MOOC – Identifying community needs for Public Library management, course was part of Public Library Management.
I choose this course because I work in the library and community needs are something I am deeply interested in.
The course was narrated by Kristine Fontichiardo, she is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Information.
The course was divided into 7 lectures. Here you can see picture of syllabus.
I also saved time predictament for each lesson, I feel it was quite accurate to the real-time I spend on each lesson and I was pleased to have it beforehand, to see how much time to set aside for each week’s lesson.
To finish the course you have to meet these expectations:
– Quizzes – 25 %
– Environmental Scan – 25 %
– Interview Sticky Notes – 10 %
– Report 40 %
There were 7 quizzes overall because I have the free version of the course, I was unable to do any of them. An environmental scan was in 2nd lesson (more on that later) and the report was the final task.
Lesson 1: Introduction
The first lesson was quite general, but honestly, I probably enjoyed it the most. There was a little bit of history of University of Michigan School of Information, about their library, curriculum… We introduced ourselves in the chat to others and there was a quiz in the end.
Unfortunately, with a free version, I was unable to do any of the tests throw the whole course, website just informed me I need to upgrade to a paid version.
Videos were short, but there were several of them.
Lesson 2: Environmental Scan
In this part of the course, we were thinking about all the institutions and possible partners around our library. There were several tips given – as we might think of sports as well as educational groups etc. The method of writing things down on pieces of paper (like post-its) was also introduced.
Again we shared our findings in the chat and there was a quiz in the end.
Lesson 3: Finding data
In this lesson, tools for environmental scans were introduced. I found them fascinating. The main focus was on the ESRI tapestry – it is a really nice tool that shows you all sorts of information according to the searched ZIP code – you can see levels of education, income, age groups, etc. All of these are really useful information for a librarian!
The website can be found there.
But I am sorry to say this wasn’t really useful for me – all the information was relevant only in the USA. I was really disappointed because I was unable to find something similar in our environment.
We were again expected to write down our findings in the chat – I looked up some facts on a website of Český
statistický úřad. Because I need to present something, but I was jealous of all the things people in the USA can find effortlessly on this website, my research was much more time-consuming and not as relevant.
On top of that, one of the resources that were shown to us was not functioning – the course is a couple of years old and the website probably stopped working, I found it sad that it wasn’t checked by the creators of the course.
In the end, I wrote down my findings and respond to a couple of others in the chat. Another quiz in the end (there was a quiz in every lesson and I wasn’t allowed to do any of them, I won’t mention it anymore).
Lesson 4: Surveys
This week’s lesson was about surveys. It really was like a revision for me. We were talking about types of questions, how to set a questionnaire, tools we might use, Google forms, and how to fork with it was shown to us…
Honestly, if I would know, how much of this course would be this type of information, I might have chosen something else.
On the upside, there was one quote I liked very much:
“Another thing to remember about your public library, is you don´t have to do this alone. You don´t have to be a knight on the white horse. You are supposed to connect lots of white horses together in your community.”
And to not be negative overall, I gained some tips about cards we might carry with us as a librarian – once for feedback, that was kind of an interesting idea a might use in the future.
Lesson 5 : Reviewing survey data
This lesson was super-short. Mostly we looked at some tools that might help us review survey data. Mostly we worked with tools that the application (example: Google forms) gave us.
Lesson 6: Interviews
Most of these lessons were honestly kind of boring – at least for me, I heard all of these pieces of information many times already!
It was just talking about how to take interview, what to use, that you should prepare paper, pens, not use a computer, give everyone a glass of water in case they are thirsty and also so they have something to do with their hands…
Don’t take me wrong – all of these are important information, but it was really long to go throw all of this and know most of it already.
In the end, we were supposed to set up our questions and do our own interview with someone who visits our library. Considering the situation we are in now – this was honestly an impossible task, especially because it was supposed to be eye to eye interview.
I set up online (there’s no other way to do it nowadays) interview with a friendly visitor of the library, but I don’t think I learned much this way.
Lesson 7: Analysing data and report
It was interesting to see a different approach – we learned that you should transcript your recording and work with it as a written document. However, in this lesson, it was suggested we should only listen to the recording and write down our notes and do our coding this way.
It felt so strange to me! But honestly it saved so much time!
Then we worked with our notes (again on the post-it notes) and tried to work out different connections etc.
The last challenge was to write down report – several tips were given, like we should focus on our target group (it is management, our colleagues..) support everything with data and our findings…
In the end, we submitted our document for others to read and gave feedback to others.
Each week consisted of several short videos – their length worried from 3 to 10 minutes end there were usually at least 5 of them. There was also chat and test in every lesson. Some parts of the course were available only for paying peoples. Course was self-paced, but has a strict deadline – after 7 weeks you lost your access to the course and you are unable to see anything, so you must keep your progress going. Whole course was narrated by one person, Kristine Fontichiardo.
We covered first 4 tears of Bloom´s taxonomy. We lisened to the videos, try to andersant things, apply them and even analyze our data.
I really liked the narrator of this course – Kristine Fontichiardo, you can tell she really likes what she´s doing, she was enthusiastic, funny, have really good eye contact and it was overall really nice to listen to her, she was cheerefull, friendly and have a pleasant voice.
I really liked some of the tips, like using post-it notes more or go out of your general sources of information to learn more about people in your community.
I also liked fact you can download videos and watch them offline or maybe later.
One of the biggest disadvantages of the course is limited access. I was quite sad to find out that after 7 weeks I lost all of the access to the course materials, I can´t even see outline or my contributions to the chat, etc.
I found it also quite disappointing how much USA centric this course is and also how much it focused on the research. About half of the course was only about questionnaires and interviews, which are mostly information I know from my own formal education.
Overall, I can´t say I would recommend this course – as a tool for identifying community needs. Maybe it would be more helpful for someone in the USA, but for a Europe-based person, it wasn´t really that helpful.
Couse was pleasant, most of the tasks weren´t that difficult or time-consuming (apart from research and final report) but I would doubt how beneficial it was to me as a librarian, especially since I already have pretty good knowledge in research work, which formed great chunk of the course.
I think annotation of the course should be better, explain that course is really the USA focused (which is a fact you didn´t learn until the course begins) and also how much of the lessons is focused purely on „how to do research“ things such as interviews or surveys.