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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 started with a great visual image for the title of the program. I saw him in the hall in advance to capture this photo...he actually wore this to the introduce the program.

The first presenter was Anna Palmer from the library school at UW-Madison. There are still three courses which require physical presence on campus. The electives can be done online. Courses are available before or after starting the program. If you register as a "special student" the cost is half the regular price.

The school offers continuing education courses including courses for the Library Director Certification Program. CED credits are cheaper and are graded on a pass/fail basis. They use the same software for CE and online courses. They use Desire to Learn (D2L) which is branded with Learn Wisconsin.

Anna demonstrated with a course called "Core Elements of Children's Services." [I have a close friend who has taught using D2L, and I have seen both the student and instructor side.] It is asynchronous teaching with assignments and deadlines. It is web based and very intuitive. There is technology support for both students and instructors. There is a phone help desk from 6 am to 1 am. It does require 56K connection, Windows 98 or better.

The University offers "Education to Go" classes are skill specific. Cost is $85, and there are about 75 courses offered. All are 6 weeks long and the start once a month. They are offered through an outside vendor. They do have interactive elements and some of the structure is similar to the D2L structure. It does have a final exam which is required to receive credits for the course.

Bob Bocher talked about the tools which DPI provides. Bob did not appear in pajamas (since he wears none). The product the state uses is from Sonic Fpundry called MediaSite. The tool synchronizes the view with the sound. It is real time, and it is archival. The site has about 15 presentations included on the site. It requires a specialized PC and camera to produce programs. The PC includes the software. It takes some time to train staff to do the technology issues to schedule and connect, plus uploading PowerPoint. It is helpful to have two people: one to present and one to run the hardware.

Bob showed a demonstration of an erate training program. The state has a license, and hosts them on their own site. For many other customers the vendor hosts the program. The program is not as flexible. There is no chat or other interactivity.

John DeBacher showed WebJunction. He particularly plugged the Rural Sustainability aspect of the project. It does require speakers/headphones and a microphone is good. (South Central found inexpensive ones for about $5.) John then logged into an archived presentation. He also whistled the theme from Jeopardy while it loaded. He then showed the courses section of the website. The state counts these opportunities as continuing education for certification purposes.

Jean Anderson from South Central Library System talked about OPAL. They have a site license for 50 people, but can ask Tom Peters for more space, and there is an auditorium which can host large crowds. She showed it on the large screen, including some input from staff back in Madison at the SCLS office.
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