Building an online learning community for blended librarians
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Building an Online Learning Community for "Blended" Librarians. Steven J. Bell, Philadelphia University Steve Gilbert, TLT Group Hope Kandel, Learning Times Network John Shank, Penn State Berks. Introducing Our Panel.

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Building an online learning community for blended librarians

Building an Online Learning Community for "Blended" Librarians

Steven J. Bell, Philadelphia UniversitySteve Gilbert, TLT Group

Hope Kandel, Learning Times NetworkJohn Shank, Penn State Berks

Introducing our panel

Introducing Our Panel

Moderator: Steven Bell, Director of the Library Philadelphia University


Steve Gilbert, President, Teaching, Learning and Technology Group

Hope Kandel, Director of Operations Learning Times Network

John Shank, Director of the Center for Learning Technologies and Instructional Design Librarian, Penn State Berks

About our program

About Our Program

  • Dialogue with the panelists about the value of organizational collaboration in creating online learning communities

  • Learn about Learning Times Network

  • How the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community began and evolved

  • Issues related to building and sustaining online learning communities

  • How you can get involved

What is an online learning community

What Is An Online Learning Community?

  • “A virtual environment where people come together to learn.”

  • “The members are drawn together by their mutual interests or shared challenges.”

  • “Features advanced technology such as VoIP, desktop sharing, online polling, whiteboards, etc.”

    Source: Steven Bell, “Creating Community Online.” American Libraries, April 2005, p.68

Some questions for you

Some Questions For You

  • Are you a member of or otherwise involved in an online learning community?

  • Have you participated in an online synchronous event with audio?

  • Are you familiar with: (a) TLT Group (b) Learning Times (c) Blended Librarians

Introducing hope kandel

Introducing Hope Kandel

Director, Library and Information Services

Senior Producer and Trainer


Building an online learning community for blended librarians

Why Do We Do What We Do?

Community features blending the asynchronous and synchronous

Community FeaturesBlending the Asynchronous and Synchronous

  • Learning weblogs -- text and audio

  • Live webcasts & workshops

  • Virtual conferences

  • Discussion forums

  • File repositories &image galleries

  • Meeting room

  • Instant messaging & text chat

  • Recorded archives for on-demand review

  • Voice boards

Building an online learning community for blended librarians

Learning Times and Collaborative Endeavors

  • Individual faculty members -- projects, papers and presentations

  • Global Collaboration Grants -- teachers and students from around the world

  • Online discussions to effect change -- weekly meetings for faculty support

  • Event planning -- online conferences

How it all began

How It All Began

  • Library Online Conference 2003

    • The LearningTimes Library Online Conference is a completely online community featuring innovations by information professionals worldwide.

  • ACRL/TLT Workshops

    • Effective Collaboration for Campus-wide Information Literacy: The  Blended Librarian’s Perspective on How To Make It Work

  • Blended Librarians Online Learning Community

    • Space on the Learning Times Network where Blended Librariansprogramming and activity occur

Blended librarian

Blended Librarian

  • Timeline

    • 2003 The formation

    • 2004 The Implementation

    • 2005 The Growth

  • Take a look at web site and a video clip

  • More about Blended Librarianship

    • Mission & Vision Statement

Mission statement

Mission Statement

  • Librarians, faculty, instructional designers and technologists, and other academic support personnel working collaboratively to integrate the library into the teaching and learning process…To encourage and enable academic librarians to evolve into a new role that blends existing library and information skills with those of instructional design and technology…Leverages innovation, collaboration, and communication to bring together its members in a virtual environment for professional development and learning opportunities.

Vision statement

Vision Statement

Our vision for BL is a community that:

  • Enables academic librarians to integrate instructional design and technology skills into their existing library and information technology skill set … to promote better connections with faculty and other academic support professionals.

  • Brings together librarians, faculty, and other academic support professionals to find ways to effectively collaborate …to help students achieve designated institutional learning outcomes.

Focus on professional development

Focus On Professional Development

  • Offers members access to continuing professional development through ongoing discussions and webcasts focusing on how we fit into the teaching and learning process.

  • Encouraging librarians to support faculty’s integration of technology, library resources, and information fluency into their courses through the development of digital learning materials.

What happens in the community

What Happens In The Community

  • Webcasts

  • Chats

  • Discussion boards

  • Resource sharing

  • Professional announcements

What does the future hold

What Does the Future Hold

“…jobs utilizing new and more pervasive technologies have appeared, representing a kind of professional transformation.”

Joan Starr

Biggest challenge

Biggest Challenge

  • Overload; Too many attractive options; Expectations exceed resources


  • Inadequate priority, time, money, collaboration

  • Who cares? Why bother? Who can help me/us? Whom can I/we help?

Chaos coalition community

Chaos  Coalition  Community

  • When is a community not a community?

    • Multi-dimensional

    • Stake in each others’ lives

    • Joys and sorrows

    • [Include the people who wear uniforms when they work?]

  • What kinds of communities or groups can function best/worst online? Purely online? Why are we here today?

Tlt group focuses on themes tlt group looks for issues that fit



Dangerous Discussions


Professional Development


Blended Librarianship

Information Literacy

Class Size

Student Course Evaluations

Lifelong Learning

TLT Group focuses on themesTLT Group looks for issues that fit…

Building an online learning community for blended librarians



Dangerous discussions

Dangerous Discussions

  • Select issues

    • Significant, controversial, and tractable

  • Bring diverse stakeholders together for civil, constructive conversations

    • (Re)Formulate issues fairly and inclusively

    • Share essential information, useful options

    • Keep asking: “How can we help each other?”“How can we work together?”

    • Develop/use guidelines, techniques, technologies, …

  • Develop solutions

    • Challenge, implement, test, and improve solutions

Lessons from online institute

Lessons from Online Institute

  • Commitment to teams, multiple roles for leader/presenters

  • Challenge, desirability of getting teams to participate as registrants

  • Continuing effort to balance technology flexibility, ease of use, reliability, quality of audio, etc.

  • Who has enough time? No assignments?

Sustainability community building

Sustainability & Community Building

  • Lessons from Hope

  • Lessons from SteveG

  • Lessons from John & StevenB

Discussion points

Discussion Points

How does LearningTimes foster

collaborative projects?

How can collaboration be fostered online?

Why work online together?

What are we doing in Orlando that we could doonline in a community and what can we do here

that we can’t do in an online community?

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