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Libraries Supporting Education at Cambridge

Libraries supporting online learning

Building Community: sharing good practice to support student learning

Read more about Student Experience which informs our practice

Top tip: sharing stories helps to build community

Why not try a photograph competition and use padlet, for example, as a gallery for voting on favourite photos. Perhaps a theme like 'most creative study space'. 

Case Studies

Creating community and building relationship is important for the student experience in the online environment. An important question is 'what is community?' What does this mean to you? In your context?

JISC have a useful website which includes discussion about planning for developing community amongst students. Interesting research article about online engagement through the year; "A balancing act: a window into online student engagement experiences"

Favourite case studies in discussions

  • Shut up and Write session combined with offering virtual Library Backgrounds for Teams or Zoom sessions (Wolfson/Geography)​

  • Philosotea – virtual tea and chat (ask 2nd/3rd years to join with freshers) (Philosophy)​

  • Facebook Virtual Coffee Mornings (Queens’)​

  • Simple, good communications. Be prompt with your email comms (not everyone is); Help them find a way to know that you (a person - whether online or face-to-face) can help them so that they find it easy to identify with you....and will come back

  • Engage them with fun things. eg can you replicate the social media presence of the UL's special collections twitter feed using gifmaker.org? Alternatively use avatars for your staff - see avataar.com. 

  • Time and space for 1-2-1 library intros? Ask Paul Cooke (Seeley) or Laura Moss (History of Art) for more tips on making the most of these​

  • Create a Spotify playlist (Engineering)​

  • Online jigsaws (Engineering)​

  • Interactive Whiteboards - eg Miro in Teams or padlet. Try the equivalent of the MMLL whiteboard idea for engaging students with a starter question...... 'what's the word for 'butterfly' in all the languages taught in the Faculty' 

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