On the other side – my own induction

Last week, I attended the Induction Day for new staff across the university. Having delivered so many library inductions over the last couple of months, it felt quite strange to be on the other side.

The day started with a networking activity. We were all given a matrix of descriptions, and spaces to fill in names. We had to find a person to match up with the description – for example, ‘A person with leather sofas in their place of work’, or ‘A person who has worked abroad’. I wasn’t so successful in this game of bingo, and I don’t know if I was networking, but it certainly led to some laughter while we dashed around, growing ever more competitive!

The programme was quite varied, and included introductions from many departments in the university, such as design and print, copyright, HR, and a talk from the Vice-Chancellor. A formal induction day like this was a really nice introduction to the university and the different departments you might not otherwise know exist. We also had a fascinating tour of the campus and it’s buildings (which was a lot more interesting than it sounds!).

It was very useful to be an inductee, on the other side, as I’ve taken away some points for my own teaching. I could feel my concentration levels dip in the afternoon, and this is something I will remember for my own sessions. Many courses have a full induction day like this, where the Library may be a short session in the timetable. It’s hard to get everything important across, but not overwhelm your audience with information.

My own preferred approach is to sign-post to where they can find information, but try to avoid just broadcasting so much that no-one takes anything in. The interactive elements of my induction helped with this, and finishing with a tour outside was a great way to wake everyone up (and the tour itself was great!).

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