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UCL Qatar students changing libraries in Doha through UCL ChangeMakers project

GuestBlogger21 January 2019

By Bruce Bulmuo 

Master’s degree students at UCL Qatar have completed a UCL ChangeMakers project which offered students the opportunity to work with a school library in Doha to enhance practice-based learning for students in the Library and Information Studies program.

The students spent several months working with Al-Rowad International School to provide assessment and consultation services.

Recommendations were made to the authorities of the school on potential changes to the library to meet standards set by Qatar National School Accreditation (QNSA).

Meeting international standards 

To be eligible for full accreditation, schools in Qatar are required by QNSA to have well-resourced and functioning libraries that meet international standards. After a rigorous search, Al-Rowad International School was selected to be the first beneficiary of ChangeMakers in Qatar.

Led by Asma Al-Maadheed, the team of five students worked under the supervision of Dr. Milena Dobreva, Co-ordinator of the Library and Information Studies program at UCL Qatar, to write a library policy and install an automated library system for the school’s library.

Staff of the school were given basic training on how to operate the library system that was installed on their main library computer to ensure efficiency in the management of the library.

Fostering collaboration and innovation 

The UCL ChangeMakers project fosters collaboration and innovation to further enhance the learning experience of students. The project also forms part of commitment at UCL Qatar to prepare students for the work environment.

The project titled ‘Practice-based Team Learning through Assessing and Supporting School Libraries in Qatar’, also served as a hands-on practice for students in line with UCL’s mission of developing professionals through research based-based learning.

The students also considered the project as a form of corporate social responsibility that allowed them to give back to society the knowledge they have gained from the lecture halls.

UCL secures flagship training contract with Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Sian EGardiner10 December 2017

Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeUCL has won a flagship contract to train the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s staff and diplomats around the world in economics, with specialist subject matter to include how different markets and exchange rates operate, the economics of the environment and more.

In a significant coup for the university’s Economics department, UCL will train up to 300 FCO staff a year over four years. UCL won the contract through an open competition in which it scored particularly highly on content and focus on learner needs.

Shamik Dhar, FCO Chief Economist and Head of the Diplomatic Academy Economics and Prosperity Faculty, said: “UCL won the contract by really thinking through what our diplomats need in their day jobs and are designing a course that is accessible to the whole of the FCO’s global network.”

Bespoke online courses

The bespoke courses, aimed at degree level learners, will be predominantly delivered online. They will modernise the FCO’s current economics teaching and provide FCO staff with practical insights on the markets and economies in which they are posted.

The programme has been designed to suit staff out in the field who might be studying after the working day, and includes video on demand elements. Teaching will be broken into 15 to 20 minute sections, along with live interactive webinar sessions, to ensure staff can work at their own pace.

“We will be introducing learners to cutting edge research,” said Parama Chaudhury, a principal teaching fellow at UCL. “Learners in this programme will be equipped with the knowledge of the most reliable and current research on pressing issues, and what the experts in the field are presently recommending in terms of policy.”

Specialist subject matter

The course will consist of two main parts, with one billed as Core Learning (CL) and one as Job Specific Learning (JSL). Both will be practical in nature, enabling learners to see how the course subject matter can be applied practically in both their individual roles and the markets in which they work.

The specialist subject matter will include the macroeconomic crises, economics data, regulating markets, economic growth and development and more.Image

Image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (credit: p_a_h, source: Flickr)

Making Museums

KerryMilton1 September 2014

UCL has opened its doors to museum professionals from around the world through a new Museum Training School (MTS) – an innovative CPD programme developed in partnership with the British Council Global Skills Unit.

A group discussion at the Museum Training School

Participants from over 16 countries attended, selected from more than 450 applications.

100 cultural institutions and museums provided speakers, expertise and visits during the four weeks of the summer school, the programme made up of four courses each exploring the major facets of museum working:

  • How to build local, national and international partnerships
  • How to develop exhibitions
  • How to develop schools and learning programmes
  • How to develop community engagement programmes

Each course followed a project-based model of learning. Students in the ‘How to develop exhibitions’ course, for example, had the opportunity to handle authentic objects from the world renowned Petrie Museum Collection, then immediately apply this knowledge to a contemporary art exhibition which they curated at the end of the week.

In the ‘How to develop community engagement programmes’ course, participants created innovative projects to improve museum practice in their host institutions and countries.

How to build local, national and international partnerships course

A group get to work on developing an exhibition

At the end of their course, each participant presented partnership proposals to develop their museum’s practices. The Director of the National Museum Bangkok presented an innovative idea of getting staff training from a local airline to develop his staff’s customer service and people skills, essential for any museum.

How to develop exhibitions course

Participants on the Exhibitions course learned about the ground skills of exhibition work, from object handling to airport couriering. At the end of the week curatorial teams displayed a mini exhibition using the British Council’s contemporary art collection. The objects ranged from Hirst to Nicholson, but Shrigley’s headless ostrich proved a bit too tricky!

How to develop schools and learning programmes course

Working with experts at the Museum of Childhood, the participants produced educational games for children based on the displays and materials in the museum. The international cohort provided a mixed discussion on teaching methods and experienced practical examples of museum education for them to analyse.

How to develop community engagement programmes course

Participants for this course experienced community engagement programmes in local authority museums, national institutions and even outdoors. This broad range of experiences led our participants to produce community engagement action points ranging from corporate access events (Philippines) to an Arts farmers’ market (China).

The future

The Museum Training School was a huge success, with 80 people already registering interest in next year’s course.

A participant from China commented, “The highlight of the course was to meet with so many museum professionals. I learned new skills and met people only possible through this course.”

For any enquiries or comments on the Museum Training School, please email Edmund Connolly, Finance and Course Manager at museumtrainingschool@ucl.ac.uk