***The original version of the following was recorded on an iPad as I drove down the A14, likely looking like a maniac talking to herself!***
Overall, the presentation went well. There was an initial hiccup, as the computer took almost ten minutes to complete installations and start running, so the students were left waiting for me to begin. Luckily, their course leader was there to entertain them by going over some of the technology purchased for the students to use while in practice. I was not particularly happy about the delay because it made me feel like I was not prepared for the session, even though I arrived early and created my presentation days beforehand. Alas, I cannot control the electricity or computer components, so I should just let it go. If anything, I am now going to try to be even MORE prepared for the next session in order to save time and get to the content.
I used Prezi for the first time with this group- both my first Prezi creation and Prezi presentation. It was a fun experience and I had gone through the presentation itself several times before teaching with it in the session, so there were no surprises about missing content or frames not following the right order. I decided to use Prezi because I’ve been bombarded with Prezi presentations within the past five months, so I figure it is the wave of the future with regard to presenting information- it is the “new” PowerPoint, if you will. The only issue I had with this presentation was that I thought it would be useful to go into the presentation from the Prezi website and click on “Share my Presentation Online,” but that still allowed for the rest of my internet window pane to be open- that is, everyone could still see all of my bookmarks, which I found annoying. Therefore, I went into the presentation as though I were editing it and then started the presentation from there so that it had a cleaner look and wouldn’t be distracting to the students- who had been sitting through sessions all day long already.
I spent a lot of time talking about books because, although books are often the format students are most comfortable using, they don’t always fully understand what tools they can utilise in books or why being selective about using books is important. It seems almost condescending to ask students if they are aware of the components of books, i.e. table of contents, the index, etc., but I ask because I want to propose to them that they can use the tools within a book to save time and to find the information more efficiently. I made sure, during this particular session, to ask the students questions so that I wouldn’t be repeating information they already knew. Previously, I have made a general statement such as “as you may or may not know…” and then continue to move along with my presentation, not actually giving students an opportunity to tell me that I didn’t need to explain something.
It was difficult when the students actually started asking me questions about ebooks before I had reached that part of the session I was planning to cover. I had planned to talk about books, then ebooks and then ask for questions, but the y started asking me questions about ebooks before I had finished the planned material on books, therefore, my initial mental response was to assure them I would talk about ebooks in a moment, but instead, I decided that I needed to take their lead and answer their questions: if I was standing up there telling them that I was there to listen and help them and then I just ignored them, I was not going to create a good impression for myself and they would be less likely to ask me for help again if they didn’t think I was listening to them. I knew that I could interrupt what I was planning to talk about and answer their questions and then go back to what I originally set out to cover- or, if it didn’t seem as important, I could just move on. I caught myself almost NOT listening to one of the questions because I was asked about accessing eBooks and I wanted to stop and show everyone right at that moment, but quickly snapped back into reality and listened to the question, answered it, and then provided a demonstration. I felt much more comfortable answer their questions than I remember feeling during the first session I taught- breaking out of the presentation structure would have felt alien and difficult for me. In previous sessions, I’ve always used screen shots of the catalogue and provided images for each stage of the process for using Summon and completing a search, but this time, I just used the toll live and it felt more fluid and natural to do it that way, rather than provide a picture of what “should” happen. I felt like this also allowed students to see the process multiple times so that they would be more familiar with how they needed to go about accessing Summon and our e-resources. By demonstrating a “live” Summon search, I was also able to engage with the audience and get them to participate in the session.
When I started talking about what we have to offer with regard to newspaper collections, it hit me that I had prepared a session about information resources and therefore didn’t really touch much on the library services, which the students may not be aware of. I suppose that I didn’t give much thought to this aspect of the library because I forget sometimes that I work in a library so I am very familiar with what we “do” and “offer.” I also forget that students aren’t necessarily going to look at the library website in order to find out the practical information about what we can offer. For this session, I thought it would be more important to discuss what resources we have available to them- especially electronic resources, due to the nature of their students status- they are working during the day in schools and also participating in courses, so they are less likely to visit the library. I decided that it was more important that I provide them with more tutorial-like information rather than information about our services- but invited them to seek further help from me or the library staff. But back to talking about newspapers…it dawned on me that, as useful as newspapers can be for comparative study and eye-witness accounts, the students I talked to were not likely to get much use out of newspaper articles, especially for their research. It made me think about whether I wanted to continue including newspapers as a specific resource to mention for these types of sessions.
I did talk about video resources as well, pointing out how they can be used as research in writing assignments, but mostly wanted to include video sources to promote our e-stream collection and to show the students what is available to them beyond books and journals. It was nice that they gave me a suggestion about a programme they would like to see on e-stream.
When I talked about the subject guides, I wanted to try to convey just how central the guides are and that they are full of various bits of useful information and links to resources that will be helpful. I wanted them to see that if they get lost throughout the UCS Library pages, if they returned to their subject guide page, they should be able to find links to the information they are looking for. Prior to the session, I checked the page for journals related to the education area and noticed that the page needed to be updated, as there were only 4 key journals currently listed. I was glad that I prepared because it would have been embarrassing to tell the students we provide links to important journals and then have the list show up incomplete.
I mentioned referencing services in passing because, again, I was showing the students the library page “live” and it came up so I figured I may as well just tell them that we do provide help with referencing because I’ve noticed in the past that many students don’t realise there is help available and that we provide links to the referencing guides, along with examples on our website. It was surprising to me that the students have previously asked their tutor about referencing when we are more than capable of helping them- it was just another instance where I thought it was strange because I live in library land and therefore need to be reminded that others do not. I happily offered to help the students with referencing and hope to hear from some of them.
Overall, I feel positive about the session. It wasn’t perfect, but I feel more confident about standing in front of groups than I did the first time I ran a session. I feel like the more I work with the material I’ve previously created and revise it, the easier the teaching sessions feel. I’ve still got a ways to go though- especially with engagement. I often fear that I will come off as too jovial, so I try to rein it in, which then comes across as almost robotic. I will get there…practice makes perfect!