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Technological University Dublin Library (DIT), Aungier Street are using the online marketing tool MailChimp to engage first year undergraduates, enhance the first year experience and support their transition into third level education. We have developed a digital library information pack called Library Learning, aimed at first-year undergraduates to lend support as they enter their first year within DIT. The idea of the pack is to lend timely, tailored and subject oriented mailouts to students to assist their successful transition into first year. The pack is also intended as a support to the face-to-face Information and Digital Literacy sessions delivered to students by library staff and allows the opportunity for asynchronous learning. Library Learning consists of 10 scheduled, tailored and branded mailouts sent throughout the first academic year. (See fig 1.) Mailouts are authored by library staff in collaboration with academic staff, the academic calendar, and course content. Student supports such as the Academic Writing Centre are also promoted. Mailout content introduces students to Library services and resources and includes interactive content such as Library videos and guides. It is now in its second year of a pilot. The academic year 2015/16 included two courses. This has grown to now include six undergraduate courses for 2016/2017, five of which are from the College of Business:
• BSc in Marketing
• BSc in Accounting & Finance
• BSc in Economics & Finance
• BSc in Human Resource Management
• Higher Certificate in Business Studies
MailChimp allows us to gather data on the level of individual engagement with each mailout. We can then pass this information on to the lecturers. We are focusing on students who show low levels of engagement. The lecturer is then alerted to the potential need for extra support for students who may not be performing as well as they should in course assignments or exams. Data shows that engagement rates start high but they drop off as the year progresses.
Library Learning came about as DIT looked at the overall first-year experience. The project was awarded funding from the Technological University for Dublin (TU4D) under the theme, ‘Re-imagining the Curriculum: Consolidating the First Year Experience’. Student induction is moving from a once off event to a yearlong process and experience. Library Learning allows us to deliver information to the students throughout the academic year in a format that meets their needs at their point of need. The mailouts allow us to promote our on and off-campus support services and places us among the community of supports available to them within DIT. Instead of waiting for the student to visit the Library in person or online, we are now reaching out to the student. The information they need is personalised and arrives directly into their inbox. Now the Library is wherever the student is.
Kennedy, S. (2017) Bringing the Library to the Student using an Online Marketing Tool. Learning, Teaching, and Student Engagement (LTSE) Conference, Bristol, 2017.