#citylis Focus on Alumni: James Atkinson on creating a Conference Workshop

In the first of two posts about the Lilac Conference, which is taking place in Dublin next week, #citylis (almost) Alumni, James Atkinson, writes about his involvement in one of the workshops that will take place there.

Later, current #citylis student, Amy Rippon, writes about winning a student sponsored place at the conference.

#citylis (Almost) Alumni, (Captain) James Atkinson

#citylis (Almost) Alumni, (Captain) James Atkinson


Last year, myself and two colleagues, Catherine Radbourne (Subject Librarian, Health Sciences) and Fiona Paterson (E-Access Administrator), designed and ran a new interactive induction for 1st Year Nursing and Midwifery students. As less time was being given to introduce students to the resources they might require, and it was felt there might be a better way to do so other than standing at the front of a lecture theatre demonstrating everything, we were tasked with designing a new session.

The three of us decided to create an interactive quiz that students would be able to work through, using library resources to do so (part of this would mean a lot of using, and getting used to using, the library’s discovery system, CityLibrary Search). As it was a sort of treasure hunt, we adopted a Pirate theme. We even made videos to bookend the quiz section in which I played a pirate captain with a dodgy ticker (very badly, indeed!).

The quiz itself was made using Adobe Presenter, which allows you to present a quiz in a Powerpoint-esque way, the player needing to answer the question before moving on. Using a variety of question types we set the students off to find resources in CityLibrary Search and locate the answers either within the Search results or from somewhere within the resource itself.

For example, this multiple choice question aimed to get students to find, open up and navigate through an eBook in order to find the answer,

eBook Question

whilst this question got students looking at a resource called Visible Body to find the answers.

visible body q

This second example was possibly the most in depth question students needed to use the search function within Visible Body before moving the heart around and clicking on parts of it to find the answers. A “Treasure Map” of hints and tips was provided to help students navigate their way.

The full quiz is available here.  #citylis students and staff can play along using their City IT login credentials to access the resources.

Planning the Workshop

Late last year Catherine pitched an idea for a workshop to the Lilac Conference. The idea was that she would talk about our quiz before encouraging attendees to design their own interactive quiz, with their own needs and resources in mind.

Once the proposal had been approved, our team began to work on ways to make the proposal a reality. The main problem being that attendees would not have access to Adobe Presenter, or a similar software package, and so, how do you reproduce an online interactive quiz on paper?

The answer, of course, is with card. Different coloured card. There will be red cards for resources – an array of different suggestions, from Books to Databases, eBooks, Newspapers and beyond – the reverse left blank for people to write their exact source on if they wish.

For each question type we have made a little explanation card (white) letting the attendees know about their question choices. Clipped to this will be a Question (green) and an Answer card (s) (orange). The idea of these is that groups of delegates will be able to lay out these cards on a table, writing in questions and answers, physically organising their quiz as they go.

Some of our interactive quiz resources

Some of our interactive quiz resources

Another area we had a little difficulty with was coming up with example scenarios to help attendees get started with their quizzes quickly. Our quiz had been about helping find information to treat a heart attack, but we wanted to present different scenarios to help get attendees minds whirring.

The problem we had here was trying to think away from Higher Education, where our own information literacy experience lies. To help, I contacted a couple of school librarians, Isobel Ramsden and Rhiannon Cook. We had come up with vague, fun ideas like a history one (You have been invited to a feast by Henry VIII: find out what you might have for dinner) or about going into space to visit Tim Peake.

From talking to Isobel and Rhiannon we found out more about how research skills are taught, giving us further ideas for scenarios as well as boosting our confidence that the session would be relevant to librarians from all strands of education. Research and library skills were something that I did not start to really learn fully until university and was glad to see that that has changed a great deal.

The session has been tested with success thanks to some volunteer librarians and staff from City University’s LEaD (Learning Enhancement and Development) team, showing what improvements we might need for the conference itself but also prompting a good discussion that Catherine hopes to continue at Lilac.

What’s Next?

Catherine Radbourne will be leading the workshop, Creating an online treasure hunt for your library users, at the Lilac Conference on Monday 21st March 2016 from 11:05-12:05. The session will be chaired by CityLibrary colleague and Lilac organiser, Claire Packham, with City University Research Librarian and friend of #citylis, Diane Bell (who will also present), helping out.

Catherine Radbourne and Fiona Paterson will subsequently be presenting this workshop and leading further discussions at HASLibCamp at City University London on April 23rd.

James Atkinson is on twitter, @jamesatkinson81.

Further details of the original quiz are available here and here, with thanks to ALISS.

Find out more about postgraduate study in Library and Information Science at #citylis, meet alumni, current students and staff on our next open evening on Wednesday 8 June 2016. Register here.

If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact our Editor, James Atkinson.

#HASlibcamp is a one day unconference for people interested in health and science libraries and will take place at City University London on 23rd April 2016.

If you are interested, you can get tickets here or pitch an idea here.  Below is further information reposted with permission from the official website.

About James

Information Assistant (Academic Services) in the Library at City, University of London.
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