For class this week we read “Creating the one-shot library workshop: a step-by-step guide” by Jerilyn R. Veldof (available here) as well as several articles profiling projects creating screencasts.
The Veldof reading was very timely for myself as I was actually teaching a one-shot workshop shop this week at the ALA Future of Libraries Quasi-Con. This reading very much affected how I structured my class, Free Geographic Information Systems: Hacking Google Maps and More. For instance, as a method of trying to get a sense of the people in my class and their skills levels, I started the class with an introduction to me, and then had them go around and say their name and their experience with GIS or Maps. While it took some time (5 minutes) it really helped me get a sense of who was in the class so I could tailor the experience toward what ended up being my audience. My audience for this event was mainly students with some GIS experience and internet experience, so I taught the class at a higher level than I would normally, doing things like comparing something to XML or assuming people could get my website and click on some links. I also included an evaluation form on the website, so that I could get quick evaluation and feedback as I may teach this workshop for the class later this semester.
What was also generally interesting to me about the ADDIE reading was how much time was on the class was not spent teaching the class. There was an amazing of prepwork and reflection built into the model. Following the model clearly lead just by the sheer number of steps to more time spent on a workshop. I didn’t know if this could entirely be legitimized in all situations. Certainly it makes sense when one is a Instruction Librarian and this is your full time job many steps makes sense. But what about the many thoughtful library volunteers who teach classes in their spare time? How could this model be adapted to fit their needs?
In terms of the screencasting readings, I will say that not every screencast is a one-shot workshop. Clearly the module described in Yelinek et al 2008 was much more modular and actually was a series of workshops. I will say that as part of my Drupal class last semester, I did watch many, many screencasts and tutorials. Sometimes, they were useful and the screencast medium was the best way to convey the information. Other times, I could have used a sentence or a document I could CRL+F through to get to the part where I was actually having problems. Screencasts also are problematic because they are really hard to evaluate. Using something like Google Analytics, you may be able to find out how many people opened the page of the screencast or maybe watched it. But it really doesn’t tell you much about how they responded to it, what they learned and how they felt about the experience in the same way that having the people in person would or event if they had been forced to interact with a series of links.
Despite its problems, I see screencasting as a good trend. I do the majority of my homework not during 9-5 times, usually the night before they are due. Even as a total library lover, I never have the foresight to attend the workshop before this period of rapid productivity. I am more likely to use a resource that fits this workflow. I can attend the workshop via screencast at midnight, something that I could never do nor want to do with an in person workshop. I use screencasting often at the reference desk on chat reference because it helps me quickly show a user how to navigate a series of links and quickly trouble shot problems. It’s a great resource for many exciting things.