Web 2.0: Connecting with the Community Using Social Software
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
Aug 7, 2007 - Sep 3, 2007 & Sept 11, 2007 - Oct 9, 2007
Library staffs have put tremendous energy into making their libraries the physical hubs of their communities. Many, however, have not taken advantage of technology to build community online. Over the past few years we have seen online communities spring up around blogs, wikis, Flickr, MySpace, and other social networking vehicles. In light of this, library staffs should consider how to:
- Create collaboration and community online
- Provide your library with a human face beyond its walls
- Explore new means to communicate with, and market to, your users
- Position your library as the online hub of your community
Workshop Description: This four-week online course will demystify the popular social software tools commonly known as "Web 2.0" while providing you with the skills necessary to use, select, and implement social software in your library for the purposes of outreach and community-building. You will learn how to use these tools to help you better connect to your community through online outreach.
Through examples from libraries using these tools for community outreach, and through actual use of the tools, you will learn how social technologies work and how they might be implemented in your library setting to connect with your community. During this course, you will actually create a blog and use it throughout the course, edit a wiki, sign up with an RSS aggregator, and get a Flickr account—all of which will be focused on how these tools can be used for outreach and community connectivity. The instructor will provide cheat sheets, recommended readings, webliographies, and practical tips for each topic—these can be used long after the course has ended.
During the course, you will be doing exercises, participating in online discussion forums, and taking part in either one or two live chat sessions with your instructor and classmates.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Module One: Using Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Social Software, and Blogs to Connect with Your Community
- Review of the concept of Web 2.0 and how Library 2.0 evolved from it
- The concept of social software and how it differs from Web 2.0
- How blogs can be used to start a conversation with your patrons and build community online
- Module Two: RSS, Wikis, MySpace and Other Online Community Tools
- How RSS can be used to increase visibility of library collections and services
- How wikis can be used to collaboratively develop an online community with your patrons
- How MySpace can be used as a portal to library services where your teenage patrons are
- Module Three: Flickr, Podcasting, and Vodcasting
- How Flickr can be used to put a human face on the library
- How podcasting and vodcasting can be used to engage patrons
- Module Four: Effectively Implementing Social Software at Your Library - Planning, Partnerships, and Promotion
- Determining which tool(s) are the best to use in your setting
- Planning for social software implementation in such a way that secures staff and patron buy-in
- Ideas for partnering with other community organizations and promoting your new social software services
Online Learning Details:
This four-week course will be taught online using the web. When you register, you will receive a registration confirmation that will include the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password.
Every student proceeds through the online learning modules at his or her own pace. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to do that week's assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first week of the course to begin the course work.
Your instructor will be available for limited consultation support for two weeks after the official end date of a course, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that, to give those who have fallen behind time to work independently on the course. However, you will be expected to accomplish the majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first four weeks.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the library community with an interest in marketing, public relations, and/or outreach in libraries of all kinds. This includes librarians and support staff engaged in public service work at the library, staff members involved in development of their library's web content, and those in positions who are specifically responsible for marketing, public relations, and/or outreach.
This course is taught over the web. You must:
- Have an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.
- Be able to save Microsoft Word .doc or Adobe .pdf files to your computer and print them out. (For .doc files, a free Word Viewer is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en. Search for "Word Viewer." For .pdf files, a free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html).
- Be comfortable navigating on the web and navigating back and forward on a website that uses frames.
System Requirements: The online learning product that Infopeople uses is called Angel. The following are minimum system requirements for using Angel. You will need access to a computer that has at least these specifications to participate in an online course:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Netscape 7.1 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- Mozilla 1.4 and above (which is the same engine as Netscape 7.1), Safari 2.0 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- OS X and above (OS 9 will NOT work with our online learning product)
To be successful in this course, you should also be able to play audio and video on your computer, which may mean installing free plugins such as Flash or Quicktime (many computers come with these pre-installed) and playing audio through your computer or external speakers. Some of the websites we will be examining may be blocked at your workplace, so you might need to access them at home.
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Course Start: This four-week-long online learning course starts on August 7, 2007.