Udemy offers a range of IT courses but they are not free, they charge $15 per course. This would most likely have an impact on the uptake of the courses. Subjects include IT Help Desk Professional, How to Win at IT Freelancing and Break into IT – How to Land Your Dream Job in IT. Descriptions provided are very brief and there are not any preview or introduction videos. Each thumbnail lists how many lectures, time and skill level required. The website is well set out but I couldn’t say what the courses are like because I didn’t want to pay to check one out. 2 stars.


edX have 291 search results for Computer Science. They are of a variety that covers all aspects of IT subjects, some examples are; Foundations of Computer Science for Teachers; Computing: Art, Magic, Science; Computer Graphics. Once you click on a thumbnail features include introduction videos and a break down of length in weeks, effort (expected time per week), level, language and institute providing the course. You will also see a dot point of what you can expect to learn and a link to the instructors bio. Courses are free but there is an opportunity to order a verified certificate for some of the courses for a fee. This is an excellent range of IT subjects, as you would expect from edX. 5 stars.


Coursera – Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming is a coding MOOC created by The University of Edinburgh in conjunction with Universidad ORT Uruguay. The commitment is 15-20 hours over 5 weeks. A syllabus is included on the website so you can get a good idea of what it is you will be learning before committing to it. Reviews from past students are available to read with a star rating. There is not any introduction videos and instructor bios, but there is the names and photo’s of the instructors. There is information of “how it works” and the Universities. At the bottom of the page there is suggestions of other courses that you may like. 4.5 stars.


Udacity offer what they call Nanodegrees for people wanting to “launch your career in Data Science, Machine Learning, Android, iOS, and more”. The courses are for areas that are emerging technologies; VR Developer; Artificial Intelligence; Self Driving Car Engineer. The quality of their website reflects their up-to-date content, it is a clean, uncluttered, user-friendly website. The courses are not free, but you can do the first week for free before deciding to commit. There are some big names involved in the content including Google, Amazon and Facebook. They give you information for the kind of salary you can expect if you go onto a job in the area of the course. There is a program syllabus to view, it all looks very impressive. 5 stars.


Aquent Gymnasium only offers IT courses. They have a colourful website with both full courses and what they call Gym Shorts – “short, snackable courses that all last under an hour”. The full courses are 3-6 hours of video tuition, quizzes, assignments and a final exam. There will be a certificate at the end. You need to create an account to access courses. The course information includes a course preview video, course outline, prerequisites and requirements. There is a bio and image of the instructors and suggestions of who this course would suit. There is a really good FAQ clearing up most of the questions people new to Gymnasium would want to ask. All courses are free – “That’s right — no hidden fees. No ‘freemium’ upgrade offers. All of our classes are absolutely free of charge. Sign up. Sign in. Learn and succeed. For free”. They speak in terms that would appeal to the under thirties, the website is fun and friendly. I’ll be showing this one to my kids. 5 stars.


Library MOOCs

Idaho Commission for Libraries offers MOOC courses specifically for Library staff. They do not require registration, you just click on the course you want and start learning. There are tips on how to get the most from the courses and a list of competencies supported available to you before you start. Topics include Building a Collection, Evaluating Reference Sources and Introduction to MARC Cataloguing. I found this a very interesting resource and I will be bookmarking this page. 5 Stars


Course Sites offers the New Librarianship Master Class helping Library staff navigate the changes and technologies that are a part of a modern library. Unfortunately, I was having difficulties with the website and was unable to browse as a guest. There were not any list, thumbnails or briefs of the courses that I could access. This will impact the uptake of courses. Enrollment is required to undertake the courses. Website appearance and functionality was disappointing. 1 star.


