on managing such a diverse section at a time of real change for them, but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in!
Posted by selinalock on 31 March, 2009
I attended this session run by Alan Mortiboys on 23rd May at the University of Leicester.
So, what is teaching with emotional intelligence? Alan suggests “that is recognising the feelings of yourself and your learners, in order to make you both more effective in your roles” and “encouraging an emotional state in your learners that is conducive to learning.”
That doesn’t really tell you a lot until you start to examine the type of emotions you might (inadvertently) be invoking in your students. For example, in the session we looked at a list of metaphors of how we see our teaching role, such as law enforcer to the potentially criminal or carer to the vulnerable. Out of that list I chose salesperson to potential buyer, as I often feel we are trying to sell library resources to users and convince them to use them. However, I tend to associate salespeople with desperation and a feeling of discomfort. Is that really the effect I want to have on students?!
We then looked at the kind of feelings we do want to encourage in our learners, for example, confident, empowered, interested, receptive, motived, and thought about what we do to encourage these feelings. I felt slightly better in this exercise as I believe I encourage some of these feelings by acknowledging sources they already use, give them a chance to practice skills with help on hand and explain why the session will be useful. This also tied into the next exercise which looked at how we can address learners’ fears and expectations regarding their learning.
The last part of the session covered strategies for using emotional intelligence with learners:
- Being present: ensure you are aware of your learners reactions and listening to them so you can respond to their needs (if appropriate).
- Group empathy: try to be aware of things that could be affecting how your learners are feeling e.g. anxiety around exam time.
- Dealing with fears & expectations: make sure your learners are aware of what will happen in a course and what is expected of them.
- Acknowledging individuals: fro example, making eye contact equally among students, using their names and acknowledging previous contributions during a session.
- Physical environment: making this as pleasant as possible (for the parts that are under your control!!).
- Non-verbal communication: being aware of what your non-verbal communication might be saying – try videoing yourself to see what you look/sound like during teaching.
- Self-disclosure: letting the students know your human in an appropriate context e.g. OK, I’ve not tried this before so we’ll see how it goes… or, When I first started studying this area I found it difficult…”
- Prefacing your response: “I’m glad you asked that question…” but this only works if you genuinely mean it!
Overall, an interesting session which reminded me to consider the emotional dimension of teaching.
Posted by sarahw9 on 12 March, 2009
This is our second year of using a wiki in our session with 1st year medics ‘Finding the Evidence’. The purpose of this session is to make sure that students understand both where to find and how to use resources that support evidence based medicine. This exercise also aims to support the students as they embark on their 10,000 word dissertations where they follow a real patient for two years, looking at the the patients’ medical condition, treatment and their social context.
We set the students a clinical question, for example, they may be asked if a particular drug helps a medical condition or what evidence there is to support a particular type of treatment (I don’t want to give away of our real questions here!).
Before the training sessions the students are given an assignment which they complete in groups of 3. In the wiki there is list of resources they have to search. They have to record their search strategy (keywords and more detail if relevant), and what they find in answer to the clinical question. Then they have to write a conclusion based on all the evidence they have found, and make any observations about differences of opinion they find in the literature.
The resources they search are: Clinical Knowledge Summaries; Intute; Medline; The Cochrane Library; and the British National Formulary. This is to familiarise students with guidelines for physicians, prescribing doses, patient information, as well as the literature at the highest level of evidence and the more exploratory (but still peer reviewed) levels of research literature.
When they arrive at the session the students are given some further background to evidence based medicine and are shown some extra tips on searching these tools. We hope they actually take it in now they have used them the tools for themselves. We discuss the ‘answer’ to the clinical question they were asked and give feedback to the students on their assignments. Then the fun starts as they are asked to look at another wiki and enter comments on each others wikis, noting three things another group did differently to themselves. I think this is quite eye-opening for them – to see that another group answering the same question using the same resources finds different results and emphasises different aspects of the question. They should (and virtually all did in fact) find the same basic bottom line answer to the question, but there may be a few subtleties for example different situations where different treatments are applicable or where the evidence is unclear. We also ask the students to say what they would do differently if they were going to do this exercise again.
We are still compiling our feedback from the sessions, but so far it it mostly good, and amazingly the students say they can see the point of the exercise. I think in future we need to consider ways to focus the students’ comments more. Some have put in alot of detail and constructive comments, others are more along the lines of ’ours was better than yours’.
Overall this is a good way to focus students on particular resources. It is also very specific to a particular question and plugs straight into resources they are going to be using for their dissertations (or they should be using).
Selina has also used a wiki with the computer scientists if you want to compare notes and outcomes. Interestingly different groups of students have different characteristics as a whole. This type of exercise may be working for medics and computer sciencists, but would it work for others? Perhaps its time we tried it.
Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 November, 2008
Feeling chuffed right now as I’ve managed to get the digital signage here to obey my commands – and so now it’s displaying a new message as well as the standard stuff. That seemed fairly easy now I know which buttons to press, though the software didn’t make it obvious I can certainly say!
Spent most of today teaching new sessions to the science postgrads on Databases and Endnote/RefWorks. A small but good bunch of students, all of whom bar one came to both sessions. I have to say it’s been rather a herculaean effort to get all the handouts and lecture slides up and running; but well worth the while. Like most first run sessions there were various things I felt could have been done better – but you generally only think of them once you’re live. But since I made the sessions fairly informal I was able to slip them in every now and again as though they were pre-planned.
I think the only two real glitches we hit were Zetoc failing to work for anyone (so I’ve passed that onto Sheree) and some of the EndNote filters not quite working like I expected – something to go away and investigate post-hoc I think.
I’ll read through the feedback tomorrow, once I start working on the Chemistry p/g sessions for next Wednesday – hoping to recycle a fair bit of info…
Posted in Research Support, Subject Support, Training | Tagged: advanced databases, bibliographic databases, EndNote, information skills, keeping up to date, phd, postgraduates, refworks, Training | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gazjjohnson on 29 October, 2008
Went to the first meeting of a task and finish group here in the Library today, looking at the library staff induction (as opposed to the library’s induction for student/staff). Very interesting meeting chaired by Jo Aitkin where I was able to put a few more names to faces (yes, after 8 months I’m still rubbish with about 80% of the staff here – if only we had a staff picture gallery!).
As is the way in these kind of meetings I managed to sit on my hands for all of 20 seconds before starting my ideas brain off. We had a good long look at the induction booklet which whilst not bad in terms of content, would certainly benefit from a revision in structure and layout. And as the loudest mouth in the room (Anne C might beg to differ) I’ve come away with a sub-team remit to produce the next version. Excellent!
We also looked at the old programme of rolling training. Now I brought with me the insight on the programme we had at York and Warwick where these kind of weekly sessions were an excellent way to demystify working practices, expand on work teams were doing as well as act as training activities for new and long time members of staff. We’ll be looking at them in more depth at the next meeting.