As this resource is contained within the University’s VLE, access is restricted to its staff and students; an example of the contents is included in a screenshot below
Type of snapshot
Central services provision e.g. library, learning development, e-learning, ICT
What was the context for this snapshot?
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, School of Midwifery Levels 2 & 3 BSc (Hons.) Midwifery students. It has proved very difficult for the librarian responsible for supporting them to arrange for hands-on sessions in order to teach them how to access information resources, develop information literacy skills, good referencing techniques etc..
Not specially funded.
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
All years, but set up mainly to provide Levels 2 & 3 with support. These students are not very often physically on campus, are on placement from the start of their course, so need online resources that they can access 24/7. Many of the midwifery students are mature students. As they are working (in their placements) what is effectively almost a full-time job, in addition to in many cases having to cope with the demands of a family, easy, quick access to study materials is essential, especially as course leaders at these levels do not routinely arrange for any face-to-face sessions with the subject librarian (unlike those at level 1).
There is a facility within the University’s VLE (BREO) to create an ‘Organization’ that sits separately from course units. Students can access BREO online 24/7, using their university login.
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
The resource was mainly set up so that students could have easy access to: a)support for independently developing their information skills, via online tutorials, helpsheets, etc. b)information resources, mainly in the form of links to documents, statistics, current awareness services, good-quality web-based resources, podcasts, etc.
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
The Academic Liaison Librarian with particular responsibility for supporting Midwifery students within the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences developed (and continues to update and develop) the ‘Organization’. Students taking relevant courses, and teaching and library staff supporting them were added as users, which gave them access to the resource. The departmental administrator was also given rights to add announcements on general administrative matters; announcements are automatically emailed to all course users. Some students on other courses (e.g. distance-learning NCT students) also asked to be added.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
Student feedback was uniformly positive (see quotes below), and the creation of the ‘Organization’ incidentally proved of great benefit to (non-professional) staff based at the health site libraries, who were able to draw on (particularly) the subject-based resources when students presented at the library counter with enquiries. It is possible for the ‘owner’ of the organisation (in this case the librarian) to check usage statistics by student group as well as by area accessed. Regular checks show that the target groups are using the resource extensively.
“I have found the resources on Breo to be very useful. I have used them for an essay and an exam. I used the film section when studying shoulder dystocia, the video was very useful in understanding why McRoberts [a position used in difficult deliveries] works.”
“It is useful to know that the web sources have been verified, one less thing to worry about during an essay.”
“I have used the external links the most. Sometimes it is very difficult to find useful articles, the links have definitely helped and seem well organised.”
The academic librarian’s role is to support the teaching and learning activities of the university. I would encourage any other subject librarian in the same position to think of non-traditional ways in which they might support their students if it is difficult to set up information skills sessions via the usual methods of delivery, especially if their students are not often physically on campus. If they are not confident in their ability to use the VLE technology it is certainly worth asking the team supporting that environment for help in exploring the possibilities available to them.
screenshot of web page
Copyright: University of Bedfordshire 2009