SJSU (San José State University) School of Information has allowed free public access to some of their lectures originally for their students. The MOOCs are concentrating on the emerging trends and technologies of Information Services. SJSU are quite new to offering MOOCs so there isn’t a lot of choice but, as they deliver Master of Library & Information Science, you feel confident of the quality. Website is a bit clunky and old fashion, MOOCs are not listed with a brief, thumbnail or preview. 3.5 stars


MOOC List gathers together courses from various sources but only offered two Library Science courses; Library Advocacy Unshushed & Teaching Library Research Categories Strategies. They list topics that will be covered and Library Advocacy Unshushed a YouTube introduction to watch. It was a bit disappointing that of all the courses on offer there was only two for those wishing to further their library knowledge. The website is well formed and easy to use. 4 stars.


New Librarianship Master Class is a MOOC available from director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library & Information Science, R. David Lankes. He has an impressive CV lending weight to the expected quality of his MOOC. There are video introductions and clear dot points of the course content. The website is clean and easily navigable. R. David speaks clearly and seems to be a natural educator so while there isn’t a range of MOOCs to select from what is here is interesting and well delivered. 4.5 stars

New Librarianship Master Class/MOOC Archive

Training – Online Lessons

Ted Talks – Stephen Wilkes, The Passing of Time, Caught in a Single Photo.

I enjoy Stephen Wilkes enthusiasm for his art and his photographs are beautiful and interesting. Stephen speaks with clarity and confidence about his subject and I found his talk very interesting. If I had the time and stamina to spend a whole day up a cherry picker I might be tempted to try it! A well presented talk which is informative but probably more interesting for photography enthusiasts like me. Certainly met expectations and I expected a high level of of delivery from Ted Talks. 5 stars.


TeacherTube – Photoshop Introduction was disappointing. The video is of low quality so while the features of photoshop are being demonstrated you can’t see clearly what is actually being demonstrated. It has resulted in the video being near useless. The audio is not great either, it is not done with a proper microphone, its got that tinny echo quality. It is not likely that people will stay to watch the whole presentation. Disappointing. 1 star


National Geographic – Adventures in Photographing England’s Urban Wildlife is a thoroughly enjoyable lecture presentation but a young man who photographs animals in urban areas. Bertie Gregory is confident in delivering his presentation and is charming and funny. He starts with showing photos of himself as a child, always a good way to start! He discusses the different types of animals that can be found in urban England, some of which are quite surprising. He also tells a story of a woman who mistakenly thought that he was taking photographs of her changing in her bedroom. Production quality was high as I expected from National Geographic but the presentation was more enjoyable than I anticipated. 5 stars.


National Geographic – Behind the Photo is a series of short videos explaining the story behind a photograph. This particular one is of a wild Macaque who has just woken up from anaesthetic. He comes from a Macaque community which is highly diseased and at risk of passing those diseases on to the human population in the same area. Beautiful production quality and interesting information in a short package. 5 stars.


TED-Ed – What cameras see that our eyes don’t is and interesting short animation explaining how cameras can be used to see things that we can’t see normally. For example something too fast or too small or too distant. An informative piece that would work for school children as well as adults. Production quality is good and overall it met my expectations of a TED-Ed presentation. 4 stars







Training – Mooc

MIT OpenCourseWare (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) offer material from over 2300 courses. They provide web-based publication of most of the MIT course content. OpenCourseWare is “open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity”. They have courses translated into various languages as well so this is a very accessible program. Subjects include Business, Engineering, Fine Arts, Health and Medicine, Humanities, Science and more. I was surprised how much was on offer, I expected the content to more restricted. It is an easy to navigate website featuring various ways to find a course that suits. It has good descriptions of the courses with details of who is teaching it, “as taught in” dates so you know when the course was taught and what level it is. 4.5 stars.


edX offers courses from several Educational Institutes from across the world including Harvard University, The University of Queensland, The RWTH Aachen University and the Australian National University. The courses are clearly identified with “Credit-Eligible” or “Verified”, a fee is payable for verified certificate courses. edX is open to everyone except those in the Crimea region of Ukraine, this is due to a US political sanction. I was impressed with the range of courses on offer, a bigger range than I expected.  The quality of the website is very good. It has bright, clear thumbnails for each course and it is easy to search through them as well as browse. 4.5 stars.


