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Conferences Internships Sharing practice

ALN Conference 2021: Review & Development of PASS at the University of Hull

Conor Start

This article is written by Conor Start, Skills Intern. In his debut article for the University Library Blog, he reflects on his recent experience presenting at the Academic Libraries North (ALN) Conference 2021.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with PASS (Peer-Assisted Study Sessions), it is an internationally recognised peer learning scheme that was created by Deanna Martin at the University of Missouri-Kansas, in the 1970s. PASS is student lead and focused on collaborative learning through students facilitating learning for other students. Students definitely do not teach. 

The main initial role of my internship was to conduct research into how universities around the UK have implemented PASS and recognise how we could learn from and adapt their approach to PASS. We created a survey and conducted interviews with other institutions to gain an understanding of how successful PASS schemes had been established. The data we collected was due to the engagement and willingness of other universities to share their experiences of PASS and is a testament to the spirit and generosity of the peer learning community. The qualitative and quantitative data collected from the survey and interviews became the foundation of a report that we produced and sent back to the peer learning community. Chris (University Librarian) suggested the report could be adapted into a presentation that could be used as a potential resource that outlined our findings. 

When I received the initial email from the ALN Conference 2021: Call for papers, I thought to myself that it would be a good opportunity as a developmental experience for me to present our PASS research. Throughout my internship, I have always applied myself and signed up for new opportunities, to learn and expand my skills. The Skills Team were thinking amongst themselves about the conference and what topic they could focus a presentation around. Then Sara from the team raised the possibility of me and Chris presenting our findings at the conference and I agreed. During that same day, Chris and I had a meeting and discussed presenting our findings at the conference as a 25-minute short paper and asked if I would be willing to present alongside him? Without hesitation, I said,

‘I would be happy to present.’

However, as soon as our meeting had finished I thought to myself:

‘you’re actually going to be presenting at a conference, you’ve never presented at a conference and the thought of public speaking has always filled you with dread!’

Chris and I had previously presented all the key findings of our report to the Skills Team a couple of months prior to the conference and we got some good feedback from the team. So we had the PowerPoint created, check. We had already presented our findings, so no need for a mock run through.  Chris would open the presentation and discuss the reasoning behind our research whilst giving an explanation of PASS, I would then talk through our findings. Finally, Chris would comment on the development of PASS after we had completed the research and conclude. We submitted our application with a 200 word abstract alongside a biography for us both. Once our place at the conference was confirmed all that was left to do was make sure we could access our session on Microsoft Teams and wait for the day of the conference.  

As the conference was over two days, Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th September, I was unable to attend the first day as I was graduating from the University of Hull as part of the class of 2020. For the second day, I was able to attend and I can happily say the conference was a joy. Presenting before us at 12:30 in the same parallel session was Sue Myer from Teesside University. Similar to us, Sue was presenting on peer support and had a section dedicated to PASS. During our interviews, we talked with Teesside University, so already has some insight into how they operated their peer learning schemes.  I can’t lie, I was a little apprehensive about presenting my section. If you could not tell by now I believe that public speaking is not my forte, but once I started speaking following Chris’ introduction I got into the flow of presenting. One tip Chris gave me was: treat it as a prolonged conversation with friends rather than presenting to a large group of people. With this mindset, I was able to speak throughout my section without any stumbles or problems (not that I was aware of, anyhow). Once I had completed my section I handed back to Chris to conclude our presentation, at which point I was able to relax a little and prepare for any questions at the end. We did not, in the end, have any questions, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you want to frame it: good because we have explained everything perfectly, or bad because we were the last presentation and people wanted to get it over with. I prefer the former!

To say it was my first time attending a conference, let alone talking at a conference, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. Thanks to Chris and everyone in the Library I have been exposed to a new experience I would never have had the chance to do previous to my internship.

Chris Awre

Chris Awre, University Librarian
Conor presented very well, making each of his points succinctly and clearly, and ensuring that he covered a lot of information within the timeframe perfectly. 

Thank you Conor, it was good to work on this with you!

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General Internships

Introducing John Weightman

My Internship Adventure Begins

John Weightman

My adventure as an Intern first began with an e-mail from the Hull University Careers team. They were offering a whole range of interesting Internship opportunities for the university. After a difficult start to post-university life due to the COVID pandemic, when job opportunities were limited, I hoped to work in the media possibly as a writer or editor and so began writing my own blog about Music John’s Music Hub. I also worked a few part-time jobs such as writing for a music magazine MXDWN UK. This then led me to think, well I really enjoy writing and with my BA History degree I’ve also showcased my writing qualities. Therefore, I want to focus on an Internship that will give me knowledge in new areas, maybe learn some HTML, and also expand upon my writing abilities. That’s when I saw an internship with the Library Skills Team, where I would support the team in the writing and implementation of the Digital Skills course. Here was an opportunity to further showcase my writing ability and really get my career running and expand into new areas. 

