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ReferenceWORK:

06 March 2006 

Online education is such a joy - especially when it is free! I started taking a couple of classes at the Barnes and Noble University and the online course setup made me wonder whether it would be a good idea for libraries to educate patrons via free classes online. With all the lessons posted for a 4-week period, users can read lessons at their own pace and even chat with others who are taking the class at BNU. I am not aware of any library that offers classes online for free and I wonder about the logistics of making such a class available (please forgive my ignorance).

Obviously, screencasts of classes would be beneficial to those who cannot physically attend library workshops and, considering the growth of educational video podcasts (Example: MIT), there is definitely an interest. Making screencasts available that explain the Dewey system, teaches patrons to conduct research in a library and so forth would be a start. Add some printable PDF lessons/exercises, with a forum to ask questions, and you have a "myLibrary University" environment. Meanwhile, I need to think about possible applications that would specifically benefit the job-seeking patrons (my coffee buzz is dwindling).

I have a feeling that Greg (Schwartz) is going to have oodles to share with me on this topic tomorrow (ah, that silly hippie). If your library offers something like this, please e-mail me at reference.work [at] gmail.com.