Curtin University states that they believe in “ensuring that education is accessible to all”. They offer a small range of short courses on a variety of topics for free. I was surprised how small a range it is. If there are more that I couldn’t find, then the website needs some work so it is clear how to access them. They include YouTube clips to give potential users a brief overview of the subject you are looking at. Before enrolling you are provided with information on the possible learning outcomes. I think that Curtain University doesn’t offer as good a product as some of the other providers. The website is not up-to-date in either style or content. 2 Stars.


Class Central offers access to thousands of MOOC courses. Class Central gathers links to education providers and offers an easy way to browse or search for what you want. There is a list of trending MOOC’s as well as a “spotlight” section comprising of Class Central selected courses. User friendly, smart looking website which is easy to use. This is the type of thing I would expect when using a MOOC website, and it makes sense to have a website that covers many MOOC providers. 5 stars.


Swinburne University Autism MOOC -In 2015 Swinburne launched a highly successful MOOC specifically for people who work, live or care for people with autism. This was launched on World Autism Awareness Day in 2015 and had more than 15,000 participants. They now offer a selection of MOOC’s for professional development and an Autism MOOC Team. The 2015 MOOC is self paced and you are able to register interest in up coming MOOC’s and information sessions. Course guides are available for download. While not a big range of courses, it is an important resource for those dealing with autism. Straight forward, user friendly website. 5 stars



Training – Learning Websites

Piano Nanny provides free online Piano lessons. It starts with the very basics and you move at your own pace, not moving on to the next lesson until you have completed the current one. It uses clear, understandable language that even a complete novice to piano will be able to understand. I completed the first lesson, it only took a few minutes, but I have had previous instrumental music experience. This was done without signing up. The quality of the website is good, they have made the images smaller so that the pages load quicker but the are still big enough to read and understand. It exceeded my expectations, much easier to use than I anticipated. I may just have to learn to play the piano! 5 stars.


Duolingo teaches 20 different languages including English, Russian, French, and Vietnamese. It is a bright, user-friendly website and it is free to use. I completed two lessons in Italian and was told at the end of these that I was 1% fluent in Italian. I did this without having to sign up first. The quality of the website is very good, easy to use. It exceeded my expectations, particularly because it is a free site, some of the paid language sites are not as user friendly as this one. 5 stars.


Khan Academy offers free classes and courses for learning at every level. The Subjects are Mathematics, Science & Engineering, Computing, Arts & Humanities, and Economics & Finance. They also have Test Prep and College Admissions. This is an American website so it is skewed toward their curriculum, so the Test Prep and College Admissions sections have limited value to Australian audiences. I could not use it without signing in first. They use a combination of tasks and YouTube tutorials and as you move through tasks you acquire points. I got a little lost, at times when a YouTube video came on I didn’t know how to move on to the next task. It was pretty much what I expected except I didn’t realise that it had subjects other than Math before I went into it. It seems to be a good site for kids but as an adult it annoyed me a bit. 3 stars


Code Academy teaches you web developer skills. You can learn to build professional websites and applications with the basic version or you can upgrade to the Pro version for more features and capabilities. I selected Make a Website. It showed me a video clip of a website and then went on to show the coding behind it. I could then enter different text in the coding to change the example running next to it. The production quality is quite good but it is definitely aimed at someone with an interest and a little prior knowledge. I found myself getting a little confused as i have neither of these! I wasn’t sure what to expect before going on to this site but there was a lot more content in there than I expected. 4 stars.


Cool Math 4 Kids is a fun site to teach kids mathematics skills using games, quizzes, brain teasers and lessons. I played a couple of games and quizzes and, thankfully, did quite well! It is an American site though so the games involving money is a bit tricky if you don’t recognise the American coins. You are often playing along with, or up against, other users but it is all anonymous. This is a colourful, easy to use site of good quality. It met my expectations based on it’s name of Cool Math 4 Kids, it is just that. 4.5stars


Training – iTunes U

The Experience of Immersion: Experience on Demand – Stanford University.

