Monday, 29 July 2013

New job!

It's been a while, and lots has happened. I've got a NEW JOB which I'm starting later this week. I'm going to be working as a LRC Digital Facilitator at Middlesbrough College and I can't wait to start. The role is fairly new and I'll be working with their VLE (Blackboard) and helping college tutors make the most of the resources available. I will still keep up my blog, since I am technically 'trying to be a librarian'. I'll still be studying towards my MSc and I'll be learning so many new things in my new job so I think I will benefit from being able to blog about my library related adventures.

For the purpose of this blog post, I thought I would blog about the interview for my new role. The most stressful interview experience I've ever been through!

The interview

The brief for the interview was to prepare a 10 minute presentation to demonstrate how I would utilise a VLE and other e-resources to deliver a course entirely online. The subject matter could be anything we wanted, so I decided to imagine that I was creating an online history module for an Access course and the topic was Britain in the 1980s. For those who know me well, this is my favourite period of history and the period I focused on for my undergraduate dissertation, so I already had an awareness of a lot of the e-resources that were out there containing material for this topic.

After I'd gotten over the initial panic of realising that I would have to deliver this presentation to actual people (I'd never had to do anything like that for an interview before) I got to work trying to learn as much as I could about VLEs. As always, the library community on Twitter was an invaluable resource for me and I was able to exchange emails with a few people who already work with VLEs who gave me some excellent advice and tips. I was directed to a website called CourseSites where I could sign up for free and create my own Blackboard modules and see what facilities were available on Blackboard. This was great, as I was able to create 'pretend' course information and then use screenshots in my presentation. I was able to use my experience from studying myself (particularly my distance learning course) and asked around people I knew who had completed Access courses to ask about their experience of VLEs and what could have been done better by their college.

I also got a lot of help from a friend of mine who teaches in FE and she helped me put my presentation in the context of an FE environment and link to the current learning objectives that FE colleges are looking for from their course content. Since I've never worked in an FE college before, I found this so helpful and I think having knowledge of what they expect from tutors really helped me sell myself in the interview.

I decided to use Prezi rather than PowerPoint to deliver my presentation as I HATE PowerPoint. I'd never used Prezi before, so having only a week to learn how to use it and prepare all the content was somewhat ambitious, but I figured that a job that is all about e-learning and new technologies involves learning about new stuff all the time. Some people advised me not to take on too much with trying to learn a new technology in such a short space of time, but after looking at various tutorials about Prezi made by people such as Ned Potter, and having seen Prezi in action several times, I knew it was the best tool to use for my presentation. I kept it simple, and actually found it fairly easy to use, which I think is the key with Prezi. Even a simple one is much more effective than a PowerPoint presentation in my opinion. For those who are interested, here is my Prezi!

One of the Padlet images in the presentation is taken from the following Prezi, I hope this is OK and I won't get in trouble! As you can see, copyright law is not my strong point. 

On the day, I was so nervous and had actually been ill for a couple of days beforehand, which didn't help. On my arrival at the college, I accidentally got taken to be interviewed for an A Level teaching position (argh!) but once that was cleared up, I was taken to the right place to deliver my presentation to the panel. This was then followed by an interview and the rest is history!

A new start

So after a long month of waiting for my DBS clearance and sorting out all of the documentation etc. I will be starting my job this week. I can't wait to start and I think I'm going to really enjoy working at the college. It'll be interesting to work in a different type of institution to what I'm used to and will be an excellent addition to my CV. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.

I will blog more about my new role once I've settled in. In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone on Twitter who got in touch before my interview and gave me loads of good advice. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am for all of the great contacts I've made over the years and for anyone out there who is still job hunting, take advantage of the great resource out there in the Twittersphere. Those librarians love helping people, including each other!