It’s exam time again. That hurdle that students jump, right before leaping on a plane bound for Thailand with a backpack for eight weeks. Those were the days!
I don’t know about you, but the very word still fills me with dread. As someone who has multiple HE qualifications gained over a number of years, and thus over the life of digitisation so far, it also makes me wonder how technology affects the way students study for exams. Like anything else, it’s evolved, but at the heart of cramming for finals is often the main university resource: the library. It’s like a student rock, a beacon of light, a place to go for calm and reflection and to furiously fill the gaps of knowledge in the final push. But libraries have changed too. They are offering new and innovative services that meet the needs of the digital campus. They too have recognised that they have ‘customers’, and their customers have increasingly digital needs that must be met.
The University of Manchester library is one such library that has recognised the need to be innovative and is offering an Exam Extra programme which includes ‘de-stressing’ services in conjunction with University Sport (Yoga, Tai Chi & meditation) as well as a raft of online resources accessible 24x7, including topics like revision strategies, managing procrastination, note making and many others.
Physically the library is still there, but online it’s increasingly able to help students at any time of day, from anywhere they choose. No longer are those immortal words uttered: "I’ll go to the library when it opens in the morning." Of course, if students want to visit, then they can make use of the university’s ‘Find a Space’ service for extra study space provision, or attend a revision support workshop, but many of the services can be delivered to mobile devices to help students in the quest for their First Class Honours.
Bringing the physical campus together with the digital one to offer a truly integrated solution has come a long way from the days of pushing a pen round a desk in a library full of students trying to execute their revision plan wisely before it closed at 5pm. Libraries are going much further than simply delivering texts – they have become central to delivering real-time learning essentials for exam success.