A conference talk by Jeremy Bailenson who is the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, a Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Faculty Director of Stanford’s Digital Learning Forum, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. He talks about the study of virtual reality systems and how it changes verbal and non-verbal interactions, behavior and outcomes. At the Virtual Human Interaction Lab they build Virtual Reality programs and test what can be done with them. Such programs have included an earthquake simulator (which caused a 60 Minutes reporter to have a panic attack), a ocean reef simulator that illustrates the effect CO will have on the oceans and a training program for athletes. The presentation is what I expected from the description, a university professor speaking enthusiastically about his field. I found it interesting and enjoyed watching it and learning more about virtual reality and its uses.Production quality was good for a conference filming, multiple camera’s and clear audio. It was a 1.3gb download so I would have been disappointed if the quality wasn’t there!  4.5 stars.


Branding, Content & Social Media: Lecture on Content – The Ohio State University.

This is a class lecture by Christine O’Malley, Communications Consultant, Office of Human Resources at The Ohio State University. It is a PowerPoint presentation with a voice over, not what I was expecting. There was no description aside from saying it was a university lecture so I expected a video of a lecturer up in front of students. I found this one a bit boring and the presenter sounded a bit like she was talking to primary school students at times rather than adult university students. It struck me as a little ironic that she was talking about content and capturing audiences. The production was very basic, there was background noise and the pictures were not clear enough to be able to see properly. This was clearly for students of that particular class and not for general public viewing. 1 star.


Effective Social Media: Designing Targeted Content and Messages in Social Network Marketing – Liberty University Online.

A brief presentation by an unnamed Liberty University lecturer. It was filmed outside so there is some background noise and the video is a bit pixalated so not of a particularly high quality in that regard. The man presenting does so with confidence and from this little snippet I gather that he would be quite a good teacher.The title is a bit misleading, he doesn’t go into designing targeted content and messages. He talks about looking at examples of other companies and how they use content and messaging to help get and understanding of an audience and what is working. 2 stars.


Social Media : Twitter – University of South Florida, College of Education

This presentation is audio only. It is of University of South Florida Associate Professor Kelli Burns answering questions about Twitter. The production quality is fair, you can clearly hear and understand the conversation but there is a little background noise and crackling. Kelli explains what Twitter is and how to use it. She gives examples of the influences that saw big increases in the use of twitter, it’s place as a news service, how it gives the opportunity for interaction with people you would not likely be able to interact with otherwise, and the negatives that can arise from using it. I was expecting video, so in that regard it didn’t meet expectation but otherwise it was a good overview of what Twitter is. 3.5 stars.


Free Speech Debate. On Free Speech 4: The Power of the Web – Oxford University

This is a radio current affairs style podcast that is audio only, presented by Katie Englehart and Brian Pellet. Not what I was expecting from the description, I didn’t expect a current affairs program and I didn’t expect it to include other subjects aside from the two in the description. Some of the interviews have background noise and and/or poor quality audio. The music used is a bit annoying. Some of the topics discussed includes digital activism and hacktivism, tracking rape in Syria, people being discriminated against for wearing a catholic cross. The title is not really accurate for the content. 3 stars.

Training – YouTube

The subject I have chosen is Watercolor painting.

Paint With Me! Watercolor Basics for Beginners.

A tutorial in the basics of watercolor painting. The presenter describes the items she is using as well as some alternatives options. She explains what she is doing and the different effects that can be achieved with the different techniques. Production is not of high quality, obviously done with limited resources and skill. The tutorial hasn’t been well planned out, she often pauses to think of what she will do next, so production quality is affected by this. The title and description is accurate, it does show basics for beginners. 3 stars.

Lee SooHyuk [Watercolor Painting]

This is a timelapse of the painting of a portrait of a woman’s face. There is no commentary just classical music. The production is quite good, it doesn’t go so fast that you can’t see what is being done. I would have liked to know what products were being used though. The only description is “Hope you enjoy it^^~” and I did so it met expectation in that regard. 4 stars.

