Workshops Don’t Work | Inside Higher Ed

Written by a college dean, who argues that non-attendance in workshops is driven by indifference, and that workshops have to add real value to the individual in order for them to be perceived as worthwhile.

“That’s not because the content or delivery of workshops is poor. As with anything, they range from outstanding to awful. The problem is that workshops tend to presume a context of awareness in which the usefulness of what’s being offered is already clear. And most of the time, it isn’t.”

The “occasional raging success” workshop that actually achieves attendance goals is the one that bring real value to participants.

As an alternative to workshops, the author suggests a viral model to engage people in new ideas and initiatives.  In this model, early adopters share with others, creating interest, engagement, and adoption.

Workshops Don’t Work | Inside Higher Ed. (The comments in this post from both faculty and workshop developers are as interesting as the text. )


Exploring Blackboard Collaborate – Pilot Project

In December 2012 the University of Toronto acquired Blackboard Collaborate software as a webinar and webconferencing tool.  In May of this year we convened an informal library working group to look at Blackboard Collaborate (BbC) as a potential tool for information literacy. We have held two meetings to date and though we’re still in the early stages, we wanted to share what we’re up to!

Goals of the BbC pilot project
Our primary goal for the project is to explore BbC as a tool for information literacy delivery. Is this an effective tool for delivering IL? Is it easy for us to use? How much time does it take to learn and set up? How does it compare to in-person sessions? What do students think?

The test sessions
Based on our goals for the pilot, we aim to develop and deliver a 30-minute test session using BbC. It will most likely be a short orientation session, something like a “Top 10 things you need to know…”, aimed at first year students in the first couple weeks of the fall semester. We’ve just started working on the course design, including what content to cover, what interactive BbC components to use, how to assess student learning, how to analyze and evaluate the tool, etc.

At this point, we’re hoping to roll out several offerings of the session in BbC and in-person for the sake of comparison. Given our target audience and the goals of the pilot we will be doing a relatively limited test of BbC’s functions and potential applications. However, we hope it will be enough to get the ball rolling!

As a group we will evaluate the test sessions, document lessons learned, and make recommendations to the Faculty Liaison and Information Literacy Coordinator regarding next steps. We will consider the feasibility of using Bb Collaborate for IL, best practices, considerations for staff training, etc.

Our next meeting is on July 19th. We’ll keep you posted!

If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions please get in touch with Jenaya Webb or Monique Flaccavento.


Who enrolled in U of T MOOCs and why?

Are you surprised that about 70% of all those enrolled in U of T MOOCs already had undergraduate or graduate degrees? And that the primary reasons for enrolling in courses was to further job-related skills and/or because the course looked like fun?

These initial demographic trends remind us that there are many reasons that people sign up for MOOCs. They may take a little or a lot from the program. They may only watch one or two videos — and get precisely what they needed or wanted. They may complete the entire course and seek credentials. Or not.

See the June 16 2013 Demographic Report on Coursera MOOCs


Online course “New Librarianship Master Class” features library leaders

Coming in July, the New Librarianship Master Class offers librarians the opportunity to “go beyond finding library-related uses for information technology and the Internet” to discover new foundations for library practice in the digital age. Led by core faculty at the Syracure University iSchool with international reputations: R. David LankesJill Hurst-WahlMegan Oakleaf and Jian Qin. Take the course free online or get continuing education credit for a small fee.


Educause Top 10 IT Issues in Higher Education 2013

… and they are:

1 Leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus
2 Improving student outcomes through an approach that leverages technology
3 Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy to help the institution select the right sourcing and solution strategies
4 Developing a staffing and organizational model to accommodate the changing IT environment and facilitate openness and agility
5 Facilitating a better understanding of information security and finding appropriate balance between infrastructure openness and security
6 Funding information technology strategically
7 Determining the role of online learning and developing a sustainable strategy for that role
8 Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bringyour-own device
9 Transforming the institution’s business with information technology
10 Using analytics to support critical institutional outcomes

Read the full report Top-Ten IT Issues, 2013