I was recently invited to give a staff development session on mobile devices to staff from the University of Bath Library. The title of the seminar was “Mobile Technologies: Why Library Staff Should be Interested” and the slides I used are available on Slideshare and embedded below. As well as describing how I use mobile devices (in particular the iPod Touch) the seminar also provided an ideal opportunity to demonstrate various uses of mobile technologies. This included:
- A live video stream of the talk published on Bambuser (taken using Rocketfish Webcam on an Apple Macbook)
- Live streaming of the slides using the broadcast feature introduced in Microsoft Powerpoint 2010.
Comments on the talk were made in Bambuser. In addition discussions also took place using the #bathlib Twitter hashtag. Afterwards Storify was used to aggregate these tweets.
The point of use of these technologies was to illustrate how mobile devices can be used to most publish and view lectures (on this occasion I used a portable Apple Mac to stream the video although I have previously used an iPod Touch and a HTC Desire Android phone to do this). There was some discussion about the quality of the video and audio. I was able to ask the remote audience for their feedback and received the following comments on Twitter:
- Audio good, video patchy at first but now pretty good – bit blurry but very much what you’d expect from a phone and v. acceptable #bathlib
- #bathlib Video quality better now than at start of session. Beard concealing lip-synch quality
Comments made on the Bambuser channel included:
- 11:26 anonymous: Hi Brian! Bir jerky on the video, audio is fine.
- 11:26 working pretty well brian: Yeah a bit jerky now
- 11:27 itsme: video jerky audio good
- 11:27 lescarr: Quality of video & audio very good. It does halt sometimes.
- 11:27 mhawksey: audio is great, vid a bit jerky cam keeps refocusing
- 11:29 Jo Alcock: Audio OK – video a bit jerky (but my connection isn’t very good here)
- 11:30 Jo Alcock: Started watching it on iPad (through Twitter app), works well but moved to desktop now to enable chat
- 11:30 Nicola: As tweeted: Audio good, video patchy at first but now pretty good – bit blurry but very much what you’d expect from a phone and v. acceptable #bathlib
- 11:33 working pretty well brian: Video fairly patchy – Mahendra, Audio ok
You can judged for yourself how good the video and audio were by viewing a recording of the video. It should be noted that the quality of the audio was the most important aspect with the video helping to provide a content to the slides being displayed.
During the talk I mentioned how such lightweight video and audio streaming devices (and video recording devices such as a Flip camera) can help to enhance the benefits of such staff development courses. I described how members of staff at the University of Bath Library who were unable to attend will be able to view the video. But in addition making such resources publicly available can help to enhance the ROI associated with the preparation and delivery of such courses. As can be seen from the accompanying image there have so far been 62 views of the talk (of which 40 were of the live video stream). As @annindk (Ann Priestly, an information professional currently working in Denmark) commented:
Watched yr seminar over lunch – thanks! Quality just fine, thinking ROI must be good for these quick sessions
The question of costs and ROI arose during the discussions after the presentation. “What are the costs in making use of such technologies and can the investment be demonstrated to provide benefits?” was how I interpreted one question I received. Following a show of hands it appeared that everyone in the room (apart from possibly one person) had a phone which contained a camera. So we will probably find that the capital costs in the purchase of mobile devices has already been paid for and as phones are upgraded their functionality will continue to be enhanced. So rather than having to be able to justify the costs of centralised provision of, say, video recording systems in lecture theatres I suggested that it would be more appropriate to explore a bottom-up approaches, with individuals taking responsibility for recording themselves or their colleagues. A post on the DMU Mashed Library blog picked up on this idea:
One interesting point that came out was Brian’s description of people tweeting their comments on attending conferences to a wider (twitter reading) audience: Can this really be seen as engaging in support for the Big Society? I guess I was consciously doing this from Eduserv’s ‘Work Smarter, not Harder’ workshops #oa11.
My suggestion that taking responsibility for making resources available beyond their immediate target audience could be regarded as a form of the ‘Big Society’ was slightly tongue-in-cheek. But surely if one can provide materials which will be of benefit to others at little additional cost or effort, we should be looking to do this? And as there were about 25 people in the seminar but 40 people watching the live video stream, can’t this be regarded as providing additional ROI?