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Is Online Learning Right for Me?
Online workshops are convenient to further your education. However, they do require some considerations:
(your answers should be the same, regardless of the workshop you take)
- Can I commit a block of uninterrupted time for the session?
- If the session uses computer audio (rather than a phone conference), can I use headphones to reduce disturbances?
- Can I close my door or go to a private space to prevent interruptions?
- Do I need anyone's permission to participate?
(your answers will vary if you take workshops through different providers; you'll receive information to answer the last three questions in this section prior to the session, but if you have questions please contact the State Library)
- Is the computer I'll be using behind a firewall? Do I need an IT administrator to download plug-ins? If the answer to either or both questions is yes, can I receive the local technical support necessary to begin the session?
- Is there anything I can do ahead of time (download plug-ins, test, etc.)?
- Does the computer I'll be using meet the minimum technical requirements?
- Is there anyone to call if I have a technical problem, both local IT staff for computer set up and port issues and workshop provider staff for log-on and in-session assistance?
Mechanics of the Session
(your answers will vary if you take workshops through different providers; you'll receive this information prior the session, but if you have questions please contact the State Library)
- Are there handouts or other accompanying materials? Can I view and/or print them ahead of time?
- How will I communicate with the instructor or other participants (phone, computer microphone, Voice-over-Internet Protocol [VoIP], online chat, or some combination)?
- How do I connect to and disconnect from this session?
Most online workshops that the State Library offers, except NC LIVE workshops, are provided by Lyrasis. These workshops use Centra software, which does require you to download a small plug-in. They use VoIP, so the audio is delivered through your computer; if you have a computer microphone, you may use that to communicate during a SOLINET workshop, but it is not necessary to have one to participate. (If you register for an online Lyrasis workshop through the State Library, Lyrasis will email you with additional technical information before your session).
Online NC LIVE workshops use Adobe Connect software and require the Flash plug-in. Almost all computers already have Flash, so no download is usually required, though you must disable any pop-up blockers (to disable most pop-up blockers, hold the CTRL key down while clicking on the link to begin the session). These sessions allow the instructor to speak through VoIP, and the participants can communicate via chat. (If you register for an online NC LIVE workshop, you'll receive additional information by email prior to the session.)