Online Training for Texas Library Staff
Christine McNew, Youth Services Consultant, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
A goal of the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is to bring continuing education to Texas library staff. In 2006, the Library Development Division entered the 24/7 virtual learning environment with self-paced, online continuing education courses. In a state as vast as Texas, courses that are unrestricted by time or location are an especially valuable supplement to face-to-face, videoconference, and teleconference courses.
Naomi DiTullio, Library Development Division distance learning consultant, created the first online course—LD101: Introduction to Distance Learning. This course provides Texas library staff with a basic understanding of distance learning so that they are better able to identify, utilize, and benefit from continuing and higher education opportunities that are available to them via distance. Youth services consultant Christine McNew developed the second course in 2007; LD501: Lapsit Programs for Infants and Caregivers provides information about child development, early literacy, and planning and presenting library programs for infants and caregivers. Two courses soon to be developed are Grant Basics and Collaboration between School and Public Librarians.
TSLAC utilizes Moodle, an open-source course management system that facilitates online learning and tracks learner progress. The Moodle interface is user-friendly, and a template developed by TSLAC ensures consistency and branding. The courses take advantage of the many options available in Moodle. In addition to content developed by library development staff using productivity software such as Word or Excel, there are forums with threaded discussions, audio and video-recordings, Powerpoint slide shows, pre- and post-assessment quizzes with multiple-choice and true or false questions, and links to external Web sites. The multimedia presentations stimulate visual and auditory learners to maintain focus and interest. The threaded forums are particularly valuable in building online community and facilitating the sharing of ideas. The many links to external Web sites provide depth and breadth of knowledge and opportunities for further learning.
After registering, students may use their passwords for thirty days to access and complete a course. Library development staff moderate the courses, and the TSLAC provides continuing education credit to librarians who complete them.