The Lord Of The Rings Reaction GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
I’m going on an adventure!

Then I got to work, updated my CV, and wrote my covering letter and I waited a few days, maybe a couple of weeks I don’t recall exactly, and I got an e-mail from Lee Fallin asking me for an interview. The interview with Lee was very pleasant and relaxed he gave me the chance to ask him a few questions whilst he told me all about the internship and ended with him confirming I had the job. Now I just had to wait with bated breath for my internship to begin.

You may wonder how other than my writing skills I can help people learn about digital skills, well let me tell you. As a blogger who runs their own website I have experience in how media is implemented in the digital world as well as how to keep my information safe online. I also learned many digital skills during my time as a university student where I improved my proficiency in Microsoft office and used many digital tools to aid in my study. As a former student, I also feel I would know how best to adapt the information we are delivering to a student audience. I’ve always had an interest in computers and everything digital and since I was about 4 years old, I was already able to use a computer (although mainly for games).

The first day finally arrived after signing all the necessary documents a few days before, as with most people on starting a new job I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. I was also joined by 3 other interns with various different responsibilities for the library or Skills Team, we then got to meet some of the staff including Lee my intern supervisor. The first week mainly consisted of basic training and meetings with all the other staff members as well as going through all the health and safety details. 

I’m now into my second week and have already written a few small sections of the Digital Skills course as well as writing this, my first blog post for the University. This will be the first of several blog entries where I will write about various study skills mainly focused on digital skills.

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Internships

Introducing: Joanna (Jo) Rawnsley

Starting work as an intern with the Skills Team

An interview with oneself

“We’d like to offer you the internship position.”

Well, I wasn’t expecting that… 

Jo Rawnsley

via GIPHY

Last year I graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and Film Studies, afterwards, I went straight on to a masters to study English and Creative Writing. I am currently working on my dissertation, a poetry portfolio. I’m a Poet, wouldn’t you know it… Yes, with a capital P as I’ve had a few poems published in online journals, however, this portfolio is going to be my first complete collection. 

The main reasons I decided to do my degrees are the same for wanting to do this internship:

  • It’s a chance to let my creativity flow
  • To further pursue my passion for writing 
  • To gain more experience as a writer

“But Jo,” I hear you say. “What will your internship include?”

Ok, ok I’ll tell you…

I’m working as part of the Skills Team, in the library to develop new Skills Guides for students. Living in the digital age the way we work, and how we’re assessed is ever-evolving. We need new guides to help students working on Public Communication assessments, such as academic blogs, magazine articles, letters to the editor, and author wikis. My job is to research such assessments, compile the information and transform it into accessible and readable advice for all. 

via GIPHY

“Didn’t you say you write poetry, how is that going to help you?”

Good question and I can see why you’d think a poet may not have the expertise to write these guides, but I don’t only write poetry. Throughout my four years of study, I’ve put my hand to a vast array of forms. Just because it says “Creative” in my degree title doesn’t mean I got away from academic writing. On the contrary. I’ve written many academic essays, critiques, reflective journals, and commentaries, as well as some reviews here and there. In the second year of my undergraduate degree, I wrote a 5000-word project, in film studies, discussing whether makeover television programmes create a false sense of beauty compared to that we see in beauty vlogs. And, no I didn’t include any poetry. 

The academic side of my degrees provided me with researching and critical thinking techniques, whereas the creative side gave me the space to let my creativity shine and ideas flow. Both sides provided me with the techniques I need to develop content for the Skills Guides being created. 

“That’s great! Last question; after these 12 weeks, what then?” 

Once the project is complete, I will be able to state that I have expertise in areas such as copywriting and public communications. This will greatly increase my chances of completing my goals of working in social media and/or public relations. 

“Thank you for answering these questions and good luck!”

Thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure. 

via GIPHY

Categories
Internships

Introducing: David Moore

Travelling through the up and downs of my journey as an intern

Where to begin …….

