I am a huge fan of screencasts and online tutorials especially when they are used in libraries. I found this weeks reading really interest and they brought up a lot of important aspect of teaching library and literacy that are often overlooked.
One of the most interesting things that came out of the readings is the idea of the ‘one-shot workshop’ that is pretty common at libraries. If your unfamiliar with this term, it basically refers to the short information workshop held by librarians to teach users how to use certain library features. I’ve attended a few in New York, but honestly they’ve been a little boring and in some cases useless. Typically these workshop are conducted by a library staff member (hopefully one who is familiar with the topic and workshop structure), and for about and hour they ramble or show examples of how to do something (like navigating the stack, placing a book on hold, or citing a source). One issue with this format is that the user is rarely engaged and often the librarian is trained on how to teach the material. However the book Creating the One-Shot Libary Workshop highlighted some really cool tips and techniques on improving this experience for both the librarian and the user. According to the book, one of the most important things a librarian who want to do a workshop should keep in mind is ADDIE:
Each of these steps are key to having a meaningful exchange. I think this process seems great. Its ensure that all the basic components are in place and that after the workshop is over, you take the experience and start over to improve it. I’ve facilitated several workshops in the past and feedback/evaluation is just as important as any other step because it encourages you to make changes and fix things that didn’t work the way you thought it would.
I think that the ADDIE process should be including in every teaching experience, even in online tutorials. Not many libraries have a collection of tutorials but I think that they are very useful and when done correctly are usable and valuable to users. The article on online tutorials; Best Practices for Online Video Tutorials in Academic Libraries looked at how user of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign library understood and engaged with the video tutorials. One of main things at a library that want to put out a collection of tutorials should really think about is the content and quality of the video, as well as advertising to and feedback from the users. I think its pointless to wait until a user is in chat reference service to bring up the videos. Users need to know that the videos are available otherwise there’s no point to having them. And I think there should be a quick survey at the end of the video to collect feedback.
Sidebar: I’m super excited for class tomorrow!!! And I can finally let my background in journalism shine with scripting and producing screencast.
Til next week…shhhhh!!