Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 16th Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning

The 16th Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning was a great way to see what others are doing in distance education and to determine how we measured (in relation to others) in terms of technology use in providing services at a distance. I found some of our services (at Excelsior) to be more advanced in the area of course development and collaborating with faculty.

The overall conference covered the online environment and the impact it has had on all facets of education; from the online courses and student participation to the design of the courses and research studies that show evidence of improvements in learning as a result of delivering education at a distance; faculty training and development of online courses; and the implementation of online courses across programs and on the institutional level.

Collaboration amongst educators, instructional designers and other support services was the theme, throughout the conference. Assessment of services and how they can be improved was brought to the forefront as a result of data collected from relevant research. The researchers shared their findings and indicated ideas for future studies to continue to assess online education.

Many of the premier institutions in online education were represented at the conference. For detailed information about the conference you can visit the website for the conference proceedings below:

Conference Proceedings:

Recorded Sessions:

Post Conference Page:

I would highly recommend this conference to anyone interested in distance education trends and challenges. I am happy to chat more about it, if you are interested feel free to contact me!

Anita Norton-ELP

Good Practices for Great Outcomes: Cataloging Efficiencies

Several weeks ago, I attended a day-long workshop hosted by OCLC at the Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Neighborhood Library in Washington D.C. The day was broken up into two main parts. In the morning, we heard presentations from a number of folks on a variety of topics. After general introductions, Christopher Cole, the Associate Director for Technical Services at the National Agricultural Library, spoke about trends in technical services. Coming to the position with the benefit of years of experience, Cole provided some interesting insights into where we as a profession have come from, and where he thinks we are going. Although there were few surprises in the outlook he presented (more automation, more reuse of metadata, more cooperation with partners outside the library world), it was nonetheless interesting to hear such musings presented in Cole's affable manner.

Cole's presentation was followed up by a talk given by the Senior Training Coordinator at OCLC, Mary Alice Robinson. The take-away that I got from Robinson's presentation was that we as a technical services department here at Hopkins are pretty far ahead of the curve when it comes to cataloging efficiencies! Robinson discussed a great many services and workflow efficiencies offered by OCLC, and we are already taking advantage of most of them. Robinson concluded her talk by discussing some of the future projects that OCLC is working on. The most interesting of these to me was an OCLC research prototype called Classify. According to OCLC's website, Classify is a FRBR-based prototype, available at, designed to assist catalogers in assigning classification numbers and subject headings. It will be very interesting to follow the progression of this prototype as it moves forward.

The second half of the day was more of a question and answer, small group discussion. These are always useful, as they give participants a great opportunity to peek into libraries and organizations around the area and see how other departments function. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss issues impacting us all with colleagues from all different kinds of libraries.