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www.chuukaku.com

Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of all kinds of technology, research support in libraries, learning spaces (my Librarianship dissertation studied an Information Commons project), evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.



Ticking along nicely

April 23rd, 2013

It’s all been quiet for a couple of weeks, but suddenly everything seems to be making good progress again.

Yesterday I received the applicants for the De Montfort Frontrunner placement who’s coming to help me gather data on use of DMU learning spaces on campus, starting next academic year. We’re going to shortlist for the post on Monday, but having had a brief flick through the applications I’m pretty happy with the state of the field so far. I was super excited when the applications landed in my inbox, much to the amusement of my team!

I’m also making some headway with organising a second focus group for our investigation into communication with PhD students. As we want to reach out to students from faculties that our first focus group didn’t cover, it’s allowing us to be a bit more targeted in recruitment, so hopefully that will pay off in the response rates and we’ll get a nice solid number.

Things should move pretty quickly on both projects from here. I’ll post back with updates as more happens.


PhD communications project Update

March 14th, 2013

Last week we successfully completed our first focus group for our project looking at how Library and Learning Services communicates with PhD researchers.

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We have some great data to look at, including the pictured PhD timeline, which was jointly created by the participants in the group.

Although it was clear from the feedback from a single group that the PhD experience diverged quite significantly according to factors such as discipline and supervisor, we’re keen to runĀ  a second group. This would allow us to establish to what extent our local processes give students a particular character of experience, and hopefully extend our participant pool to all four of the facilities.

We’re also planning to include those who were unable to make face to face groups (including distance and international students) with a questionnaire based on the outcomes from the groups.

The approaching Easter holidays mark a good point to start analysis and plan next stages, so I’ll report further then.


Project Update

February 21st, 2013

About a month and a half into the new calendar year, and I’m definitely making better progress on my project work than during the autumn term.

The first big thing is that I’ve put together a proposal for a student Frontrunner to gather data on use of learning spaces around our campus. Frontrunners is a DMU employability initiative which recruits students to work on projects around the university (see the Frontrunners site). Fingers crossed that I’ll get the role approved: feedback on the application has been good so far. Either way, putting together the proposal has given me a much better overview of how the project will work, and putting together the role description and outline of skills which the student would learn was an interesting exercise, digging up some of my recruitment and selection skills from my old Occupational Psychology degree.

Our Library and Learning Services project on communication with PhD students is also moving along nicely: the focus groups are due to run over the next two weeks. I’m going to act as the notetaker for the first group, so I’ll get to see a colleague in the facilitator role. I’ve only ever acted as the facilitator before, so will be interesting to have a more detached perspective on the group. I’m sure I’ll be scribbling lots of notes! Next month we’re planning to go on some visits to other universities and see what we can learn from colleagues in the sector too.

This term has definitely seen me flip round from focusing on teaching, delivering a lot of sessions for the first time, to focusing on project work. However, the teaching hasn’t reduced much – I’ve just got a better portfolio of knowledge and resources to draw upon, and I’m delivering more familiar materials. It’s good to feel that everything’s starting to get a little bit easier, though!