Posted by: Grazyna Rosinska, Liaison Librarian (School of Art, School of Media & Communication), RMIT University.
Last month, June Frost looked at some of the great physical resources and spaces on offer at RMIT and the information skills sessions run by library staff; if you missed it click here. I wanted to continue to look at this idea of developing information skills with a particular focus on just two services that the Library has acquired over the past couple of years, Lynda.com and the Kanopy Streaming Service. Both are available through the RMIT Library homepage through the ‘Databases’ link (or you can search for either as a keyword with our LibrarySearch function) and both provide you with high quality resources that you can link to course content or embed in Blackboard shells to allow easy student access. The real power of each might come from your own explorations and use of the materials though. Hopefully you’ll see uses for both as teaching tools and as professional development resources.
Lynda is a learning platform with thousands of sequenced and indexed videos available to all RMIT staff and students. The focus is on creative, business and technology skills so if you’re looking to start from scratch in a topic or maybe you’re brushing up on the latest version of a piece of software or a web tool, you’ll probably find relevant material on Lynda. Subject areas include:
- Business including Office and Google software
- Photography and Video
- Web and social media
One thing that has impressed us in the library is the extensive tagging, time-coding and captioning of content. It means it’s very easy to dip in and find the answer to something. But it’s likely though you’ll stay to learn more as Lynda’s videos are delivered by engaging experts. The login you create with Lynda.com means that you can queue and track the courses you have viewed; you can use it off-campus and be working through a self-directed syllabus. So if we take an example that RMIT staff might be interested in, ‘Gmail for Power Users’, here is the course description:
In this course, Susan Metz shows how to personalize email, manage multiple accounts, and be more productive with the Google email service. The course offers tips and tricks for customizing Gmail to suit your needs; working efficiently with shortcuts; taking advantage of labels; integrating with Calendar, Google Docs, and social media; using voice and video chat; implementing time management in Gmail; and much more…
If you look at this course (screenshot at the right) you’ll find there’s a full transcript, and all of those topics with subheadings and the time the instructor spends on each topic. It’s easy to imagine how this could be a valuable self-study tool for staff and students alike.
Kanopy Streaming Service
Another resource that the Library has acquired is the Kanopy Streaming Service. Kanopy supplies audiovisual materials to tertiary institutions in Australia and New Zealand so right away you will be finding materials that have local context and/or local content. Instead of having a film or documentary on closed reserve as we would have done in the past, Kanopy allows high quality documentaries and films (just to give two examples) to be accessed by multiple students from multiple locations.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for there is a recommendation system where you can suggest a title to be acquired for RMIT. The screenshot below for instance shows a 25 minute video on the topic of critical thinking. These videos can be linked through to your Blackboard shells or you can simply clip the relevant section of a longer piece. If you’d like more information about Kanopy and Lynda head to Sourcing Online Teaching Materials at the RMIT website.
I hope that this has been useful in surfacing a couple of resources that are proving increasingly popular with academics and students. Don’t forget about the Library Subject Guides as a great starting point for discipline-specific information.
Share your comments about library resources and online materials in the comments below!