Library 2.012: Free Online Conferencing Tools for Outreach & Instruction

Welcome Library 2.012 attendees!

Sources referenced in my session, along with some related resources, are listed below. They are also available via the Diigo collaborative bookmarking site: mbfortson’s library2012delivery Bookmarks on Diigo.

The session recording is available here: Free Online Conferencing Tools for Outreach & Instruction.

A pdf of my slide deck is available here: Free Online Conferencing Tools for Outreach & Instruction. If this document is not accessible to you, please contact me so I can get it to you in a format that is.

Thanks for visiting.

Session Description

As liaison to The University of Alabama’s Early College program, I utilized Blackboard IM, an “instant collaboration system” designed for academic use, to offer library instruction to high school students earning college credit by taking online classes. In spring 2012, I worked with the University’s College of Continuing Studies to hold Blackboard IM “office hours” for distance learning students enrolled in English 102 courses.

Blackboard IM offers such features as audio/video conferencing, instant messaging, application and whiteboard sharing, and queued chat. It is an excellent resource for librarians to whom it is available; however, not every institution offers (or can afford to offer) access to the tool.

This session will share no- and low-cost alternatives, such as Google+ Hangouts, Skype, and Best practices and lessons learned regarding library use of online conferencing tools will also be shared, and attendees will leave the session with tools to help them provide budget-savvy outreach and instruction.

“Online Conferencing”

The description of online conferencing referenced in the session- what it is, how it works, applications for teaching and learning- comes from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Publication “7 Things You Should Know About Virtual Meetings.”

Selected Tools

The following tools were mentioned in the session:

In compiling information about features, I referred to the product websites listed above and the following:

During the session, I shared these links via web tour and chat:

The session highlighted four tools, but there are many, many others. The three sources linked above are a good place to start when looking for additional tools and information, as are these guides:

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

This portion of the session drew from my own experience and that of other librarians.

I learned quite a bit about how other librarians use online conferencing tools at the Fifteenth Distance Library Services Conference, held April 18-20, 2012 in Memphis, TN. The presentations I referenced when developing my Library 2.012 session are:

  • Blackboard IM for Virtual Reference Service (Yingqi Tang & Jodi Poe, Jacksonville State University)
  • Real Time With the Librarian: Using Web Conferencing Software to Connect to Distance Students (Tom Riedel & Paul Betty, Regis University)
  • Table for One – How Librarians Provide Individualized Services to Distance Students via Web Conferencing (Shelley Arvin, Indiana State University; Anthony Kaiser, University of Central Missouri; Heidi Steiner, Norwich University; Anne Barnhart, University of West Georgia; Julie Arnold Lietzau, University of Maryland University College; Sandra Lee Hawes, Saint Leo University)

Presentation descriptions and materials are available on the conference website.

I also consulted these articles:

  • Barnhart, Anne C, and Andrea G. Stanfield. “When Coming to Campus Is Not an Option: Using Web Conferencing to Deliver Library Instruction.” Reference Services Review. 39.1 (2011): 58-65. WorldCat.
  • Hawes, Sandra L. “Playing to Win: Embedded Librarians in Online Classrooms.” Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning. 5 (2011): 56-66. WorldCat.
  • Lietzau, J.A, and B.J Mann. “Breaking Out of the Asynchronous Box: Using Web Conferencing in Distance Learning.” Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Learning. 3 (2009): 108-119. WorldCat.
  • Reeves, L.A.. “Piloting synchronous online reference services with Elluminate vClass.” Internet Reference Services Quarterly. 10.2 (2005): 19-33. Publisher.
  • Steiner, Heidi. “Bridging Physical and Virtual Reference with Virtual Research Consultations.” Reference Services Review. 39.3 (2011): 439-450. WorldCat.

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