Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Exciting news on collaboration with CALOP!

I attended the monthly board meeting for the Commission on Access and Local Original Programming (CALOP) on Thursday, January 23 (luckily for me they met right here in the Library). We're really excited about working with them on both programming here at the Library, and on video training and the possiblity of video contests related to our MOREnet grant.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Marketing lynda.com

Now that we have this great resource, we need to get the word out to our patrons.  This will be an ongoing effort.  Our first step was to train staff.  They are the best at marking our services to people who already use the library.

During our training sessions, we told them what lynda.com is - high quality training videos concentrating on technology, business and education. Our agenda was simple:

  • What is lynda.com?
  • Who can us it? When, where?
  • Why do we have this?
  • Demonstration
  • Other - including time out feature, browser compatibility/equipment requirements 
  • Questions?

We talked about our setup in the library - who can use this resources and how. We have a shortcut on our public computers that take users directly to lynda.com but we don't think we can do the same with our Chromebooks.  What you see on the Chromebook depends on who is logged in.  There doesn't seem to be a way to do a lynda.com shortcut for all users.  We showed staff a demo and talked about the great features offered by lynda.com including the indexing that allows you to go directly to a topic in a video and watch only the parts that you need.  During our three sessions, staff made many suggestions and had great questions.

We made small business card sized handouts for all our service desks to pass on to people interested in lynda.com. Here is what the handout looks like:

We have many more ideas to continue our marketing efforts and lynda.com also has a robust resource center to help with our efforts. 

What we’ve learned with implementing lynda.com at UCPL

We offer three main access options for lynda.com: 1) public PCs, 2) Google Chromebooks, and 3) BYOD utilizing the wireless network. 

Prior to signing with lynda.com, we participated in a one week service trial.  The goal was to validate the library infrastructure and determine if our existing equipment would work without issue on the site.  For lyndaKiosk, we requested our entire public IP scope to be allowed access, instead of limiting to specific addresses.  For the library environment, and for ease of administration, we determined it best to allow the entire scope.

Our public workstations are Lenovo ThinkCentre M58e desktops running Microsoft Windows XP SP3 and browsers Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.  We had trouble with Adobe Flash player on IE and Chrome, but it worked perfectly on Firefox.   We created a custom icon with the lynda.com logo and placed on each public user desktop.  When launched, Firefox automatically directs the patron to the lyndaKiosk environment via a specific website provided by lynda.com. 

Each time a connection is made to lyndaKiosk, a single license is used.  Each connection has a 30 minute session timeout. If a user does not click “Log out” or simply closes the browser window, the session still remains active on lynda.com. The timeout period cannot be changed at this time.  If all licenses are currently in-use, the user will receive a message indicating such.  We would like to know dates/times for how often this occurs, and would be a determining factor if additional licenses are needed.  The current reporting options don’t provide those figures today.  Last, when signing into lyndaKiosk, the welcome note at the top of the website says “Hi, IP user”.   The message cannot be changed at this time, but again, could be made customizable in a future lynda.com update.

Although we’ve only had the service offering for a short while now, we’ve received nothing but positive feedback on the quality of the video and site navigation.   Our most common feedback is request for lynda.com to provide more content on a broader range of categories.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Staff training for lynda.com

We just completed three staff training sessions to talk to library employees about our new subscription to lynda.com.  Lynda.com is a computer based training system with over 2,300 courses mostly in technology, business, and education. It is used extensively for training in corporate environments  Our intention is to host more "maker" oriented software on our public machines and patrons will be able to learn how to use that software through lynda.com.  We have started out with 2 licenses so any two machine connected to our network (including our wireless network) can be taking lynda.com courses.We are monitoring usage so we can add licenses as they are needed.

Our staff was pumped about seeing the demonstration and learning more about this resource.  They asked about many topics, some of which are available. We have communicated with our lynda.com representative about possible topics to add for library users.

Lynda.com has been in the library market for a few years but their presence in libraries really took off in 2009.  Lynda.com is better known for their corporate customers and individual subscriptions.  The availability of high quality training will be a great benefit to our patrons and staff.  Now we have to focus on getting the word out and marketing this educational tool.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Now **LIVE** at UCPL -- lynda.com

In January, UCPL finalized arrangements with lynda.com to provide individual (lyndaPro) and public  (lyndaKiosk) online training services through their extensive video library of over 2300+ available courses.  A shortcut to lyndaKiosk was installed on each of our public workstations, giving visitors easy direct access to the course content.  Library staff will participate in an introductory training session on the access, site navigation, and features.  See more about lynda.com by visiting their site at http://www.lynda.com.