Can you be remote in a digital world?

by | Jul 29, 2014 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

By Heather Todd

Explanatory Practice for Learning 2:0 Based on a Cumulative
Cumulative Analysis of the Value and Effort of ’23 Things’ Programs in
Libraries (2013) by Michael Stephens.  Reference and User Serves Quarterly, Vol
53, No 2, p 129-39

Whether you are a librarian or a student distance is no
longer a barrier to information as it used to be as
evidenced by two recent articles.  

Kansas State University Libraries have undertaken a survey to
assess the awareness and use of library services by distance education students
and faculty staff members. They used the results as an indicator to make some
changes but the solutions also impacted on the entire scope of their services
and resources.  The concept of Universal
Design (that design of products and environments be useable by all people) was
used in all the initiatives – which included implementation of a web scale
discovery tool to improve access to print and digital collections, redesign of
a database directory, electronic delivery of book chapters and journal
articles, the digitisation of local collections, enhanced chat services,
collaboration with instructional designers who undertook usability studies on
webpages and also created online tutorials, and last but not least improvements
in the marketing and promotion of library services. 

As befitting universal design all the changes have provided
benefits to all clients so ‘rather than
compartmentalizing distance patrons, it is important to focus on helping them
to have an experience that is as much like an on-campus patron as possible.

Regardless of location the importance of ongoing
professional development is recognised and programs such as ’23 Things’ are now
available to all.  The original ’23
Things’ was launched in 2006 at the Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg
County, USA and since then there have been hundreds of adaptions to cater for
new areas of focus and technologies. 
Michael Stephens has undertaken an analysis on the impact of this
multi-week, fully online self-directed program that has become a popular
professional development activity for librarians around the globe.  The study is based on the exploration of the
impact and effect of the program on library staff in Australia and USA from
2009 to 2012. 

As well as exploring the impact on library staff the study
also looked at how the model has been used for library patrons.  Several libraries have adapted the program
for its clients to grow their digital literacy skills.  One library developed their own program aimed
at helping parents explore and experience technology with their children.  The State Library of Queensland offers a
version of the program called ‘Looking at 2.0”
for their customers.  This program offers
13 topics, arranged into beginner, intermediate and advanced modules which are aimed to get
customers online and using web technologies. 

The study concluded that the programs can have ‘a positive effect on participants and their
confidence and ability to use technology in their profession and personal

There is a wealth of self-development opportunities available
to us all many of which are listed on the ALIA website or delivered to your
email account via the ALIA PDPostings service. 
You are no longer remote in a digital world. 

This post was first published in InCite, August 2014.

Heather Todd is the Director of Scholarly Publishing and Digitisation Service at the University
of Queensland Library and a m
ember of the ALIA
Research Advisory Committee.


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