The Big Conversation: Some ideas gathered from Library Services staff (March 2017)

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  • We anticipate continued development of Birmingham’s diverse and global educational portfolio including: ‘virtual courses’, an array of blended opportunities, part-time and full-time study, short courses and lifelong learning and leisure learning activities. A more ‘pick and mix’ approach to degree content and methods / timing of delivery could emerge from the marketization of HE.
  • The enjoyment of tackling an educational challenge should remain at the heart of a Birmingham education. Education should remain a social activity that fosters creativity, transferable skills and ambition for lifelong learning. Collaboration and inter-disciplinarity may become key to achieving this. Through any changes, we need to maintain a sense of student ‘belonging’ for their well-being, especially if delivery will becomes more virtual. The Green Heart will be mature by 2026 and provides many opportunities to support community building and wellbeing.
  • Closer links with regional, national and international employers will become more important as Longitudinal Educational Outcomes and the focus on graduate earnings intensifies. Valuable internships and work opportunities both on campus and around the globe could form a more prominent part of our offer.
  • We will need to continue simplifying the presentation of physical and online services and support to students so that our internal structures don’t get in the way.
  • As the diversity of both UG and PGT students increases, induction and skills development programme will need to become more tailored and responsive to individual needs.
  • Further opportunities for PGTs to form social connections during their brief time here could be achieved through provision of dedicated ‘social and study’ places.
  • Library Services data sets will be central to informing future learner analytics initiatives. JISC work in this area already shows that use of content and collections have greater impact on student’s attainment than the library as physical study space.
  • Resources and systems will need to be increasingly flexible and accessible so they can be tailored to different teaching and learning styles/modes of delivery. This will have implications for procurement and our relationships with suppliers of online services, including publishers.
  • Research-led teaching means that convenient access to high-quality research content will continue to be critical. The University’s support for the open access research agenda will also bring benefits for the Education agenda. There are opportunities to consider the benefits of open educational materials.
  • We anticipate professional services being required to support more co-curricular and inclusive activities which benefit specific groups, eg students with spLD, mature and international students.

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