At Massey University Library we’ve been developing some online tutorials for students and as part of the project we are getting a few students to evaluate each one. We weren’t sure how easy it would be to interest students in taking part, but the lure of the $5 printing credit seems to have worked quite well. We put a notice up on the blackboard that we have outside the library, and the whiteboard we have up on level 2 where the information commons is. These proved really effective at recruiting students – even though it’s mid-semester break and there are fewer students around we got the 6 business students we needed in what was effectively less than a day. This was a way better result than we were expecting and gives us a bit of confidence that the evaluation process isn’t going to hold up the production of tutorials at all.
Whiteboard marketing also came into its own earlier in the week. I was scheduled to take a 5.15pm intro Endnote class on Wednesday night. There were no takers on Tuesday morning, but thanks to a message on the whiteboard I had 11 people at the class in the end.
At Massey University Library we’ve been gathering student feedback in two areas recently. We’ve run a focus group to gather comments about a knowledge management in research series run by one of my College Liaison colleagues – a series targeted at staff and students. (I was planning to take the focus group but circumstances meant someone else stepped in and took it for me). I think my colleague has got some good pointers as to how he can revamp the sessions.
Secondly we’ve been asking for volunteers to test some online tutorials that we are devising – these will be available to be loaded into the University’s Moodle offerings for specific papers. Students are asked to watch the tutorial that has been prepared (usually about 4-5 minutes), and then work through an exercise to see what they picked up from the tutorial. We record what they do, and their comments as they work through the exercise. Their reward is chocolate 🙂
Meanwhile Brian Mathews has also been gathering student comments on next-gen library catalogues.
No-one is claiming any of these qualitative research efforts are robust in terms of sampling etc but they all help in gaining student perspectives!