It is webinar week! One of our articles this week focused on the idea of using webinars to embed academic librarians in university courses. The model mostly focused on the use of embedded librarians in online courses, however I find this model to already be a bit antiquated. The majority of classes that I have experienced in graduate school are blended environments which easily mediate in-person and online interactions.
Online classes, while useful in some circumstances, are more of a pure substitution for in-person education and learning, and the uses for webinars, as described in the article, seemed to reflect a similar framework. What I have learned thus far at SI is that purely substituting technology for humans sells the humans and the technology short. We need to utilize technology to help us do things that we can’t do on our own– to transform teaching and learning. The article seemed to suggest that we just keep doing the same kinds of things that we do in-person but now online (because that’s where our patrons are).
This only gets it half-right, in my opinion. Go where the patrons are, yes! But make webinars better than in-person interactions would be. I can see how they might be more accessible or include less “friction” than traditional interactions, but dear classmates, I ask you: how can a webinar transform students’ interactions with librarians?