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#generationonline: An interview with Online Librarian Louise Worsfold

When you study at our Online campus you have the flexibility to study around your other commitments with the benefit of our expertise, experience and employability focus. But how can you access our library and study skills service online? We caught up with Online Librarian Louise Worsfold to learn more about these critical services.

By Cara Fielder. Published 13 January 2021. Last updated 9 December 2021.

I started my career teaching mathematics in a primary school, which became repetitive and involved a lot of marking, so I went to work in a library. While there, I discovered study skills, which I really enjoyed. To develop this further I went on to teach English and spent a year in China, which was fantastic. The role I have now incorporates the best of both worlds - this balance suits me.

My role is very varied; I deal directly with students answering queries and helping them develop skills. I write content for my lessons and I also take part in a lot of training. This could be in the form of external training from resource providers or academic skills experts, or internal training which is generally a direct result of student feedback. We listen to the needs of the learners and try to develop workshops and content to address those needs. 

An Online campus is more important than ever before because learning online is very convenient for lots of people; parents with children at home, people working who need to develop their academic and career prospects. And of course, because of Covid-19 we have to stay home, but life must continue and online learning suits us at the moment. Studying online gives learners flexibility; they can study whenever it suits them.

Currently students can't take books out of the library because of the pandemic, so we have made everything available electronically. Students access resources through the library webpage, or they may access their reading lists through their study pages on Elite.

Most of the skill sessions I deliver are on Collaborate; I have my own virtual classroom. Within the sessions I use breakout rooms and discussion groups. I also use the whiteboard and try to make it as interactive as I can. I always offer the content I deliver to the learners after the session, which allows them to revisit it whenever they need to.

Some of the skill session subjects include; how to be a critical thinker on paper, research skills, referencing, how to formulate a dissertation and one very popular skills course called “finding your academic voice” (FYAV). The FYAV course covers everything from creating correctly formed sentences to using word order; like developing a tentative voice to draw the reader to your way of thinking. FYAV covers introductions, paragraph construction, conclusions, how to embed research into text and many more things. If the student requires something we don't have we just write it.

When writing content for online learners we need to pre-empt what the learner might not be able to do. When you teach face-to-face you can see when learners are struggling and address the situation immediately. To help with this, we are currently creating content in bite-sized chunks, so that students can pick and choose the sections they need to cover without having to repeat things they're already comfortable doing.

Students are always offered the opportunity to feedback on every single thing that we do, this is how we develop our new content. We look at the feedback and we create or adjust it to the requirements of the student.

I still create strong connections with the students. Having a good discussion with a student without cameras on is very useful for some learners. Should we return to face-to-face learning, I might still offer the virtual call or meetings, as it gives learners the opportunity for them to have anonymous moment, I believe that can be very powerful for the learner.

I think Covid-19 will have a permanent effect on how people view studying online. It’s a really efficient method of learning; it's inclusive and addresses the multiplicities of life. Working online has given people a different attitude to time, For example, travelling is not necessarily something people want to do anymore as they can spend travel-time more productively and have less impact on the environment. Covid-19 has made us all rethink how we interact and what is important to us.

I began studying online because I have five children. I could study between school runs and activity drop-offs. I could attend open days, sports days and stay home with my children when they were sick. Online learning saved my brain from disintegrating. Now they have all left home and it's just me and my husband, I am fully me. I have a career and self-worth. Therefore, I think online learning is fantastic, it frees people and allows anyone, anywhere to truly reach their full potential.

I’d advise anyone thinking of studying at our Online campus to do it. Be the best version of yourself. At ULaw, as well as generating accomplished business and law graduates, we will support you in developing an academic voice. We listen to you when things are tough and we aim to continually develop our services to achieve the best outcomes. See you soon.


Don’t postpone your career ambitions; study a course with the ULaw Online campus today.