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Van Houlson (non-member)'s picture

Minutes of Conference Call Meeting April 13, 2012


New Business:

Draft of MARS PD Charge (Nancy and Van)

Nancy and Van reviewed a draft forwarded by Mary Mitnz, MARS Planning, to update the committee charge and descriptive statement as a result of the merger between MARS Eduction, Training and Support and MARS Professional Development Committee.  They will share the draft with committee.

Webinar Proposal Form ( Robin)

Robin created a Google form based on what ALCTS uses to solicit webinar proposals.  Committee reviewed the form and found it comprehensive.    Discussion about how it might be customized for MARS webinar proposals.    Committee will continue to review:


Some of the issues identified by Robin

What topic areas should we list on the form?

Should presenters be required to be MARS or RSS members?

Should the forum include mention of a honorarium?

What is the best delivery system for a web based form?  (Google is easy if MARS PD could set up their own Google Documents Account--Wufoo is another possibility)

1.      Role for MARS PD Committee in regard to Blackboard Collaborate

Background:  RUSA shares technology support with ASCLA, the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies who will also be training their members on using webinar software.  The adoption of Blackboard Collaborate is motivated in part to increase efficiencies in scheduling and administrative handling of webinar and virtual meetings.

Nancy reported on recent conference call with Susan Hornung, RUSA Director, and Chairs from RSS, MARS, and ASCLA about how to proceed with training for Collaborate.    General agreement on role of MARS PD  to develop training materials and assist other Chairs with using Collaborate for virtual meetings.

Concern by Dianna McKeller that MARS PD takes on some of the role but not the entire training responsibility since RUSA does have their Web Manager, Andrea Hill, who currently functions as the lead administrator.    Objection to being responsible for training all sections of RUSA.    But general agreement that we could gain expertise for MARS and develop a tutorial.

a.  Making an online tutorial for Collaborate for RUSA members?

Tutorials from vendor not useful

Can we have our own room and space to experiment with Collaborate?  Still need to contact Andrea Hill or other “scheduler” to have time.  The Committee can schedule as much practice time as we wish.   Collaborate administrative settings described:  time is scheduled for one member to be the official “presenter”  After logging in, other  participants can be made presenters as well.    Presenter sees different controls for pushing out content. 

Could  training be pre-packaged, with certain parts recorded, and organized into an orientation?  This could help prepare for live sessions.

What have other institutions done?   Are there already training materials that we can use or customize for our members?     Several committee members  identified examples of Collaborate training.  Donna will share some she is finding on the web and MARS PD committee members are encouraged to look out for more.  Some examples:




Discussion  about who might be interested in creating a tutorial for Collaborate.  And what kind of format--video screencasting demos or something more interactive?   Suggested using software already available to members:  Adobe Captivate or Wimba

Van ,  Vali, and Stephanie volunteered to begin work on tutorials

2.      Training sessions for BB Collaborate

a.   Training session on April 12 (Nancy and Van)

Training session moderated by Andrea Hill with several members of MARS PD participating.  General consensus was that Collaborate is not difficult software to learn.  Concern by Liane Taylor, Chair RSS, about best practices in using software to minimize echos.  Features on collaborate for co-browsing need to be explored further.   

b.  Future training opportunities:

 Andrea will arrange, just need to agree on dates and times.   Van will set up a schedule using Doodle


3.      Subcommittee on joint workshop w/RSS  (Stephanie)

Stephanie reported on the joint MARS/RSS  preconference proposals and logistics for professional development sessions at  Midwinter 2013 in collaboration with STARS.

Time:  Scheduled for Friday afternoon at Midwinter 2013 in Seattle.  STARS will hold their sessions in the morning

Location:   Held at the University of Washington Undergraduate Library with up to 100 seats.  

Registration:  Discussion about how participants will sign up since this is not a RUSA preconference.  Stephanie will ask STARS how they administer the registration and find out if RUSA can still provide support, even if not an official preconference.   Sessions to  be available to a larger audience, including those who do not attend ALA Midwinter.  

Proposed theme:   New Techology For Reference From the Reference Interview to Roving Reference.     Based on how STARS has organized their professional development preconferences, the following could be delivered as mini-session workshops.  The following were shared via email with EXEC committee members in both RSS and MARS. 

Below are some of the ideas and feedback from these email conversations:

i.      Reference interview on Twitter over 140 characters
*       Yes, I think this is very relevant and timely.
*       Interesting idea. I didn't realize that any libraries were doing this. Might there be privacy issues?

ii.      How I can use Twitter/Facebook in my reference work
*       Yes, again very timely and I haven't seen much professional development in this area
*       With all of the privacy issues around Twitter and Facebook, I'm not really sure we should go there, but see below.

iii.      Privacy issues - the private in the public sphere - Knowledge bases like LibAnswers
*       Maybe, might be harder to recruit instructors for this one???
*       I agree that it might be much harder to recruit instructors or presenters, but I think this is the more cutting edge topic. On the other hand, a workshop on Twitter and Facebook might be much easier to pull off. Perhaps a workshop on social networking in Reference that includes discussions of privacy... For a good example, see Kooy, B. K., & Steiner, S. K. (2010). Protection, Not Barriers Using Social Software Policies to Guide and Safeguard Students and Employees. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(1), 59-71.

iv.      Is the new ref web 2.0 meeting the promises? - does it deliver?

v.      iPad (other portable devices) / roving reference - does it deliver?
I hope "roving reference" encompasses out of library building(s) reference outreach efforts as well as in building.
*       Again, Ipads are big, I see them all over with patrons.... more on the use by librarians for roving reference?  maybe topic.... would require getting a bunch of ipads on loan from somewhere which logistically could be challenging.


I think it's rather a lot for a half-day *workshop*. If we're going to get hands-on and interactive, three topics might be better.

If I were to choose three, I would choose:
ii.      How I can use Twitter/Facebook in my reference work
iii.      Privacy issues - the private in the public sphere - Knowledge bases like LibAnswers
iv.      Is the new ref web 2.0 meeting the promises? - does it deliver?

I agree that there is a bit too much to cover, especially we we want to offer something more substantive, something that people can set it up right after the workshop.
III and IV is almost like providing context. It may be a good discussion to have in setting the tone while attendees can get some practical experience.
I think the use of tablet is a bit different from the rest. There is so much more setup (source display compatibility, use of virtual keyboard, ability to view while you type,with devices in a face-to-face synchronous environment. Almost like requiring a different tool kit than use of another form of online communication to provide reference.
I think this workshop is a good idea but may need to tighten it a bit more while really providing a list of skills, tools, recommendations rather than an overview.

4.      ALA Annual in Anaheim, schedule now available on ALA Connect -

5. Next meeting on May 18th on Blackboard Collaborate - Nancy


Respectfully Submitted,

Van Houlson, Co-Chair Professional Development Committee

Nancy A. Cunningham's picture

We will have our next meeting on BB Collaborate on 4/18, Friday at 1 p.m. Central.


Nancy A. Cunningham's picture

We will have our next meeting on BB Collaborate on 4/18, Friday at 1 p.m. Central.