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First Timer Experience: CE Online Instruction Toolkit

This past year has been a year of “new” for me. I am a new MLIS graduate, a new professional, new MLA member, and this is my first large, MLA conference (so… I’m new at this too). As I was brainstorming about my potential blogging topics for Mosiac’16, I knew I wanted to express this whole huge conference process and my experience with the program, including continuing education, through the eyes of an enthusiastic newbie, if you will, with plenty of humor sprinkled on top.

So a wee bit more about me. I am the Health Sciences and Professions (HSP) librarian at Ohio University, meaning I am in charge of the entire college of HSP and started in July of 2015. I cover four departments, some of which have a HUGE population of online students. And let me be clear, I love my job. I was one of those recent graduates that was beyond fortunate to have such an opportunity to be where I wanted to be prior to graduation. I think I am still in-shock that the librarian gods had smiled upon me. Needless to say, I have been working quickly to transition from student to professional; which is much like being the ugly duckling for much longer than hoped.

One way I have found to be extremely helpful in regards to blossoming into a professional librarian (AKA swan) is through continuing education opportunities. Even though I just graduated with my MLIS in June 2015, there is so much to learn to better serve my community; which is an obvious concept for this audience. So, once Mosiac’16 registration was available I knew I wanted to sign up for some CEs so I could move forward with some my goals. By this point I had been in my position for a several months and had identified some gaps in my knowledge. (Ha! SOME gaps… that’s cute. More like, “Self, you only have so much time so pick two enticing CEs to focus on and move on with your life.”)

My first CE was Friday and focused on online instruction and supporting distant students. Because I support a large, online BSN-RN program, online MSN program, as well as a satellite school- this was perfect. I have been seeking ways to better engage my online community and make a better connection with a variety of learners. And let me tell you, this CE was AWESOME. We really dove into many facets of online education: guidelines for online programs and classes, theory behind what it takes to create something meaningful, different tools and tips for enhancing engagement, and how to make it scalable. We focused the second portion of the session on actually creating and working on a project we could bring back to work. Did you catch that? Actual time to work on what we just learned and make it directly applicable to our needs. #Winning

A couple highlights:

  • Backward design
    • This is a process of planning that you can use for ANY sort of instruction. It focuses on looking at what your students should be able to do after your session, and working your way backwards. Find book here.
  • Ethical Practices
  • What your online instruction course/session/tool should always consider:
    • Works in multiple browsers
    • ADA compliant
    • PC and MAC user-friendly
    • Clear headings and sections
    • Easy accessibility and navigation
    • Very clear and detailed directions
  • A couple cool tools/tips mentioned:
    • Canvas (which you can use for free without an institutional fee)
    • Credly (software to introduce badges of completion)
    • You can embed Google Forms into LibGuides! Here is a guide from MSU.
    • Polleverywhere (Polling software to jumpstart engagement-Free version- one of my personal favs)
    • Padlet (Free engagement tool that is basically a virtual sticky note board)
    • Powtoon (Use to create cartoon-like videos!)
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