Thursday, 15 August 2013

First impressions

I'm two weeks into my new job and I'm really enjoying it so far. My first day was also my birthday and my new colleagues had bought me a cake and cards, which was very generous of them. I made sure I shared it with everyone during the afternoon tea break!

This post is going to be very short and sweet, since I only have my first impressions to go on, but I feel like I have learned a lot in a very short space of time. Currently, I'm making instructional videos that will be placed on Blackboard to teach staff at the college how to utilise all of Blackboard's features. This is part of what we call 'Blackboard Boot Camp' to give tutors the chance to train themselves up on Blackboard before the Blackboard audit later in the year. If a member of staff is not using Blackboard to even a basic standard by the time the audit takes place, they will have to undertake further training to 'upskill', since the college is placing more and more focus on e-learning and new technologies. I've learned how to use Camtasia Studio 7 to make these videos and discovered that trying to record voice narration over said videos is more stressful than you would think - especially when there's a lot of building work going on that gets picked up on the recordings! Having to listen to your own voice played back again and again is also a strange experience. I've not always been the most 'techy' of people and learning how to use new software sometimes feels a bit daunting to me, but I've really thrown myself into it. My manager and colleagues are very supportive and encouraging and I think we'll all learn from each other, especially since my role is fairly new. In a way, we're all learning as we go and nobody knows what the outcome will be in terms of the work we're doing this academic year, since it's never been done at the college before.

Students, inductions and self supported study

Once term starts again, I'll be delivering library inductions to students and working shifts in the LRC a few times a week. It's going to be busy and manic in September and October but I think I'm going to really enjoy the varied nature of the role. I'll also be working alongside another colleague to liaise with tutors and create online courses for Blackboard. The college wants at least 10% of Level 3 courses to be delivered solely online as part of a Self Supported Study (S3) initiative, so that students have to work through that particular module/topic independently of tutor-led classroom sessions and all of the content will be delivered through Blackboard. Being a distance learner myself, I think I'm going to find this part of my role very interesting and after reading the reports from the pilot online courses that were ran last year, I'm looking forward to seeing what the student response will be once they are completing these online courses 'for real'. I'll be blogging more about this side of my role once the work is underway and I have more to say.

Views of Middlesbrough College, taken by me!

The future of this blog

When I first moved back 'up north' I wasn't sure how long it would take me to find work, let alone a library related job, so I'd decided that the overall focus of my blog would be around job hunting and keeping my hand in all things library and information related if I didn't manage to get a job in that field straight away. The job at the college came up at exactly the right time, as well as my weekend job at the University of York, so I've been lucky that I have no gaps in my work experience. I am still going to keep blogging around the themes of job hunting and employment issues, studying towards a professional qualification and generally being a new professional. I'll also blog about e-learning and various aspects of my role at Middlesbrough College and also my opinions and experiences of the wider library and information profession. Watch this space!