Saturday, 10 March 2012

Promoting Your Service Effectively webinar

This was the first time I had done a webinar for real. Having had the trial run on the Friday, I was excited to be particpating in this session and it started inauspiciously with the PC failing to run Blackboard Collaborate, even though it worked on the PC on the Friday. I managed to get another PC to work and got myself set up for the session to start.

In this session, there was no video and the only people allowed to talk were the presenters and moderators, any questions had to be done through the chatroom. This I found strange and whilst I understand that not everyone would have a webcam, I thought the presenters would. It got even more strange when I figured that the moderators were controlling the presentation slides rather than the speaker. 

The session started with Ian Briggs from Walsall College talking about how they use Sharepoint to market their library services. They still have their VLE pages for students to use too and quite a few people wondered whether
  1. this was confusing for the students
  2. if there was a need to use both, as delegates thought there would be a lot of duplication
It was explained that Sharepoint was used to specifically market certain things to students, whereas the VLE contained wider information.

The second session Jane Parker gave an overview of New College Nottingham Learning Centre's Facebook project. Firstly students were asked what social media they would look at and Facebook came out top, which is why it was used. The most illuminating aspect of this project for me was that links are put onto Facebook about things that are subject specific, so if something has happened that students may want to read about (the death of Whitney Houston was used as an example), the Facebook page links to stories about that. I'd never thought about doing that, our Facebook page is used to say what is happening in the LRC but I think we could extend this to promote our electronic resources by linking to information of interest.

The next session was by Hazel Tickle at Wigan & Leigh College, talking about the use of Kindles and iPads. The Kindles are loaned for a week and students need to pay a refundable £5.00 deposit. Kindles are used to promote e-books with a wide variety being available. They can be voice activated and have a screen reader enhancement making them suitable for visually impaired students. I didn't know this and it is something that I will need to follow up in the quest to promote our Kindles more. The iPads can use the Kindle app and ebrary to help promote e-books but they also have educational apps on them. These are loaned out for 1.5 hours at a time to students.

Sadly at this point technical issues got in the way, the next presenter's sound was muffled making it difficult to hear and the final presenter's sound give up completely. It was therefore a rather mixed session. I found it very useful and have got some good ideas from it but it also shows that sometimes technology can be a hindrance rather than a help. There is a wiki page with information about the webinar.

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