With the rather large load of work I’ve had the past few weeks I’ve been thinking lately about the nature of online learning. Prior to coming to SLIS, my education had been totally that of the traditional classroom setting. Online learning was a completely new experience for me and I wasn’t completely sure I would be happy with it. Though there are still aspects I don’t particularly enjoy, I’ve found that online learning offers certain advantages over the traditional classroom, technology one of the best.
Since the classes are reliant on technology to exist, the professors seem more open to new technologies. In the past 2 years I’ve been introduced to so many new programs and platforms. I don’t know that this would have been the case had I been attending in-person classes. There would have been no need to learn to use Elluminate or Collaborate. Presentations most likely would have limited to a speech and Powerpoint rather than being able to use Jing, Livebinder, Prezi, or any of the other programs I’ve had a chance to try. Blogging and wiki creation wouldn’t be as large a part of the classes as it has been.
In order to remain relevant, it’s more important than ever for libraries to keep up with the changing populations and popular technology. The days of simply checking out books are over. Librarians must be more aware of and willing to use new technologies to meet the needs of the patrons.
As I pursue a library career, I think this experience will be beneficial. A traditional classroom setting would not have given me the opportunity to experience and rely on new technologies in the same way that this online learning has. It also has given me the opportunity to practice non-traditional methods of instruction and presentation, which can help me improve the instruction I provide in my current work and any I might provide in future work. Due to this, I’m glad that I chose the online experience to pursue my degree.