Creation and Capture is a core module for the MA in Archives and Records Management (so no escaping it!). The module sought to look at the creation and capture of records and information within organisations in the course of their business, introducing records management approaches and techniques that can be applied to information created, received and used by organisations in a world of rapidly-changing digital technology. It sets records management in a wider risk and compliance context.
The course introduced us to records management and the organisational and technological environments in which records are created, considering the classification of records, together with tools and systems for their creation and capture in a range of organisational settings, taking into account compliance and the place of the retention schedule. We also built our knowledge of managing records in the ‘real world’, including building systems in practice, delivering a records management programme and selling the benefits of a programme.
We had some great guest speakers (highlights include Kimberly Barata, Head of Information Governance & Security at Ricoh Europe PLC, who gave a really engaging lecture on why records manage matters, and Shona Robertson, Head of the Information & Records Management Service at the Houses of Parliament, who talked about designing and implementing records management).
The coursework for the module was a single 4,000-word business report. Based on a fictional scenario, our task was to set out the case for developing and implementing a formal organisation-wide records management strategy for both paper and digital records. The report had to include a justification, risks, key issues for resolution, steps for implementation, and a timeline with key actions for implementation.
Now, at this point I should come clean and say that this was not my favourite module. The teaching and guest lectures were great, and packed full of really useful information and real-life examples, but I find my joy in archives rather than records management, and so I was not as excited or as interested in the subject as I had been in other modules.
Disclaimer: I know and understand that records management is very important!
Now, the coursework. I won’t lie, it was truly terrifying. The idea that I had to write 4,000 words about a subject that I really wasn’t excited by was not something that I looked forward to doing. At all. I changed my fictional scenario more than once, as I found it hard to grasp the notion of exactly what was needed, and how I might go about it. The hardest thing by far was putting the information together in a business report. Other modules (like Concepts and Contexts) had involved writing essays and literature reviews, and prior to starting my MA I had been studying for my BA (which involved writing lots of essays) and so this style of writing was not too hard to get to grips with. Writing a business report was something that, at that point, I had no experience with, and getting to grips with the format and content, together with coming up with the content was really very hard.
But let’s talk positively about the coursework (just for a moment though, let’s not go overboard!) Having the experience of writing a business report in the safety of a learning environment was incredibly useful. This style of writing is something that I should expect to come across and create myself over the course of my career. (In fact, within days of submitting my coursework, I was writing a business report at work. Talk about skill implementation!) I am a tactile learner; I learn by getting stuck in there and trying things out. For me, whilst this particular coursework process was not the most enjoyable enjoyable, it was a really useful experience from which I can directly apply my learning at work.
Yesterday, our grades for this piece of coursework were released. My blood pressure went up, my palms were sweating, I was worried. But I was incredibly thrilled to find out that I had been given a distinction! To say that I was surprised with my grade is somewhat of an understatement, as I’d been hoping to scrape by with a pass (nothing like a bit of pressure to make you write something good, right?) And so there ends the Creation and Capture module, on a high that I was not expecting.