(My puns are getting worse. I must be near the end.)
For this assignment, I “attended” a webinar entitled “Off the Shelf: Looking Beyond Libraries for Innovation and Inspiration” by Marshall Shore over at the Infopeople website. I was excited about the prospect of the webinar, but I was a bit frustrated by the execution. Not that I dislike the concept of webinars alltogether – I think they’re fabulous and have enormous potential – it’s just that the one I picked had a few problems that overwhelmed the enjoyment of the thing, which I’ll get to in a moment.
I attend a few of these during my graduate studies at Emporia State. The user would plug their headphones into the computer and the instructor would present an online lecture, usually accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation, which further illustrated the larger point. Webinars have enormous potential – properly made, they’re an interactive classroom lecture that can reach out to the farthest corners of the internet – as long as you have the technology to play the webinar, you’re solid. This doesn’t necessarily have to stop with academic lectures – companies and institutions can use them for orientation and, especially, training.
(Somewhat related to this, I helped a patron with this a few weeks ago – he was looking for resources that could help him with training for his Commercial Drivers License – our library didn’t have anything for him, and he had some difficulty with English, so I searched YouTube for him and found a series of instructional videos that helped him out. YouTube and Webinars aren’t exactly the same thing, but perhaps in the same ballpark. Anyway.)
So! Back to the webinar dude. The reason I didn’t like it was because the presenter was obviously outside on a cell phone while recording – you could hear the wooshing of wind, quiet snippets of conversation in the background, and even passing cars. Disctracting. A proper place for recording webinars is a quiet, controlled environment, free of distractions.
That goes for listening to webinars, too.