Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps

20 Oct

This’ll probably be my last blog post for a while – I just wanted to share the results from a bit of an experiment to try and increase student engagement with library induction (and market the library at the same time).

All new students go through quite a lengthy induction process in the first three weeks at the University. The library is slotted into that – how much time we get with the students varies between departments – and so it’s a good opportunity for us to make contact, promote our services, and try and embed ourselves in the academic culture, but also tricky because the students are overloaded with information as it is.

I wanted to give each of my departments an interactive map with all the library info relevant to them specifically – the idea being that it’s easier to navigate an actual map of the library than it is to just search for stuff on the library website. Because each department would have a bespoke map it would mean the students had all the info they needed in one place, and because I created the maps in Prezi they could also be used as a presentation tool (as well as a stand-alone web object, later; I give students the URL of the Prezi itself and tell them not to worry about writing down any of the other URLs it contains).

I created a generic map of the library with all the information which wasn’t department specific, then copied that for each of my two departments and doctored it accordingly. I also made it available to my colleagues in Academic Liaison here at York, and a few of them created their own subject-specific versions too.

The upshot of all this is, it really seems to have worked! Both me and my colleagues have reported that students noticeably perk up when the Prezi starts zooming about (I even had some gasps from one of my groups…) and seem more engaged than they had in previous years when PowerPoint was used. I don’t have anything to compare it to as it’s my first Induction as a subject librarian, but my colleagues seem to think the student response is definitely better. What’s also really good is that it’s been great PR for the library – the academics all seem really impressed by it. One of my departments have asked me to run a session to teach them, the staff, on how to use Prezi, and it’s made the library look innovative and more of an intellectual partner to the academic departments. I’m collecting a quote-book of all the comments we’re getting (for example, a lecturer emailed one of my colleagues and said “[the Prezi] went down very well, and generated a much greater response from the students than in previous years – it’s a great presentation format, so do pass on that feedback”), and I might submit a proposal for LILAC all about this whole thing as I’d really recommend other libraries using Prezi in this way.

Anyhow, here is the presentation, based on a top-down outline of the library buildings created for my by my colleague Matthew Herring:

It is designed to either be navigated through in the normal way, or to be a proper ‘interactive map’ with clickable hotspots. Anything that flashes green when you hover over it can be clicked on and zoomed-in on for more info – this also gives you the option of a student-led session where you ask them where they want to go, rather than leading them around. I’m planning on doing this with the Postgrads (many of whom will already know the library fairly well) but I must admit I chickened out of doing it with the Undergrads… I wanted it to be interactive but I didn’t think fresh-out-of-school students would know enough about academic libraries to want to lead the session.

To achieve the hotspots I used a lot of hidden frames, one of the most useful features Prezi has. Here’s what the canvas looks like in edit view – check out a new feature of Prezi, along the bottom: a preview screen showing you each stage of your navigation path:

Prezi screengrab

Click to view larger original on Flickr

And here’s a closer view without the path showing, so you can better see how the hidden frames sit within the canvas:

prezi screengrab number 2

Click to view larger original on Flickr

Finally, here’s an infographic I created about the library, which you get to when you walk in through the ‘door’ of the library map. The idea is to get across the scale of the library operation in one screen, without having to bore them with lots of stats throughout the presentation.

Big library infographic

Click to view this full-size on Flickr

So overall, this approach worked well for everyone. For my other subject (Theatre, Film and Television) I’m planning to use an expanded Prezi for teaching purposes too. I don’t think the scope of this is limited to Academic Libraries, either; you could easily embed a virtual Prezi map on a public library website, to help people use it better, too. If you’re wondering about creating your own, here’s a link to the Prezi guide.

Incidentally, one other  thing I did was let the students leave early from my 45 minute sessions. At this stage of the student lifecycle they are getting too much thrown at them for the full 45 minutes to be valuable – I wanted to get the key info across and leave it at that, rather than get them so bogged down in detail that they forget all of it or just switch off. When I see them again later in the term they’ll hopefully be in a better position to go in-depth into the services and resources the library offers.

- thewikiman

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  • Ned Potter October 20, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Anyhow, I blogged about it here: Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps

  • Buffy Hamilton October 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    RT @janholmquist: Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps « by @theREALwikiman

  • Nicky Ransom (@nckyrnsm) October 20, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Love the look of this Prezi for student inductions from @theREALwikiman – Could be useful way of promoting the OPAC?

