Using Elluminate Live! to deliver Library training 2010


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Delivered at 'Web 2.0 Untangled: Reaching and teaching our users with new technologies' at Wolfson College, Oxford on 24th November 2010.

The event was organised by CILIP's University, College and Research (UC&R) Group and College of Further and Higher Education (CoFHE) group.

Published in: Education, Technology
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  • Introduce myself
    Learning and Teaching Librarian at OU Library and also the training co-ordinator – this encompasses both face-to-face training for on-campus staff and also online training for our students and tutors.
  • This is what I’m going to cover
  • Why is the Open University using the web conferencing tool Elluminate?
    The Open University (or OU) was the world's first successful distance teaching university, founded on the belief that communications technology could bring high quality degree-level learning to people who had not had the opportunity to attend traditional campus universities.
    Originally, communications technology meant TV, radio, audio recordings, books. Now, it also includes synchronous and asynchronous communication via the Internet.
    Why is the OU Library using web conferencing?
    In anticipation of the snow tomorrow, I’ve chosen this photo of the Library building on the OU campus in Milton Keynes. The OU has 250,000 students. Most of those will never visit the Library building.
    At a traditional campus-based university, you’re usually given a library induction within the first few days of your course. You’re told how to find the print and online collections and where to go for help. Our students don’t get this – even though the majority of our collections are now online and accessible 24 hours a day from anywhere with an internet connection.
    Elluminate has enabled us to give library inductions to students all over the world (W africa, Florida…)
    Centra pilot 2006-7
    We started exploring web conferencing software to deliver library training back in 2006. We piloted a web conferencing system called Centra (v similar to Elluminate). When the institution purchased a site licence for Elluminate, we jumped on the bandwagon.
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible
    The sessions we offer
    Go to VLE workspace and show list:
    Explain that we can only use Elluminate via Moodle, our VLE
    These are fairly typical library training sessions.
    Anyone with an OU sign-on can access this page and attend sessions – staff, tutors, current students and students who’s login is still valid (up to 3 years after they’ve finished their last module).
    We record all sessions for training and quality assurance purposes, but we don’t make these available due to data protection reasons. What we do instead is record a session with just a trainer in the room – and make these available (see ‘Recorded sessions’ page)
  • This is a screenshot from a session a couple of weeks ago. I’ve obscured the names for data protection reasons. In a typical session we use the desktop sharing functionality to demonstrate something (in this case Sheila is demonstrating how to search for ebooks) and we then use a ‘Web Tour’ to give the students the opportunity to have a go themselves.
    Practical considerations
    We book a meeting room in the library and take a laptop so that there are no interruptions or background noise
    We’ve recently reduced the opening hours of the building, so in order to deliver evening and weekend sessions we need to do it from home. No problems so far.
    We prepare all content in advance – we write a script and prepare the agenda
    Adapting face-to-face sessions
    We restrict the sessions to 1 hour and we try to make them as interactive as possible – encouraging questions and feedback (polling buttons) and encouraging use of emoticons to show agreement, applause etc. (you can’t see their faces so need something other than visual clues to understand if participants are engaged)
    We try not to present too much information in one go - we have to be very disciplined in the content we include. We’ve had to remove lots of content from our face-to-face sessions
    Numbers of attendees
    We can ask people to sign up in advance, but it is admin intensive. To save costs, the sessions are open to unlimited participants. This means that if you have lots of attendees it inhibits interactivity (more like a lecture) and you need someone to field questions.
    Training students
    We don’t do this, apart from a 5 min overview at beginning of session
    On the VLE page we provide links to OU Computing Guide, Elluminate System Check and participants training on Elluminate website
    Show recording (Katharine’s v9.7 room)
    To give you an idea of what a session looks like I’m going to show a snippet of a session that my colleague Katharine recently ran. The attendees in the session are all library staff – she was using us as guinea pigs before launching the session on students.
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible
    18 minutes in – ‘Which of these is plagiarism?’
    Drag and drop activity. Get them to put their hands up and drag a smiley face or red cross to each statement.
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible
    23:05 – Putting a book reference together
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible
    30:23 - Fill in the missing words
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible
    32:31 - Reflection
  • Screenshot in case of Internet problems – show live if possible, i.e. open the Sandpit and launch a plan file
    What is Plan?
    Enables you to create an agenda in advance – once you load it into the session all you do is click on the next arrows and it does everything for you (launches application shares, starts recording, loads whiteboard slides etc.)
    Why are we using it?
    We’re running the same sessions over and over again, so it allows us to prepare everything in advance. Along with the script that we write it enables a new moderator to deliver a session with little preparation.
