The Web is the New Pencil

As a librarian I see a lot of different habits and workflows when it comes to finding and organizing information from the web.  No matter what discipline we might be in or position we might hold in academia, we all use web browsers and digital information every day, and yet many of us still struggle with how to manage all the searching, writing, and organizing we need to do across this wealth of information.

My hybrid course is slightly different in that it is actually a series of individual workshops for specific skills, rather than a complete credit class.  This creates the opportunity (and challenge) of arranging the online materials for the workshops in such a way that participants (be they students, faculty, or staff) can have some flexibility in how they approach the different segments – either sequentially building up from basic skills to more advanced lessons, or jumping from one topic to another as their interests and needs lead them.

At the most basic level, this “course” (or workshop series) will be a collection of blog posts summarizing the skill in question, offering some resources for more information, and describing hands-on activities available for classes or in-person workshops.  I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from collaborative programs like York University’s 23 Things and the Personal Knowledge Management blog.

I do fantasize about offering this series as an online non-credit class – like a mini-MOOC or a professional development opportunity – where the hybrid elements become synchronous and asynchronous pieces rather than online and face-to-face.  I see this as a mix of weekly synchronous chats with asynchronous discussion threads and individual exercises.  Since it would be non-credit, participants would have options for how involved in the class / workshop they want to be according to how much time they want to spend on each module.

According to Arthur C. Clarke, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” By the end of this course I hope students will feel comfortable enough with the ubiquitous advanced technology that is the web to feel like magicians in their own right.

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About Sara Q. Thompson

OSU-Cascades Librarian in beautiful Bend, Oregon
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One Response to The Web is the New Pencil

  1. Julie says:

    Hi Sara,

    I love the idea of having students (or others) take this courses as part of a non-credit course (or maybe even an elective credit course). It might work something like the badge system that is talked about. To earn a badge in X (you name it) students need to complete (for example) 5 of 7 units, providing evidence of mastery through some type of a product. If synchronous/asynchronous mechanisms are used, students could complete modules as they need them for a given task. Real “just in time” learning!

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