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Regional partnerships: Library staff on tour

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments Off on Regional partnerships: Library staff on tour

In March 2020, just before COVID turned the world upside down, Library staff delivered a workshop to students based in and around Albany. The event was delivered as a result of a strategic initiative exploring how the Library could best support regional students. The message received from those students, was loud and clear: they felt isolated and disconnected, they relished the opportunity to learn and interact, in-person, with their peers.

In March 2021, with support from the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) we hit the road once again, delivering support to students based in and around Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha and Port Hedland. Over three weeks, we offered a full-day program in each location hosted by local university centres, working in partnership with the centres and the WA Universities to promote the event to all students living in the area.

The program was divided into four individual workshops representing a typical assignment journey. The day began with a session on searching; progressed with strategies to enhance reading and note-making efficiency; suggested best practice approached for academic writing; and concluded with referencing and EndNote. Ample opportunities for questions and networking were provided, as well as lunch (because who can learn and make friends on an empty stomach?).

Whether a student lives in Albany or Port Hedland, they face similar challenges and many struggle to learn and connect, with such distance from their peers and their university. Even as COVID has increased and enhanced online learning opportunities, many attendees spoke of their struggles learning in isolation. Asked why they wanted to attend a face-to-face session, students suggested:

  • I learn best face-to-face and I wanted to meet new people. I thought I’d get more from interacting and removing the distractions at home – I was right! [Albany]
  • It really helped me immensely with the transition from a coronavirus gap year at TAFE, being a student registered for on-campus delivery and then going to online study. It made me feel better about being at University and calmed some of my nerves. [Bunbury]
  • I could ask questions when needed and get hands on help. Much prefer face-to-face. I would not have tuned in if this was online. [Geraldton]
  • I prefer face-to-face and enjoyed meeting other humans! [Karratha]

What many discovered is that they’re not as far from support as they may have initially thought. Some students in attendance were already well connected with their local university centres – hubs which provide both space and support to students based in the regions. For others, these events were their first connections with their local centre and many commented on the benefit of discovering a space where they could get the in-person support they’d been missing.

As presenters, it was an immense pleasure to participate in the formation of these local study communities. Just as enjoyable as the opportunity to see more of our amazing state.

 

Written by Claire Murphy, Manager, Learning Success.

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