Easy 3 Color Watercolor Sunset

A quick tutorial is painting a sunset scene with three colours. The description is accurate, and includes what colours were used. She rattles on a bit in her commentary getting off track a bit at times which is a bit annoying. Talks about dirty hands, thumb wound and a horse costume. She does describe what she is doing between these things. The editing is a bit clumsy and at times you are unable to see what she is doing because of the fixed camera angle. I did learn though and I might give this a go. 2.5 stars.

icy stream winter landscape in blue

Same person as the Easy 3 Color Watercolor Sunset clip, which I didn’t realise until I heard her voice, but improved production on this one. This time it is a timelapse clip of a winter scene and the voice over is recorded separately giving a better quality of production. No talking about horses or thumb wounds this time. This was a good instructional clip and based on the description is what I expected. 4 stars.

How to Paint a Cherry Tree in Watercolor – Splatter Painting Trees – Paint a Tree – Sakura

A tutorial on how to paint a cherry tree using a splatter technique for the blossom. The quality of this production was good, clear image and clear commentary. The video adjusted in speed to allow the viewer to see the detail of what was being done but not allowing it to get monotonous by spending too much time on the same thing. The tutorial was what I expected from reading the description, I enjoyed it and I would watch other tutorial by this artist. I has inspired my to buy some watercolor paints and try this technique. 4 stars.


Review of “Shifting to the Cloud”

“Shifting to the Cloud” by Marshall Breeding (Computers in Libraries, Information Today Inc. March 2014)

“Shifting to the Cloud” is very much an opinion piece full of tech speak and jargon. Breeding has a thorough understanding of his topic and his audience is clearly those who love all things tech rather than the broad range of people who work in libraries. And with this in mind he really is preaching to the choir. Those who need to be convinced the most to shift to the cloud are the least likely readers.

Breeding’s arguments are mostly pro-cloud, so the article is not entirely balanced. And there is certainly a strong argument for it. But a little more time looking at the negatives would most likely make his argument stronger for most people.

RESOURCES. (Marshall Breeding)

Reading this article is not easy for the tech non-enthusiast, I’ll be honest, my eyes glazed over more than once. This is an important issue though, and it addresses one of the many challenges that are facing libraries today. If the functionality, access and internet speed can accommodate the cloud in libraries then it is certainly worth considering. Unfortunately, Australia’s poor “high-speed” internet access, particularly outside of major cities, makes the cloud a little less appealing.

Library Job Ad #12

Job title: Library Professional Cadet

Organisation advertising: The University of Melbourne

Qualifications required: A recent relevant undergraduate degree in a discipline other than Library and Information studies. Must be enrolled to commence or continue enrolment in a recognised postgraduate library and information studies in 2016 and 2017.

Desirable qualifications: Particularly seeking candidates with an undergraduate degree in Science, Engineering, Education, Business and Economics or a relevant degree in Law.

Skills required: Passionate about continuous improvement and innovation with a proven record of influencing and engaging others with your leadership skills. Strong customer centric focus. Commitment to personal learning and development & proven ability to thrive in a changing and fast paced environment

Advertised on: The University of Melbourne website

Other: $64,623 – $74,227 p.a. (pro rata) plus 17% superannuation. Fixed term. Parkville location. A substantial discount to eligible staff and their immediate families in undertaking further studies at the University of Melbourne.

Library Job Ad #11

Job title: Library Software Developer

Organisation advertising: Edinburgh University

Qualification required: Degree or equivalent qualification in a software development related subject, or equivalent experience.

Desirable qualifications: None listed.

Skills required: Demonstrable technical experience of web application development using Java and/or PHP. Knowledge and experience of developing web applications querying at least one database management system, such as Oracle, Postgres or MySQL. Web design experience with HTML, CSS and Javascript.Experience of custom module development in Content Management System (CMS) such as Drupal, would be desirable. Good analytical and problem solving skills. Organisational and time management skills. Project Management skills are desirable.

Advertised on: Edinburgh University website.

Other: Fixed-term, central Edinburgh, salary: £26,537 – £30,738 per annum. Main responsibility is to design, develop, deploy and support world class library software systems for the Library and University Collections.