Welcome to “Mobile Apps: What You Need to Know.” This is a 3 week online course brought to you by ACRL Online Learning.
My name is Michele Mizejewski, and I will be your instructor. I’m currently the Web Initiatives Librarian at the University of CA, San Francisco where I spend a lot of time thinking about user experience, web content, and mobile devices and apps. Also, I used to live in New England and sadly, I’m experiencing foliage withdrawal right now.
But let’s move on to a brief overview of what we’ll cover in this course. As you’re probably aware, smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more common on many campuses. This, in turn, has driven an explosion of app development -- there are literally hundreds of thousands to choose from.
One of the goals of this course is to familiarize yourself with the various types of apps available with a focus on areas like reading, research, productivity, and creativity.
Another big focus will be for you to practice evaluating and reviewing individual apps, so you can make informed selection decisions and advise others.
The ability to assess apps and distill your findings into a brief review is a valuable skill that will allow you to offer guidance to your library users. Just as in Reference or Collection Development, you will never know everything, but you *can* become familiar with general trends and some of the best apps in certain areas.
The third big focus of the course will be looking at options and key considerations when planning a mobile presence for your own library. By the late 90s, if you weren’t on the web, your institution didn’t exist for many people. The same is becoming true for the mobile web.
For each week, I’ve provided several readings that with give you some good background information. You will also be participating in forum discussions and completing assignments.
But a big part of this course will you you actually doing hands-on exploration of some apps. Only by trying them out can you really increase your comfort level, and get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of an app.
DANGERS OF EXPLORATION
But be warned -- it is easy to get lost in the exploration stage and spend hours just trying out different apps. To get the full benefit, you should plan to focus on a limited number of apps each week and actually assess them and complete the assignments. Remember, there will be plenty of time after the course to explore more of the thousands of apps that are available.
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