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WAPL - Continuing Education in Your Pajamas -- New Technologies Bring New Opportunities

Posted by on Thursday, May 01, 2008 in WLA Blog Archive
John DeBacher -- in his pajamas -- provided an overview and reviewed the history of using technology for CE. There are different models, including two-way (synchronous or interactive) and asynchronous -- which might include program that are canned, queued up and can be experienced at leisure. Some presentations, as in OPAL, begin synchronous and become asynchronous. Interactive gets questions answered, asynchronous is available when convenient -- overcoming space-time problems.

Obstacles and disadvantages include distractions of the home environment, lack of interaction with peers that occurs at real conferences.

Anna Palmer, Outreach Specialist UW-SLIS - 3 options for online CE via SLIS website
  1. Graduate level courses - many electives classes are online, though three core courses still need to be taken in Madison - students can enroll as special students and try grad level classes online
  2. Continuing education - there are 7 or 8 classes each semester, 2 or 3 for director certification, 4 or 5 on a variety of electives - these are much cheaper than grad level classes, and are graded pass/fail -- she demonstrated "Core Elements of Children's Services" class using "Desire to Learn" software - weekly assignments, communication from instructor, and discussion section, similar to a threaded listserv or discussion board. Courses structured on a week by week basis. People are surprised how interactive the experience is and how well they get to know people. She has never had an instance where a student dropped because the software was difficult; she provides support as needed, as do instructors. Requires Windows 98, 56K connection, Internet Explorer recommended
  3. Education to Go: specific online technology skills class, $85, outside vendor 70 or 80 classes to choose from, six weeks long, begin monthly. Interactive with instructor, includes discussion area, final exam.
Bob Bocher, DPI -- Program MediaSite is licensed by state.
  • web-based multimedia training & presentation
  • synchronizes AV & graphics
  • real time & archival options
  • need MediaSite PC & camera
  • set-up takes 2 hours of initial training
  • demo available online
  • people can send questions to instructor - but not real chat
  • users can speed up or slow down presentation
  • not as interactive as OPAL, mutiple windows for video & slides
John DeBacher, DPI - WebJunction
  • started with early Gates PC rollout -- libraries needed instruction
  • OCLC provided as form for information exchange
  • did major renovation last year, but so much content that navigation or finding content can be difficult
  • Association of Rural & Small Libraries has moved their content to WebJunction
  • Webinars -- soundbytes, one hour blocks usually eligible for CE: might want to register in advance -- they send email reminders, instructions for joining are online.
  • Many archived webinars, particularly related to themes of rural library sustainability
  • Many courses offered, initially all technology related, then added other library related themes & workshops plus other third-party and state-developed courses -- need credit card to purchase
Jean Anderson SCLS CE coordinator on OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries)
  • SCLS using OPAL since 2006, provides CE programs to member libraries
  • Features include interactive real time audio chat
  • Moderator can lock microphone to prevent disruptions, others can "raise hand" or send chat comment -- it can be as interactive as you want.
  • SCLS has room for 50 people, but can get larger space if needed. There is also an OPAL auditorium for very large programs.
  • OPAL has lots of programs available to anyone, and archives programs
  • Many programs accessible from your desk for an hour of your time.
  • Can upload PowerPoint and give show slides with narration -- presenters need second person to monitor chat
  • Presenter sometimes has to go on faith or ask for feedback to know that listeners have not gone away -- can conduct spot polls with option to publish results
  • CCBC presents programs with OPAL -- recorded programs can include Flash movie
John DeBacher recommended: get out of the library when you can, but take advantage of online training. Jim Backus & John noted that Sirsi/Dynix webinars are also useful and available to all.
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