So, this past week we did not have class, as we were presenting our webinars as well as attending the webinars of our classmates. I greatly enjoyed this chance to see the different ways people approached our limited (2) choices of “topics” for the webinars (copyright OR underserved populations). There was quite a diversity of options despite the limit on the broader topics, and I loved getting to see what both the presenters and the other participants thought about these topics.
I attended webinars that discussed college students with LD (such as ADHD, dyslexia, etc), young professionals in the public library, libraries as incubators, and assistive technologies for patrons with LD (screen readers, etc). I had rarely considered the issues facing college students LD, I’m embarrassed to admit, but I know have some perspective on things I need to learn about and consider when I began my work in academic libraries – libraries are a difficult environment for any new college student, and LD just makes it that much harder. I also had never thought about “young professionals” (or myself) as an underserved population in public libraries, but it makes some sense when I think about library programming and how little I use it (but how much I would love some of the programs this group discussed in their webinar!). All in all, these different webinars all taught me something, and it was more than just about how to put on (or not put on) a webinar, so I would say all were a success!
On the subject of my own group’s webinar: I found this exercise to be quite difficult. Not the planning/scripting of the webinar (this was very much, to me, like a combination between a traditional presentation and a workshop – what I found difficult was the execution. Luckily, I had two group members there with me to help balance out the workload of running a webinar. However, after doing it, I can say that I have no idea how (or why) someone would approach facilitating a webinar on their own. During the portion of the webinar where I was presenting (speaking), I could not pay attention to anything else on the screen – I managed to catch a couple of the chat messages, but I definitely had to go back after the webinar and read through the chat log in the archived version in order to see what was going on. I know that this type of multitasking would come with practice, but, I also feel like the ‘webinar’ is not always set up to make the best use of the resources available. One of the comments on my last blog post, where I was lamenting un-innovative webinar formats, pointed to a technique for doing webinars as a sort of flipped classroom, where the students do a lot of up-front reading and then decide what activities/discussion will take place using the tools that the webinar software provides. This sounds like a great idea for distance/online learning, but what about for one-shot webinars? It seems ridiculous to ask someone to do a ton of reading to prepare for what is essentially a one-shot workshop, but I feel like it could greatly help with using the technology to greater effect.