Week Eleven Reading

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?

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4 thoughts on “Week Eleven Reading

  1. Naomi says:

    I like what you said about selling humans and technology short by substituting. I’ve had bad experiences with strictly online classes, and I think webinar technology has the potential to bring a lot to the field, as long as it is used well!

  2. Meggan says:

    I agree with you that substituting technology for humans does no one any favors. I got my back up when one of the articles seemed to suggest that because students are on YouTube, we have to “provide the same experience.” I don’t think libraries should be concerned about competing with YouTube. We should be concerned about crafting an experience that is as iconic and valuable to students as YouTube’s experience is for them. As far as what this looks like, I don’t have an excellent answer yet.

    I think the advantage to a webinar is to reach students who may feel disconnected by distance and show them that there are people who care and who can help. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they will take the help that’s offered. I’m pretty passionate about redefining what a librarian is and busting up stereotypes, and I think they only way we can do that is if we can talk to people. If webinars allow us to do that, then that is awesome.

  3. katzalot says:

    So having just watched webinars, I think even though the webinars were all great that we still have a ways to come before webinars are better than in person interactions with librarians in a one shot workshop. The technology is still it seems unwieldy and there is still that inpersonal aspect that I think we are never going to get past. And I think that you’re right that both things are sold short. I know I walked away not loving the webinar soft ware and I also know that I could have benefited much more from each presentation had it been in person and each one of us had a computer.

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