What we did
We created a revision area with the aim of making the library a quieter place during exam time. We increased patrols, asked those who weren’t working to leave and asked large groups to work in our group study room.
In our end of year feedback, Upper 6th students had marked down that the library was too noisy and that noise during exam time was a problem. L6 students did not report this as an issue (we think this is because their priorities are very different to their U6 peers – final exams for them are a long way off.)
We promoted the new revision area heavily before we implemented it. Notices went in the bulletin, on TV screens, we had posters everywhere and handouts and utilised social media. We put posters on the door of the library as well to remind students that they were entering a revision area.
Why is this different?!
We gave the revision area its own hashtag. We made it applicable to the college and revision – and we made sure it was everywhere! We printed off different coloured versions and stuck them on each study desk, computers, tables, on walls, doors etc. We used it in the student bulletin which gets shown in each tutor group on a daily basis. We then started tweeting exam revision tips using it to get it started.
3 weeks have gone by and we have had a very interesting response. Here are some of the best responses – uncensored!
- Hashtag used by itself
- Student names used with the hashtag
- ‘Revising for sociology’
- ‘yehh man, library keeping up with the youth of today’
- ‘Working hard for our revision’
- ‘So much work to do, so little time’
- We are loving your new revision area!’
- ‘To kl for lyf in the library’
- ‘Not enjoying the new library fascism.’
- ‘Jc’in wit ma homies’
- ‘is this revision area to kick bellends out of the library?!’
- ‘The library people have become like the Gestapo’
- ‘Don’t come into the library unless you’re in the revision zone!’
- ‘Atmosphere in the silent study room is intense, you can almost smell the revision in the air!”
- ‘Enjoying my spinny chair in the Library’
- ‘Please keep your voice down’
We had several photos tweeted in – pictures of students revising, groups of students with books out, pictures of the hashtag where students had spotted it on tables and even a student with the hashtag stuck to his forehead.
We also had some responses from subject departments who tweeted about what their students were doing in terms of revision and general study tips. The main college account was also using it to retweet the best ones and again promote revision tips.
How did we respond?
All tweets were gratefully receieved, whether they were positive, negative, sensible or just silly. We responded to all of the tweets we received that used the hashtag. Responses tended to go along the lines of thanking them for getting involved, and wishing them luck with their revision.
What have we learnt?
- It was a great way of getting instant feedback and interacting with students on their level.
- Students liked to get a response from their tweets. Even if they had tweeted something silly – most students retweeted our replies. This was great for us as it increased the the number of people we were reaching dramatically. (Some students had 600+ followers and some tweets recieved numerous retweets.)
- A sense of humour is needed! When some of the tweets came in – I remember thinking ‘what on earth do I reply to that?!’ – coming up with replies is sometimes difficult.
- Be prepared for negative comments - within minutes of starting the increased patrols we had received a couple of comments about being too harsh or ‘fascist’. By instantly replying to these on Twitter – something along the lines of thanks for your feedback – and explaining why we were doing it, we aimed to respond in a positive way. One boy who had tweeted his comment, actually retweeted our response – which again was great for us! Don’t forget that students will be saying these things anyway, elsewhere or to their friends – so knowing about it, is a good thing.
- Have a strategy in place – the fact that students can put anything they like on Twitter means that they have free rein on your hashtag. Be prepared for absolutely anything being said and make sure you know how to respond. If something is said about a member of staff, think about how you will respond and who is the best person to liaise with in case of trouble.
- Some students do not seem to realise that their tweets can be seen by the public. In one breath they were slagging off their friends, swearing etc and in another, they’d be tweeting a company for work experience. I think increased education on this would help and for them to be reminded that employers and universities use this to seek out candidates.
Overall, it was a very positive experience and enabled us to gain a vast amount of feedback, engagement and interaction with students that we just would not have been able to get in such a condensed and quick way.