The first Reskilling workshop, Melbourne April 19

This was the very first Re-skilling for Research workshop… and heralded the start of my full-time consulting career. Only I am still working full time in my university job and so was burning the midnight oil in the days and weeks leading up to it. I was worried that the participants would know more than me on some of the topics I covered… and some of them were very experienced librarians in the same field as I, so this was quite a possibility. I also worried that they would resent paying full fees for the workshop if it wasn’t a completely polished presentation… so I dealt with this in two ways:

  1. I asked ALIA if they could upgrade the quality of catering for this day (it is usually Arnotts biscuits for morning and afternoon tea and wraps for lunch). The standard of catering was excellent – hopefully that won over a few of them.
  2. I was upfront about them being guinea pigs in my workshop…

guinea pigs

So how did it go?

The overall satisfaction with the workshop was high – 3/4 of them ticked the ‘excellent’ box and the remaining 1/4 ticked ‘good’. Phew, no-one completely unhappy! This was a relief given my high anxiety in the days leading up to the workshop. As the trainer, it is always hard to read any negative comments, but my own reflections corresponded with participants comments:

  • Some sections took too long (earlier in the day) which meant other areas were rushed (“probably too much content for time”)
  • Not enough hands-on (a few mentioned this)
  • Some from the special libraries sector found the content less relevant
What did they find most useful?
  • Hearing what others are doing
  • Bibliometrics/supporting the publication process
  • Uses of iPad, personal effectiveness tips
  • Analysis of researchers needs
  • Managing stuff, ideas re EndNote Web, NVivo
  • Research data management
  • Some said “all of it!”

So pretty much all the topics we covered were useful to some of them, and of course some of these topics were also not useful:

  • Supporting the publication process (4 people mentioned this as not useful)
  • Research data management (big picture part)
  • Social media part (this also was the part that was rushed)
What else would they have liked to cover:
  • More hands on with tools like NVivo, Evernote, Zotero
  • Would have liked it to be more sector-specific (i.e. too much focussed on academic library) such as strategies for dealing with researchers in special libraries
  • Was hoping to discover more ‘recent’ collaborative tools
What else did they like?
  • The website containing the links to material I was discussing
  • The presenters screen showing next to their desk
  • The food!
What do I need to change?

I definitely need to make it more hands-on. It was the plan, but time got away from me.  Whilst I am limited by product licensing there are still many products that can be used for free (or via a a trial). I need to find a way to make it more relevant to those from non-academic sectors, and include literature searching.

I am grateful for the thoughtful feedback they all provided. If any participants from the workshop are reading this you are welcome to add more comments or suggestions on this page.

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