Not content with content alone: reading lists, subject blogs, e-portfolios and more – Sara Hafeez, University of Westminster.
This was a dynamic and engaging, almost flipped classroom in style, thought provoking presentation. As Sara darted from one side of her Prezi show to the other we were treated to an exploration of her journey of discovery of the wealth of different media used in her experience supporting academic liaison and subject support. Her Prezi seemed to portray a geographical map of two land masses (Brighton and Westminster!) and while Sara described her journey, she would ask us, the audience, about our impressions and own experiences, which would add to her own reflection and learning experience. It was, as Sara boldly stated, “a bit cheeky” but definitely innovative. Sara was intent on breaking that “4th wall”.
With Sara’s intent of being a better librarian by sharing her experiences, I certainly found it enlightening to hear how various technical tools (such as e-portfolio software Mahara and online virtual “bulletin” board, Padlet) can be used to support architecture and built environment lecturers and students. The visual and collaborative aspects of some software made it more useful, as they could provide a space for sharing images, allowing room for reflection, presentations and mini crits within a virtual classroom of peers. Within Sara’s experience, this highlighted a better level of engagement between lectures, students and potentially, librarians.
Sara also provided a good commentary on the use of Aspire reading lists at Brighton and Westminster, and provided the insight that architecture staff and students could find it “flat” and uninspiring and not visual enough for those whose learning is based on visual images. This of course could only lead to ever searching for different ways of meeting student expectations, including even wheeling a trolley of books and journals into a classroom to make literature review sessions more interesting!
At the end of her presentation, Sara turned the following Q&A session on its head, and asked us questions, answers to which she fully expected to learn from. Some of the useful things I heard about included the success of the University of Portsmouth penguin Twitter account and the HEA website (I have since discovered very interesting papers on teaching in schools of architecture and built environment).
I think that it would be safe to say that I was not the only person in the room to leave with inspiring ideas following this informative and entertaining session.
Review by Julie Charles, University of Brighton