David Moore

It all started last year at the end of my degree finishing Entertainment and Games Design in which I gained a 2:2. This is where I learnt my creative flare and learnt to level up my skills.  Then my journey hit a roadblock where I could not expand my horizon and lost my motivation and due to the lockdown did not know which way to turn.

Looking beyond the horizon I looked at LinkedIn for connections and contacts regarding opportunities and Udemy to make sure my skills with other tools did not fade and learnt new skills.  One day whilst looking through LinkedIn I saw an opportunity called Humberside Internship Programme (HIP).  After a few weeks and many conversations, I received an email inviting me on an internship.  I felt in disbelief and delighted to have been invited.

So that journey pressed forward…

So, first week arrives and I am introduced to the Skills Team and the project I would be working on. This was exciting but nervous.  Throughout the talks I felt that my head was going to explode with the information, websites and steps to take forward.  With the help of Lee and the other members of staff and interns it showed me a guiding light into the unknown and this has been a good learning curve for me.

In this internship my title is Visual Design Intern.  My focus is to look at the skills guide and create a more welcoming and easier experience to this website for the user.  This includes: 

  • Opportunities to add rich media (animations, quizzes, videos and so on)
  • Supporting the others to enhance their work with media

At my journeys end…

I would have enhanced the skill guide with rich media and gained experience in the working environment and working within a team. This experience would give me confidence to move on to the next adventure and hopefully many more experiences to come.

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General Internships

Introducing: Codey McShane

The start of my virtual internship experience

In the beginning…

Last week, I began an internship working with the Library at the University of Hull, with a focus on Customer Engagement and Communications. The role is entirely based online, and while there is the option to come into the library, it’s not as viable now that I am living back in London after finishing my degree. I studied Computer Science and having been told all that, you might have some of the following questions by now.

  • Who are you, mysterious blog writer?!
  • What is Customer Engagement, and why should I care about it?
  • How can you do internship from home? Who are you making the coffee for?
  • What does Computer Science have to do with customers? Get back to fixing printers!

(It is possible that you did not actually have any of these questions, but for the purpose of the blog, it’s important that you know these things so that in several weeks when I tell you about the amazing progress I’ve made, it’ll all make sense. So, bear with me!)

Wow, those are some great questions! Let me explain a little…

Unmasking the mysterious blog writer 

Codey McShane

Hi there! My name’s Codey. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been at Hull University since 2017. I like reading (fantasy novels mostly), writing (this blog post), martial arts, and dogs. I’ve got red hair, and I’ve got a rare birthmark on the entirety of my right arm. I wear glasses and my hearing isn’t great. I know, I know, I’ve made myself sound way too cool, please forgive me.

Customer Engagement, what is it good for? 

This is a subject we’ll get into a lot more in-depth in my next blog post, where I will have done a lot more work on the subject. For now, I can at least give you the same surface detail that I have. Customer Engagement is all about actively building, supporting, and managing relationships with customers. I’ll explain more about what that means to me and my role specifically next time.

An internship, from the comfort of my own home?

It’s interesting. I’ve spent the last year of my academic study working from home, so you would think I’d be used to it by now. But it still felt weird to be starting a job in my bedroom. However, it’s been very easy to settle in. There’s been so much support and being a part of a group of other interns helps a lot. Over the last week couple of weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time just meeting people and learning about what they do, and with daily meetings over the camera, I really do feel like I’m a part of a team of people, instead of just working alone.

Computer Science with a focus on the customer? You’re mad!

Despite being a Computer Science graduate, I’ve found during my volunteering that one of the things I enjoy most is the opportunity to help people and problem solve. Personally, I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy a job that doesn’t involve some essence of customer service. This internship offers me a great opportunity to look at a professional environment from the perspective of the customer, while also getting some great experience working in a professional environment.

So! Hopefully, that gives you a little bit of an introduction as to who I am and what I’m doing, and I can’t wait to tell you more in my next blog about what I’ve been up to. See you next time!

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Internships

Library Internships

The University Library is happy to be hosting four internships, providing four of our recent graduates with paid work experience. Our interns all started 23rd August and will be working with us for 12 weeks. They will be delivering defined projects, and we look forward to the energy and enthusiasm they will bring.

You can find out more about our new interns via our new University Library Blog over this week. Each of our interns have written an article to introduce themselves. Here is the publication schedule:

Tuesday: Codey McShane – Customer Engagement & Communications Intern 

Wednesday: David Moore – Visual Design Intern

Thursday: Jo Rawnsley – SkillsGuide Intern

Friday: John Weightman – DigiSkills Intern