    Some colleagues have commented that they feel constrained by the scripts and Plan files, that they would like to be able to go off-script sometimes. The confidence to be able to do this comes with experience. You don’t have to stick to the Plan – at any time you can create a new whiteboard or launch a Web Tour.
  • Centra pilot in 2006/7 = 2 people trained-up (myself included)
    Then first year of using Elluminate, 7 people trained-up
    Then March 2010 training session for rest of subject librarians (another 9 people)
    Mentoring – those who had already delivered sessions mentored newbies so that they were ready to deliver sessions by September.
    What did the mentors get the mentees to do?
    We get them to listen to recordings of sessions that have already been run
    All the scripts and plan files have been created – so don’t need to worry about content
    They can shadow sessions
    We practice with 2 computers set-up side by side so that we can see the student view and the trainer view at the same time
    Lots of opportunities for practice and to ask questions
  • In anticipation of this talk I asked my colleagues for their feedback on the training and mentoring process. I’ve grouped their feedback into the following categories and I’ll read out some of their comments…
    “Overcoming” the technology (and fear)
    “I found it all a bit of a challenge at first… I am much happier now that I have few under my belt. Before the first I was really worried, but once all went smoothly, I felt much better”
    “The actual content of the sessions is not the issue, its dealing with the technology!!”
    “Quite intimidating to start with: juggling the technology, trying to watch all parts of the interface, remember all the buttons AND deliver the session. But it soon got easier”
    “I was nervous and still felt rather daunted by Elluminate before the training session. However, the session went well and I was on a high afterwards! I have come down from this now, but enjoy delivering the sessions and have overcome the worries about technical glitches (although I mustn’t be too complacent)”
    “I love training and feel quite relaxed about it generally, so once I had mastered the actual technology, I could start to get beyond the tricky bits and start to think about the tool itself and the training to be delivered”
    “Elluminate in general isn’t too difficult to use and my communication/training skills seem to have transferred from F2F to online quite well, but I do find it hard to get my head around the interface and move through different tools…while speaking”
    “[I was] surprised at how quickly the time went and actually enjoyed the session and feedback from participants. [I] feel more confident now but [I’m] still worried about possible technical difficulties that participants may have with their audio; and it takes practice to handle the script as well as respond to questions”
    You need an audience
    “One of the most useful things we did was to be each other’s students and ask ‘disruptive questions’”
    “One person playing the student was really helpful especially when they asked lots of questions during the session as it made it feel more like a ‘live’ session would. It also makes you aware of how you would cope with technical issues or awkward questions”
    Virtual versus face-to-face
    “It’s weird talking to a computer, and I don’t like not being able to see peoples’ faces. But it has a wide reach, and also does allow shy people to ask a question via text chat when they might not in a face to face [session]”
    “[It’s] very odd delivering training in that way initially as [there’s] no non-verbal feedback from participants. You can’t tell if they’re bored, engaged, trying the activity or having problems and not saying…”
    “I feel that the technology is a barrier to interaction (in comparison to face-to-face sessions) and I suppose there is a part of me that feels old and doesn’t like change”
    Seeing what a student sees
    “Seeing what a student sees is also useful, as it helps you get used to the interface from the students viewpoint and notice things you’re doing wrong, e.g. moving the cursor around too much, dragging the screen around too much”
    Shadowing and listening to recordings
    “What’s been really useful is looking at past sessions - its helps to see how others run them, and the pace that they present. Other people also cover things in their sessions which I had never thought of mentioning. I think all of us should have a go at listening to each other’s sessions.”
    Mentoring, small groups and peer feedback
    “Mentoring also meant I felt I really was learning at my own pace with no pressure”
    “It was great to be in a small group of 3 when getting trained up rather a big class environment”
    “Having them [the mentor] sit with you in the first few sessions is really useful in case of technical errors (or login problems!). It’s really useful getting feedback too after the live sessions.
    “Although cascading training is one way of doing it, it is important to ensure everyone has the same confidence and knowledge with using the software before they are called on to train others.”
    “Mentoring was a bit patchy because my mentor was very busy”
    “It’s hard to practice realistically without an ‘audience’ so having one person I can always go to saves asking around for people to practice on and/or help me”
    “They get to informally track my development, and this can help identify recurring problems and predict issues in preparation for live sessions”
    “It was very helpful to have an experienced Elluminate mentor to sit in on the first couple of sessions”
    “I think we have a great team spirit and the way in which people reviewed others work, and helped out on early sessions really showed that brilliantly”
    “Mentoring really useful plus having an Elluminate partner to practice with so helpful with good feedback as you learn”
    “Good, where possible, to work with colleagues as a small group to practice”
    Practice, practice, practice
    “Initial training covered it all but lots of practice needed”
    “I think it worked well just getting stuck into using Elluminate straightaway. Less theory and more practice!”
