Continuing to Build Knowledge, Skills and Confidence For Second Year Undergraduates

Ceri Laing, Senior Assistant Librarian: Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University

Between revelation and celebration, why do second year students flounder in their studies, and how can libraries help them get back on track? An event aimed to find out!

The second year at university for undergraduates should build on the foundation of the first year, while preparing them for the third year. Yet, the second year can be ‘lost’ between the excitement of beginnings and the joy of conclusions. So how can libraries help ensure effective, progressive skills development and how should second year students be supported in their information literacy and study skills? This is what attendees to this Mercian Staff Development Group (MSDG) event (De Montfort University, 7th March 2018) were interested in getting to grips with, through a range of presentations and activities.

Acting as icebreaker, the first activity placed attendees into groups where they discussed and shared personal experiences of the support year 2 students needed, highlighting how their respective institutions responded. Areas of concern which emerged included transitioning from students’ first year, developing skills in journals and databases along with providing support for dissertation proposal.

Two presentations followed these opening discussions. Firstly, Ceri Laing (Senior Assistant Librarian, DMU) presented on the use of assessment in year 2 information literacy teaching, covering the nuts and bolts of delivery and the issues involved. Then Tracy Slawson (Senior Lecturer, DMU) presented on a Transitions project she had worked on, exploring how this influenced the study skills team’s efforts towards supporting year 2 students’ education.

After a delicious lunch, the real work of the day began for the delegates: creating an action plan to evolve their existing support for year 2 students. This activity opened with an exercise which mapped out, in detail, the current support attendee’s institutions provided, before moving onto the action planning.

A pause in the planning activity made space for the final presentation, delivered by Clare Langman (Information Specialist, Aston University), which covered the range of support for year 2 students provided by the library service, highlighting the challenges students faced, re-induction, building information literacy skills as well as considering how support can be enhanced. The presentation picked up many of the day’s threads, prompting a rewarding delegate discussion which included examples of institution specific delivery and personal experiences being shared.

Following a short break, action planning resumed. As the event concluded with closing remarks, delegates’ action plans were ready to be taken back to their home institutions. Through further discussion with their colleagues, it was hoped that the day’s experiences along with the action plans, would be of value in everyone’s continued evolution of supporting second year undergraduates.

Event delegates share their person experiencesAction planning beginsPutting the final touches to the action plans