An eCourse Experience - Part Three

Not the most beautiful site ever created, but I take pride in authorship

Not the most beautiful site ever created, but I take pride in authorship

This is the third and final blog post on my experience taking an online professional development course. Click here for Part One, and here for Part Two.

Well, I am happy to report that I managed to finish! The bare-bones HTML that I created last week for my mini-project has been fancied up with some CSS. Behold the result, my hand-crafted professional profile: http://kovacs.com/studentwork/chrischan.html

Worth learning

Of course the result of my mini-project is far inferior to what anyone could do with a LinkedIn profile. But I have to say that there was something really satisfying about doing this myself. There were some parts of the CSS that I really struggled with, and it was a great feeling when it eventually came out right!

I know what this does!

I know what this does!

The skills I have learned have turned out to be instantly applicable to my work as well. At HKBU Library we recently subscribed to LibWizard, a learning object creation tool from Springshare (makers of LibGuides). As with most Springshare products, you don't need to know CSS to use it, but some basic knowledge gives you more control over the look and feel of the results (see screenshot on the right for an example).

Keeping it up

As I mentioned in the last post, just the simple fact that I was enrolled in a formal course was a great incentive for me to work through the material provided. It made me treat the assignments and readings as work that had to be done, rather than as an extra thing that I was doing for fun.

Now that the course is over, I do worry that I won't build upon what I have learned. Indeed, some of my classmates reported in the forums that this was the second or third time that they had done a course on web design, but they had forgotten what they had learned. While I fully intend to work my way through the rest of the textbook, I'm not 100% sure I will keep this up without an impending assignment deadline! I'll try my best though.

Conclusion

I had a good learning experience with this course, and am enthusiastic about the format of a short, four-week course. More substantial than a training workshop, and less of a commitment than a full-blown degree or other formal qualification, this type of professional development is good fit for me.

You can see all of the e-courses offered by the American Library Association on their store page. Another well known organizer of online e-courses for librarians is the Library Juice Academy. If you know of any others, I'd love to hear about them.

Have you tried out an online course before? Thoughts on this type of professional development? Feel free to comment below!