    “Lots of practice needed before first session”
    “We were a little slower at getting started with the training as there were other work commitments, on hindsight I think we needed to be really strict at blocking out time in our calendars”
    “Felt as though I'd had a brief overview, and needed to get on with training as quickly as possible, which simply wasn't possible owing to other work commitments
    “The problem is, I don’t have time to run (or practice) the sessions very frequently so every time I approach one I enter the preparation with that ‘out of practice’ rusty feeling”
    “Really need to give sessions fairly regularly, especially at first, to build up expertise”
    The students are grateful and forgiving
    “Once a participant solved a problem for another person as they had been in previous Elluminate sessions!”
    “I was very nervous before delivering my first session (despite loving training F2F) but the positive feedback I got from attendees and my mentor gave me confidence”
  • This is so far in 2010…up to 2nd November when I collated the stats
  • We’re very pleased with this – 92% of attendees would definitely recommend a session.
    “This should be mandatory training for all new students.”
    “ I wished it had come sooner as it would have avoided so many frustrating hours spent.”
    “Five years with the OU. Can't believe I've missed all this”
    “It was very nice to see a face from the invisible army who beaver away in Walton Hall, making the OU the remarkable institution it is”
    “ What you have just shown me now has absolutely thrilled me, but I do suggest that you need to push it to the other students quite strongly”
    “All OU students need to get using the Library resources, which are fabulous but I didn't really know how to access them before”
    “This has been very useful - quicker and more interesting than just reading through the guides”
  • Just to remind us that spring always comes…
    Peer review
    We are about to pilot a peer observation or peer review scheme over the next few months. Observers during the pilot will be experienced trainers and participation by those to be observed is voluntary. It will be confidential and constructive and targeted to the needs of and ‘owned’ by the observed
    Library Helpdesk surgeries
    We’ve had this in the back of our minds for a while, but haven’t done anything about it yet.
    Similar to face-to-face drop-in sessions
    You can ask anything to do with Library services and resources.
    Regular review of session topics
    We’ve decided not to target specific courses or programmes. Need to ensure topics remain relevant.
    More interactivity
    Make recordings more widely available
    Putting recordings on website or YouTube or Library website…
  • When we asked people to sign-up in advance, we had their email address so we used to send out follow-up surveys 3 months after the sessions. We had a very poor response rate unfortunately.
    Throw question open to audience: how do you think we can measure the impact?
  • Questions?
  • Using Elluminate Live! to deliver Library training 2010

    1. 1. Using Elluminate Live! to deliver Library training Helen Clough, 24th November 2010
    2. 2. • Why? • What we’ve learned • Feedback • Next steps
    3. 3. ‘OU Library in the snow - Milton Keynes, England’ by Scorpions and Centaurs Why?
    4. 4. Training the trainer • Training session in March 2010 • 7 mentors with 1 or 2 mentees each • Ready to deliver 1st session by September
    5. 5. • “Overcoming” the technology (and fear) • You need an audience • Virtual versus face-to-face • Seeing what a student sees • Shadowing and listening to recordings • Mentoring, small groups and peer feedback • Practice, practice, practice • The students are grateful and forgiving What we’ve learned
    6. 6. Feedback (so far in 2010) • 719 participants at 81 sessions • 444 feedback forms
    7. 7. Please rate your knowledge/skills on the subject covered before and after the session 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Excellent Good Fair Poor No response % Before After
    8. 8. Will the topics covered be of use to you when studying, teaching or researching? Yes, 417 No response, 3 Maybe, 23 No, 1
    9. 9. Please rate the trainer on the following: response to your questions Excellent, 282 Good, 130 Fair, 5 Poor, 2 No response, 25
    10. 10. Please rate the trainer on the following: presentation skills Excellent, 270 Good, 148 Fair, 17 Poor, 1 No response, 8
    11. 11. Please rate the trainer on the following: pace/level Excellent, 239Good, 169 Fair, 21 Poor, 2 No response, 13
    12. 12. Would you recommend this event to another tutor or student? Definitely, 407 Possibly, 22 Not at all, 2 No response, 13
    13. 13. 'Kents Hill meadow' by Scorpions and Centaurs Next steps
    14. 14. '******* to The Open University' by dougclow Measuring the impact?
    15. 15. Helen Clough