For this project I looked for live webinars and twitter chats in my field of librarianship.
Here is a list of the webinars I attended with some comments:
#1 A Generation Apart: The Changing Expectations of Modern Researchers – provided by ACRL and Choice; sponsored by ProQuest
In this webinar, the presenters talked about the current direction of student research and how these research habits are affecting the ways in which librarians do their jobs. The presenters spent a good deal of time talking about the user experience with physical library collections as well as electronic resources. They wrapped up the webinar by focusing on the growth of social media tools and how information found on these platforms can be used for research purposes.
This webinar had an extremely active chat. I definitely noticed that I was not prepared for this experience. I did not know the etiquette or the format with which to respond to posts. I learned very quickly that people used the @ sign to respond to each others posts. I also responded to the wrong person the first time. I have always thought I was good at multitasking until this experience. I had a difficult time following the chat and listening to the presenters at the same time.
My biggest observation with this experience is that I think some use the back channel as a means to connect with others in the field. They don’t really come there to listen to the presentation. There were many times where the posts seemed to be unrelated and almost completely off-topic. At times, I felt like we were having our own little conversation and the presenters were just a side show. This is not very fair to the presenters who spent time preparing this event. At the same time, it is a quick and easy way for those who have very few opportunities to talk to other library professionals to get their questions answered.
#2 Accessibility and Libraries – provided by the American Library Association
I was really excited about this topic as I strongly believe that we as librarians have to be constantly vigilant about making sure we address student disability and learning styles needs in our services. The presenters in this webinar focused on the use of screen readers and other types of adaptive technology. Additionally, the presenters mentioned website accessibility and facilitated a discussion on appropriate colors and contrast. The most important part of the webinar though was the discussion about how we as librarians needs to be inclusive. We need to design our programs and services with the needs of everyone in mind.
I really enjoyed the chat in this webinar as I was better able to participate in the chat and listen to the presenters. I think this skill just really takes practice. I discovered in this webinar that the presenters have some choice with the chat. With this webinar we didn’t just chat in the back channel about what the presenters were saying. The presenters addressed the audience and wanted us to answer their questions in the chat box. I have seen many webinars where the presenters use the polling feature for this, but this was definitely a much more authentic way of including the audience in the conversation.
#3 A Conversation with 3 Debut YA Authors – provided by School Library Journal; sponsored by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
The presenters in this webinar all focused on their writing and publishing journeys. These authors were extremely candid with their remarks. One author talked about how she believes that authors take what they have heard and read about over the years and basically grind it all together to make a new story. One of the other authors talked about how her visits to the public library as a kid strongly influenced her writing career.
The email about the webinar mentioned using Twitter and so I assumed that there would be an active back channel. I had spent an hour watching another webinar that had a Twitter feed but not one used it and so I really wanted to make sure that the same thing didn’t happen again. There was a chat box in the webinar, but there were only a couple people on the chat. Additionally I realized very early on that the tweets were monitored and posted after someone read them first. This took away from the spontaneous function of the chat. As it was, I responded to what the authors were saying and to others in the chat box. These tweets came up a couple minutes later on the screen.
#4 Defying Definitions: Top Graphic Novels for Fall – provided by School Library Journal; sponsored by Diamond Book Distribution and others
This webinar was presented by several people in the publishing industry. The focus of this webinar was really to highlight that the graphic novel genre is currently one of the fastest growing subsections of the publishing world. The webinar included representatives from the creative, marketing, and sales divisions. The panelists used the time to talk about the recently published graphic novels.
The back channel for this webinar was essentially the same as in the webinar described above. Tweets were monitored and published a couple minutes later. I tweeted my thoughts as the presentation was taking place and responded to a few tweets from other attendees. Through the chat I was able to see how others used the webinar information in their day to day responsibilities. One attendee announced that he was building his library collection with the books that were mentioned throughout the presentation.
#1 Twitter Chat – #edtechafterdark on September 25
Before I did this chat, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had never used Twitter before and had certainly not thought of using it as a professional development tool. I found this chat through another classmate (thanks, Jake Lee) and decided to give it a try. In the beginning I told everyone that this was my first Twitter chat. The moderator instantly reached out to me and told me to let him know if I had any problems or questions. Everyone was very welcoming and respectful of each other’s opinions. This chat focused on attendance issues from a primarily K12 perspective. Even though I work at the college level, I was still able to participate in the chat based on my own thoughts and experiences. Some of the participants acknowledged that there were college-level educators in the crowd and asked for specific comments from our point of view, which I thought was really neat. I had trouble keeping up at first. I wasn’t sure about the proper etiquette or format for my answers, but I caught on pretty quickly. Overall, this was just a great experience for my first chat.
#2 Twitter Chat – #LISprochat on October 2
This chat focuses on career and job-seeking issues in the field of librarianship. The topic of that night’s chat happened to be professionalism. I discovered with this chat that some moderators and groups put the questions up ahead of time on their blogs or websites. That is interesting as it gives time for the participants to reflect on the answers that they might give before the chat begins. On the other hand, it takes away a little bit of the spontaneity. I noticed in this chat that people tended to get off topic a little bit and have side conversations amongst themselves. Some people spent a lot of time talking about their own taste in clothes and what they specifically wear to work. I would have appreciated a bit more of a discussion on professionalism in the sense of how we treat and collaborate with coworkers.
#3 Twitter Chat – #critlib on October 3
I decided to attend this chat since it was about Open Educational Resources (OERs). This is a really hot topic right now in the library field and in higher education. The moderators of this group were extremely well-organized. This group has its own website. On this website, the group lists the moderators of each chat, the questions that the moderator is going to ask, and a list of articles and websites that participants can read before the chat begins. This was my least favorite experience with Twitter chat though. Unlike in other chats, the moderator did not comment on people’s comments or help to keep the discussion moving. She acted as one of the participants and basically had a conversation with herself instead of engaging with us. This could be the way that the group decided to structure their chats, but it seemed it a bit strange that we got very little in the way of feedback, likes, or comments from the moderator as the chat progressed.
#4 Twitter Chat – #BunceeChat on October 5
I had tried to find library-related chats for this project. However, that proved to be difficult. I found lots of websites with lists of chats; in the end, however, it seemed that most of the ones I found no longer take place. I was getting desperate. One of my other interests is digital citizenship. I view it as connected to digital literacy which is ultimately tied to information literacy. So I jumped at the chance to join BunceeChat. Clearly, I did not know enough about it other than that it was somehow connected to digital citizenship. After doing the chat I know now that this is a specific storytelling tool used by K12 teachers to teach digital citizenship skills. I tried to answer the questions as best as I could from a digital citizenship standpoint and not from a user standpoint. I ended up enjoying this chat immensely because everyone in the chat treated each other like family. I gathered that this chat consists of the same people every time. They talked to each other as if they worked with each other on a daily basis. In addition to talking about the technology tool, the participants enjoyed conversing with each other on a more personal level. This different dynamic made the chat an extremely interesting and worthwhile experience.
I really enjoyed exploring the professional development opportunities using Twitter over the last couple of modules. To see evidence of my participation in each of the webinar and twitter chats click on the Word document below.