The New Reference Shelf

As technology evolves, promoting digital literacy through online video.

GUEST COLUMN | by Laurie Burruss

CREDIT lyndaCampusTechnology continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, making software skills and digital literacy critical to student and employee success in the 21st century. Community college educators and CIOs increasingly teach these skills through the successful implementation, launch, and ongoing use of campus-wide online video instruction. Offering training in technology, creative, and business skills is a strategic mandate for 21st century success in education, and academic institutions are rallying around online resources to support student, faculty, and staff development.

Playlists and the ever-growing catalog of video courses on technology, business, and creative skills provide staff, faculty and students a way to discover, share and deepen the learning impact.

Online video libraries, including services like lynda.com, Pluralsight, Khan Academy and Udemy, provide a place to search and find, watch and learn, and—most importantly—create and do. Shared playlists have become the “new reference bookshelf” where projects, course materials, division prerequisites, textbook replacement, and assigned and curated learning paths are all possible methods to support the stakeholders in the online learning environment at a campus. These playlists and the ever-growing catalog of video courses on technology, business, and creative skills provide all members—staff, faculty and students—a way to discover, share and deepen the learning impact.

At Indian Hills Community College in southeastern Iowa, David Massey serves as the Director of the Online Learning and Web Marketing. Every student attending Indian Hills uses lyndaCampus as a supplement for a campus-wide required course that meets the digital literacy initiative adopted at that campus. Jay Fields, CTO at City College of San Francisco, uses a partial lyndaCampus solution for staff and faculty that supports online training and learning both at the workplace and in developing courses for the adopted learning management system (LMS).

Choosing the right online training partner is a process that requires the stakeholders across the institution to select, research and evaluate the range and types of solutions, and then come to a consensus on the best choice for implementation and integration.

After you’ve chosen an online training partner, there are many benefits of having a system-wide online learning solution such as the use of video to supplement existing curricula, enhance the classroom learning experience, and provide on-demand, just-in-time training for staff and more.

Once your campus is up-and-running with an online training partner, there are some best practices for implementation, increasing adoption and on-going engagement for your targeted users. Here’s a short list from Massey and Fields:

  • Marketing and Communications tools:
    • Announce training opportunities in the campus newspaper or newsletters,
    • Email students, faculty and staff to alert them of training opportunities, and
    • Posters, stickers, pencils and desktop shortcuts in media labs and library kiosks as easy reminders that training is available.
  • A well-designed web portal page that includes the partner logo, a short description, a “Top 10” list of courses or a staff-recommended list, and multiple URL links to the campus portal from a variety of websites on campus.
  • On-going Initiatives for professional development opportunities for student, faculty and staff, including Lunch ‘n’ Learn Workshops for faculty and staff or campus-wide conversions from one version of software to another.

Learner-centric initiatives are the way of the future—but the future is now. Using on-demand training through online video to promote digital literacy eliminates the fear of “keeping up” or “knowing it all” by providing a safe, personalized and judgment-free environment for learning. As 2015 approaches, think about ways to better prepare your campus for 21st century success.

Laurie Burruss is an Education Innovation Advisor at lynda.com. A professor of interaction design and director of the Digital Media Center at Pasadena City College, Laurie has been a speaker at Macworld, Adobe MAX, SIGGRAPH, and the New Media Consortium Summer Conference. Laurie’s passion for digital storytelling has led her to serve as an education consultant at lynda.com, where she supports academic initiatives.

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