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Tech Success: Library Orientation with QuizBean

April 10, 2018

It’s never too early to start thinking about fall semester! With fall comes new students, and with new students comes library orientation. For an easy, self-guided library orientation, Brandywine Vairo Library used iPad minis and the website QuizBean to highlight areas and services the library offers.

QuizBean is an easy to use web interface that allows users to create original quizzes. Instead of it being a static activity, we wanted students to move around the library space and explore the surroundings. To easily make this into an orientation, after the question is answered, we wrote a brief explanation of the service and directions on what area of the library to find next. This made the students seek an answer, then move to a new area of the library to answer the next question. They moved in a circuit, exploring the space with a team, or individually. 

For example, if the first question starts at the circulation desk, the question might be about something that happens at the circ desk. In this case, it’s a question about course reserves and their loan policy. Whether they get the answer right or wrong, a small explanation will pop up, explaining a two-hour lending policy, and then direct students to find the Media Commons, or the One Button Studio, or the Academic Centers – whichever is next on their path of discovery around Vairo Library. Each of these is a service highlighted in orientation, and also areas that students can easily find from signage around the library space. If they can’t find it, no problem, because they can ask a librarian! Besides learning about some of the services that the library offers, one objective of orientation is really to learn that there are people there who can help you. We experienced students who were afraid to get a wrong answer and would ask for help before they answered any question. No problem – they learned about the space and they learned that we’re there to help, the two main objectives of this orientation. 

One of the benefits of using this program on a small campus was the ability to interact with the majority of incoming freshmen. At Penn State Brandywine, freshman convocation events have been well attended. Attendees sign up for two of four information sessions. The library orientation is one of those available sessions, and as there is no seating capacity limit like there is with the other sessions held in classrooms, two-thirds of the incoming students end up at the library orientation. This is a great chance for them to explore the library, interact with their peers, and meet the library faculty and staff. They work in small groups to finish the ten question quiz, then as they hand their iPad mini back in, they were told to grab University Libraries highlighters, notepads, water bottles, and mini sharpies. Students left having learned at least a little about the library, and with a bag full of s.w.a.g. It was a good way to start the semester!

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