  • Laura Moss (@lmossinfo) October 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Brilliant induction from @therealwikiman –, and I love comparing fines, ILL charges and no. of books allowed etc

  • Helen Bader (@helbader) October 20, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Am definitely going to spend some time learning how to use Prezi! Loads of ideas thanks to this from @theREALwikiman

  • @PaulTov October 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Hey Ned, fantastic stuff, this. I have learned all I know about Prezi from you! Anyway, I think the key to it working so well is the age-old trick that radio and TV stations have used for ever – “coming up next….” ie, students can see slides to come later and can get interested in them in advance – an impossibility with PowerPoint. It works very well for “digital” learners who like structure to their information (like me) – wonder how well it works for other types of learners? Have you ever had anyone say they just can’t take in any information with Prezi? Anyway, finding it very interesting as I’m thinking about applying for this kind of AL role in the near future! *researches*

  • thewikiman October 20, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Well first off I’d totally reccomend Academic Liaison as a line of library work, it’s brilliant…

    I’ve not had that specifically, no – all the feedback I’ve had on Prezi has been positive, but that’s not to say it suits everyone. It may be that the people who’ve not found it helpful just haven’t mentioned it to me. I do know that my Dad prefered this particular Prezi not on full-screen so it wasn’t quite so in-your-face – not sure if that means anything!

    The other thing to say is that Prezi isn’t great from an accessibility point of view, so I offer all the same information by alternative means for the students if they require it.

  • Take a look at some clever ideas from @theREALwikiman: Using Prezi & infographics in student orientation sessions:

  • R. Welzel (@rusawe) October 20, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Good ideas to introduce new students: Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps via @theREALwikiman

  • Lorna (@LFairie) October 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    This is great! RT @theREALwikiman Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps

  • Richard Hawkins October 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM


    Another great Prezi – love the idea of a version for a public library highlighting all the great resources and services on offer.

    Anyone want to do it?

  • CILIP October 21, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps by @theREALwikiman #HigherEd #Inductions

  • thewikiman October 21, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Well you’d need one person per library, because they work by being bespoke…

  • Richard Hawkins October 21, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Yes of course :)

  • Ned Potter October 21, 2011 at 11:15 AM A post on increasing student engagement through interactive library maps. #prezi

  • Simon Bains October 21, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    RT @theREALwikiman: Increasing student engagement through interactive library maps. #prezi

  • Jill October 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Wow! A lot of work went into creating that. What an excellent idea.

    I hope you don’t think I’m being persnickety, but I know how hard it is to proofread such a large “document.” Where the hours are listed near the entrance, is the word supposed to be “openong?”

  • thewikiman October 21, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Haha, yes that is wrong – I noticed it during my 2nd induction presentation and left it in because it was an easy point for laughter… But I’ll change it now it’s in its stand-alone web-doc phase, thanks for reminding me!

  • charmian October 24, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    This looks really good, I presume it is just used for library orientation, do you have any tips for the information literacy sessions, getting the students to use journals, subject databases etc, would you use Prezi for that ?

  • thewikiman October 24, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    I’m actually just making that decision now, for a session tomorrow…

    I think it would certainly be possible to use Prezi for teaching, yes – I’ve already created the workbooks (which I’ll be using Issuu to present to them online for one of my subjects, and giving out paper copies for the other) so I’m just decided on whether to use Slides or Prezi to move the teaching along. I think, for various complicated reasons to do with the differences in the induction proceess between my two subjects, I will be using Prezi for teaching in one, and slides in the other.

  • Ned Potter October 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Now updated with online workbook (in the comments section): Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps

  • Mylee Joseph October 26, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps – from @theREALwikiman

  • thewikiman October 26, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    In the end I did indeed use Prezi for one subject and slides for the other, by the way. I adapated the Prezi and put some instructions into it, and then paired it with this online workbook – I demonstrated certain resources and there were excercises for the students to do too:

  • Bobbi Newman October 26, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps « thewikiman

  • Caitlin Cahill (@CCahillMN) October 26, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Prezi as interactive map of the library – cool use of prezi and engaging way to introduce library. HT @librarianbyday

  • Alison Hamilton (@AliMPali) October 26, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    neat idea #yam RT @librarianbyday Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps « thewikiman

  • Issuu – online publication software | October 31, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    [...] it workbooks created in Issuu – his blog post on both (with links to Prezi and Issuu) is here:  Well worth a [...]

  • Judy O'Connell November 3, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    A good read: Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps

  • Maryann James-Daley November 3, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    love prezi. love seeing it in action! RT @heyjudeonline: Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps

  • [...] around with and blogged and presented about have come in handy. I tweet for the library, create Prezis for the library, use Issuu for the library, edit and create video for the library, teach students [...]

  • Prezi Interactive Maps Version 2 « thewikiman November 5, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    […] can read the post – Student Induction, Libraries, Prezi, and Interactive Maps – here; it also contains an embedded Prezi map, with which to compare the new version I’ve created […]

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