IL2007: Tech tools for outreach

Chad Boeninger and Paul Pival

[fantastic.  They set up a Meebo chat room to capture the backchannel communications of the session.]

Why provide outreach?  “we need to stop thinking of our lovingly crafted sites, designed specifically for a particular collection, as the only way people will discover our content.”  from Shifting Gears report.   And, Joe Janes from yesterday.  [Yes.]

Chad insists on abandoning slides.  Heh.  Talking about using blogs for more than just news — use them for surveys, polls, info lit class prep work, and other feedback loops, which then generates a second feedback loop in which they have to go to your blog to do the thing, and then they’re more likely to go back to the blog for other things because they’ve now been there.  But be careful — if a blog gets too big, or goes too far or too broad, it becomes less useful for its original purpose.  Use the appropriate tech for the appropriate task.

Consider the impact of the bad assignment — the faculty member says “go ask the library”, and all 80 of them wait ’til the last minute.  And you try to help them, but you do a sucktastic job with about 20 of them because it’s last minute, it’s rushed, and you don’t have the time or energy to help them all.  So… how can you use technology to make it work better, both for you, and for them?  And if you make it work better, won’t they then have a higher opinion of you and your services?  Clearly.

And use all of those tools to make yourself into a person.  Chad references Immersion, talking about opening up yourself to your students in order to be more effective in interacting with them.  30 people in the audience on Facebook, only 1 aggressively friending their students.  Chad advocates the laid-back approach; just be available if they want you.

Also advocating Meebo as a tool to use in websites, but to consider other options and tools to manage Meebo.  Constant development going on.  Also, with Meebo embedding, you can put that same single contact in multiple places — it’s the epitome of “be somewhere and be everywhere”.  Your contact information and easy connection channel = students who can find you when they want you.

And then there’s VOIP — Skype for video and audio chat.  (For a distance ed librarian, this is communication mecca.)  Even inside the building, it’s useful — “Librarian in a box” kiosk that has video chat on it on remote floors.  “right now it’s kind of scary, but the potential is there.” Consider also that XBo360 and PS3 are incorporating cameras along with their voice communication on multiplayer, so people will be getting more and more accustomed to this communication model. — allows screencapture and sharing with point-and-click and drag-and-drop interface, both ‘share’ and ’embed’.  Can be image or video.  [ye gods, why would we ever pay for QuestionPoint and the like when we can do this?  This is one of the best on-the-fly products I’ve seen yet.]

“How many of you have an FAQ type thing?  How’s that maintained?”  The only response from the audience:  Laughter.  Right.  We don’t maintain things…  And he shows us a very cool software application — KnowledgeBase Publisher.  Make an FAQ, have it be searchable and taggable, and then let users rate the utility of your topics.  And put your Meebo widget into each page, so that people can ask for help if your FAQ doesn’t answer their question.  [Also with the awesome.]

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