By Katie Butler (Digital Engagement Tutor, Ashford College)
Jisc’s e-books for further education are a collection of curriculum-mapped titles covering various subject areas and qualifications. This collection gives unlimited and inclusive access to colleges, saving us time and money. However, not having a physical book to provide means we need to give our learners a little encouragement when it comes to utilising what is at their fingertips.
Putting posters up around the college is the best first step, especially in workshop environments where learners are constantly in and out. Including QR codes or short URL’s on posters give quick and easy access to e-books. You could also include these on any physical stock you use, such as bookmarks. Jisc have produced poster templates and textbook stickers as an opportunity to signpost the availability of e-books.
Most of our learners are avid social media users, and generation Z usually understand technology well. So, we share e-books content on Twitter and Instagram to reach more users and connect with other learning resource centre’s.
One barrier for users can be taking the time to search for books on a new platform. To overcome that hurdle, we created a bespoke e-bookshelf via Microsoft SharePoint using book covers and titles to visually engage users, like in a library. Having direct links means less clicks, giving learners faster access to e-books.
Ensuring staff get the support and training to use and promote the use of e-books is essential. We use email to share new titles or books that are relevant right now, so they have a continuous reminder of the service. As a result, our teaching staff have become engaged and proactive in requesting new titles or subjects.
Our learners are most important; as a college, we exist to educate and nurture them. We deliver inductions and group sessions on accessing e-books and how to use the platform. After inductions we continue user engagement with posters. Once you break down the users’ barriers, they are more likely to utilise the tools available to them. These sessions are offered in physical and virtual environments to suit everyone, and we operate refresher sessions throughout the year.
Teachers share key titles during lessons to push learners towards the platform. We also send out links to relevant e-books during and after lessons. Then, in response to any queries, we often create how-to videos. We find this more engaging for learners; they respond well to visual aids rather than a leaflet or something to read. It’s quicker for users to watch a video than try and figure it out themselves, or they may even give up.
In 2020 we attended Jisc’s Digifest event and delivered a talk about how we promote e-books in our college. We believe spreading the word about how we engage people with e-books will, in turn, support other colleges. We also assisted Jisc’s selection of titles for the 2021 release of e-books for further education, which we are proud to have helped.
Jisc have been a massive support in our e-book promotion. They provided a representative who we get regular advice and updates from, as well as plenty of resources and assets. Explore Jisc’s e-books for further education here.
Published: 3 September 2021