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Reaching Out With WebEx

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

It was a busy summer.  If you ask any of my fellow coworkers, I’m sure that they’ll agree.  As you read in my previous post, a lot of the summer was devoted to getting up to speed with Moodle, but that wasn’t our only experience with new technology.  We also got a crash course in WebEx – a pretty fantastic web conferencing software that allows users to meet, share information, and get work done – all online.  For a long time, WebEx was limited to corporate users, but it has been steadily expanding outside of the boardroom and we picked it up after experimenting with a similar service called Illuminate.

So what’s a library going to use WebEx for?  The real question is, “What can’t we use it for?”  The official reason we go WebEx was to support the new 100% distance classes being offered in the School of Human Services and we’ve already started to use it in this capacity to train faculty.  No one here in the library, however, thought that would be it.  Up until now, we have done all of our information literacy workshops for the SHS campuses (10 across the US) using video conference technology, but WebEx will allow us to create more interactive workshops.  And that’s not all….

One of my professors in the School of Physical Education and Health Education asked if I could help with two of her Ph.D. candidates who are preparing their literature review.  “No problem,” I said, but one of them was in Maine.  They assumed that we’d have to converse through e-mail, but I told them about WebEx and asked them if they’d like to give it a try.  They were more than happy to give it a shot so we “met” online last Monday and I answered her research questions.  During the hour, I was able to speak with her, share my screen so that she could see what I was trying to demonstrate, and I even let her share her screen with me.  It was an experiment, but everyone agreed that it was a big success.

The more we use WebEx, the more we see the potential it gives us to reach out to our students.  How would you use WebEx?

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