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Upping Our Online Learning Game

Can we improve your online learning experience beyond the traditional webinar? Yes, by adding student/teacher interaction into the instructional design.

This summer, MLA held its first asynchronous online course, “Library Statistics: Data Analysis for Librarians.” The course instructor, Jin Wu, is an emerging technologies librarian at the Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California (USC)–Los Angeles. She developed the course after teaching in person at MLA ’15 in Austin. The online course tackled steps for designing research projects that require statistical data.  Participants learned methods of collecting data, how to use statistical software to analyze data, and how to draw accurate conclusions from the analysis.

The course involved several sequential components:

  1. Attending a 1.5-hour online lecture.
  2. Reading provided research articles.
  3. Putting into practice the principles learned by playing with data. Participants were asked to submit hands-on assignments using video demos and a data set, and were encouraged to submit questions as well.
  4. Feedback on the outside assignments from the instructor.
  5. Attending a follow up 1.5-hour webinar to discuss the work and ask questions.

Participants were highly satisfied with this new format and significantly improved learning experience, pointing to the effectiveness of the hands-on portion of the course and the direct applicability to their work.

As MLA moves forward with its strategic goal #3 “Strengthen MLA’s educational curriculum and offerings,” you can look forward to more education innovation and an  expanded curriculum.

Thank you to the more than 440 members who shared their thoughts in the survey on our current professional competencies: the task force now has a great foundation of input to draw from as they work on updating the competencies to meet the needs of MLA members and today’s professional environment.

Stay tuned for next week’s announcement on MLA’s new director of education!

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