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Posts Tagged ‘students’

Visit to Gondar, Ethiopia

Posted by knockels on 27 September, 2010

I have just returned from a visit to Gondar in northern Ethiopia, under the auspices of the Leicester-Gondar Link, a long standing link between hospitals/universities in Leicester and in Gondar.     The link encompasses clinical hospital staff as well as academic and support staff, and has seen many visits of Leicester people to Gondar as well as the other way round.

I went as part of a team, along with Tatjana Petrinic of the University of Oxford and Getachew Bayissa of the University of Jimma, Ethiopia,  to teach an information skills module on a new MSc course.   The course is the first of its kind in Ethiopia, and there are courses for physiotherapists, clinical laboratory staff, midwives and anaesthetists.   The aim is to improve practice and also to have aa course that is self sustaining, with people who qualify going on to teach it.   There were 45 students, more than planned, reflecting the demand for such a course.

Ours was the first module, and ran from Wednesday to Sunday to avoid the Ethiopian New Year.   The module was called, rather grandly, “Evidence based practice and health informatics”.  We certainly covered evidence based practice (not sure about the health informatics!), along with website evaluation, critical appraisal (my favourite!), and the resources available through HINARI, a WHO initiative.  HINARI includes PubMed, as well as e journals made available free of charge to countries with low average income.

A theme in my thinking since my return is that although some things are very different in Ethiopia, a good many things are the same.  

Of course, the town of Gondar feels very different.   Very few people have their own car, relying instead on shared minibuses or autorickshaws (“tuktuks”).   We had a day with no electricity, and another with no Internet access.    But there are still students, who want to succeed.  Some of them have extensive knowledge of computers, although others have less.   We had the use of a 40 seater computer room, with digital projector.   The questions that came up in hands on practice time were not that different from what we get asked here.

And here are some photos…

Royal Enclosure, Gondar, Ethiopia

Royal Enclosure, Gondar, Ethiopia

Teaching in progress

Teaching in progress

Blue Nile Falls, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

Blue Nile Falls, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

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Teaching with online documents

Posted by selinalock on 27 November, 2009

A few weeks ago I asked if anyone could recommend an alternative to using wikis in a teaching session.  A few ideas were suggested including using twitter to get comments from, and interaction among students. An appeal to twitterers also yielded the idea of using

I decided that I would try out etherpad as it allows simultaneous (real-time) online document editing, which would allow me to achieve the same kind of aim as I had with using a wiki. That is to set students tasks using the online document and then get them to make comments on the results of those tasks during the session. The free, public etherpads expire after a week, but I wasn’t expecting the students to go back to the documents after session. I was just after something that could be used as a primer for thinking and talking online about issues surrounding the use of Wikipedia, tips for using search engines, sites they would recommend for their course etc.

Etherpad itself turned out to be a very useful tool with interesting features: I created 10 version of the same document and split the class of approx 68 (I think only about 40 actually showed up) into groups. The software coped very well with the simultaneous editing and there were other useful features such as a chat function at the side of the document, and a time slider feature so you could review all the changes that had been made.

Some of the students thought it was an interesting way to run a session, but I had not banked on the anonymous nature of the software causing issues. Basically, once the students realised it was anonymous because they didn’t have to register to use the documents there was a lot of inappropriate behaviour – posting of inappropriate links, deleting of the whole document while other students were trying to use it, using the chat facility to comment on one another etc.

So, overall I think Etherpad could be used in interesting ways in the classroom, you just have to be careful what ground rules you lay and what groups you use  it with!

Posted in Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Teaching with Emotional Intelligence

Posted by selinalock on 31 March, 2009

Teaching with Emotional Intelligence by Alan mortiboysI 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 in Meetings, Training | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Theses are the days we remember

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 November, 2008

Just run the first of the e-theses submission sessions on behalf of Keith and Hywel, in this case to 3rd year education PhD students.  Seemed to go quite well, despite the mix of jet lagged and baffled students – the Stables rooms are not the easiest places to find.  Mind you the lighting could do with some tweaks as well, as cast a very soporific sheen over the room.

They seemed reassured by my repeated statements about this being goodfor them, their visibility and their careers.  I also laid the library/university’s helpfulness on with a trowel, which I think was the real key to assuaging their worries.

The questions were mostly about points the late comers had missed, though one overseas student was clearly concerned still by the copyright issues.  Not so much third party, but just the general Open Access unease many academics still have.  I did my best to salve his worries, but encouraged him to get in touch with the LRA to talk it over in greater and more specific details.

But all in all a good start, and doubtless a session all we Information Librarians will be repeating in the coming months.

Slides are  at:

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support, Training | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Unto the next generation

Posted by gazjjohnson on 7 October, 2008

I had a very interesting Friday last week, which is as you all know one of my freelance days normally spent at home screaming at a dictionary or painting something around the house.  For a change I went down to CILIP to speak at and take part in their Graduate Open Day; a bit of coincidence with the Uni Open Day on Saturday.  The brief I had was to be part of a panel discussion on social networking/Web 2.0 and how I use it as a professional, followed by an afternoon of speed-networking.  The Graduate Day was the sort of event I wished I’d had as a new, slightly moist behind the ears librarian.

As a participant rather than an attendee I had a thoroughly fascinating time chatting to (sorry, speed-networking with) the new and wannabe librarians, quite a few of whom weren’t just interested in their careers but becoming professional active. I know speed networking of old, having used it extensively for SHERPA/JISC and it works really well, no matter what the format used.  We used triads, JISC use topic tables and CILIP used a slightly simpler model where “professionals” sit on the inside of a circle, and then have three minutes to talk to one person who moves on at the sound of the gong.  Or in this case gavel.

What myself, and most of the other “professionals” there weren’t quite prepared for was that the 90 or so delegates in attendance (yes, do the Maths and work out how long I was speaking) weren’t all newly minted post-graduates of library and information schools by a long chalk. Oh no indeed, I spoke to quite a few people who were still only in the 2nd year of their undergraduate degree and were just using the day to explore possibilities; which meant all the LIS stuff we were talking about was a bit in code for them – translating it took most of the three minutes in some cases. 

However, they were by and large a lively and enthusiastic group to talk to, which was a real bonus. I also came away having had a very reflective time with regard to my own career/skills etc. Kudos to CILIP for organising this event, and roll on the next one.  I even had a bit of time to and from St Pancreas (sic) to take some amusing photos of statues – but that’s a whole different story…

Posted in Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Far beyond the distant shore

Posted by gazjjohnson on 12 August, 2008

Just returned from teaching the last of today’s sessions with the non-English language native overseas students (there must be a shorter term for them that escapes me right now).  Officially the first teaching of the new academic term for me, and a very positive experience.  Lovely students to teach and interact with; very attentive and polite.  Add to that fact that someone else wrote the exercise, corralled them in the room and even sorted out passwords and the like.  And all in our nice shiny DWL IT-Room1.  I could get used to that kind of teaching – so thanks Selina and Evelyn for that.

One of the reasons I came back to the more mundane world of subject librarianship was the chance to do a bit of student interaction again, so I know I’ll go home with a smile on my face today.  Or at least until the rain hits me.

That done and dusted it’s back to some web programming; for once not Rooms2 but rewriting an old page on Geological Surveys to go onto the normal website.  Of course this means I now have to try and remember how to use Contribute…

Posted in Subject Support, Training | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »