Just for Me Engagement

Lyn Armstrong, Don Shearman, Carmel Coady, Harkirat Dhindsa, John Nicholls, Jim Pettigrew


The Mathematics Education Support Hub (MESH) at UWS is a unit within the learning and teaching portfolio with a remit to provide mathematical and statistical help to all students within the university. One method of enabling this support has been a mathematics library roving program, introduced in 2013 to complement literacy support which was already operating in the library.

The program aims to provide “just in time” support for students experiencing difficulty with the mathematical and statistical components of their subjects in a non-confrontational environment. A secondary aim is to increase student confidence in their own mathematical abilities.

The MESH library roving program began in the Autumn session 2013 and has continued during Spring 2013 and Autumn 2014. Support is provided by MESH staff who ‘rove’ the various campus libraries for two hour sessions at well-advertised times throughout the teaching and study vacation periods of the semester. These library rovers assist individual students and groups by encouraging students to engage with the mathematical and statistical content of their subject through a process of guided discovery of the material as well as direct responses to enquiries. The time taken for such interventions range from a few minutes to approximately half an hour, with students with problems requiring longer discussion usually referred back to subject teaching teams for further clarification.
Students availing themselves of the service range from first year to post graduate with problems coming from subjects as diverse as business, finance, biomechanics, law and engineering as well as mathematics and statistics subjects.

Each library consultation is recorded on an electronic form and features of the consultation are noted. The data collected includes the campus, number of students in a group, student year of study, length of time spent with the group, unit or discipline area in which assistance is provided as well as if a group or student has been seen previously. At the end of 2013 a research project conducted in conjunction with the academic literacy library roving program collected survey responses from students, library staff and rovers. Analysis of this data along with surveys of students, library staff and rovers will show the patterns of use and responses of various stakeholders to the program.

The data collected for this project are still being processed and it is anticipated features of the analysis will be presented. It is envisaged that models of student behaviour gleaned from this analysis will form the basis of the results. The nature of requests from students and how these are dealt with by the rovers will also be presented. Responses from student, librarian and rover surveys will also provide an indication of student engagement with the service.

The intention of this project is to use the results to fine tune the impact and delivery of the library roving program.

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