That same old induction problem (after the fact)

OK, so those of you who read my post earlier today, here’s how the new hands-on and longer session style went down.


  • There were inevitable technical problems at the start of the session – students not having sourced or brought with them the passwords required to access our portal. Also some browser issues.
  • My lovely powerpoint session froze for no good reason right at the start.
  • The Lab we were presenting in had just been refurbished and it took us a while to work out where the dimmers were and how to up the mic volume.
  • Some of the databases behaved slower than usual – THEY KNEW!
  • We didn’t have hands-on for all databases due to group password and simultaneous user ssues .
  • A lot of the students inevitably strayed into Facebook, email and other sites during the session.
  • The students were obviously tired from having being talked at alot already today.
  • Overall, it didn’t feel as professional and seamless as I’d have liked.


  • We took the students straight into our portal – none of that ‘you can go in yourselves after the session’ malarkey.
  • We gave them much more info than usual about our main databases.
  • They asked a lot of relevant questions.
  • They all came back after the coffee break!
  • We felt they understood our main messages about the library service focusing on databases, business information and training and teaching rather than traditional aspects.
  • The lab was a comfortable location for the audience and if they got bored they could get on with their own thing (!)
  • Most of them chose to join the optional tour after the session.
  • It was definitely an interactive experience.
  • The debrief conversations brought us closer to the IT team!


So all in all, not too bad.  Hands-on is definitely more exhausting for the presenter, but its ticking lots of learning boxes that a straight lecture just doesn’t. I’ve got some clear ideas about how it can be improved for the next 3 streams who have the same sessions with us (most importantly logging on to the portal in advance) and we won’t be beset by new room issues next time around, so the only way is up!



4 thoughts on “That same old induction problem (after the fact)

  1. Jo Webb says:

    Just a though. Rather than ‘Business databases’ why not ‘Business research sources’ as a title? I tend to think that ‘databases’ can be a too librarian-centric term.

    Pleased to hear that interactivity is working: always my preference for induction. I also suspect with Business students it’s especially effective as the sources sell themselves when they are used by anyone with some interest and experience. (I still remember the first year accounting student who had seemed thoroughly bored with induction raving about fame when she did her first ever search…)


    1. libreaction says:

      They seemed to get on with ‘databases’ OK, but I agree that non-library terminology is crucial.
      I do feel my students should rave more given the extensive databases we have at Judge, but it seems the more you provide the more they expect.


  2. Juanita says:

    So maybe you need to start with students talking. How about breakout groups with what they know about bus info and databases, what they’d like to know to get started? Could you have a “pop quiz” to get them involved in some voting etc?

    And perhaps induction week isn’t the place for d-base induction? To my mind introduced as part of project work towards assignment might result in more motivation.

    Tricky balancing act I know but sounds like you’ve got a good starting point here.


    1. libreaction says:

      After arguing far more time with this year’s students at the teaching committee, which I won, I was told that I had to use it all up all in induction week – not what I had in mind! Still I have further database sessions planned later this term around project work: on market research resources and techniques alongside a faculty member. And yes, of course dbase sessions are always more effective when they need to use them. I’ve also got teaching hours on plagiarism and referencing so in total more contact time with MBAs than I’ve ever had either here or at Oxford. Interesting ideas around breakout and discussion. The voting I’m reserving for the plagiarism session.


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