If You Widget It: They Might Use It

Building Library Widgets for your Online Learning Platforms

Amanda Lemon, OCCC & Toni Hoberecht, OU-Tulsa

Presentation webpage

From the presenters’ setup, it looked like it would be fun, even though we’d be talking about HTML some. 🙂

Presenters are at two different institutions; two different learning platforms.

Widgets are small boxes of code that can be embedded in websites.

Explanation of a widget using a bottle of wine, using a Prezi presentation & live props.

  • Bottle of wine–>decanter–>wine glass.
  • Bottle of wine–>winery aerator place in glass–>instantly funnels the wine into the glass. (This is a widget).

Widget::Wine analogy

  • Bottle of wine (rich): this is the resources, the OPAC, the databases
  • Decanter: URL/hyperlinks
  • Glass of Wine: Your End User

The aerator acts as the widget. They get the information direct where they want it in the glass. No separate container needed.

Discussion of More Than Two Hours of Daily TV, Video Game Time Can Cause Attention Problems and Hooked on Gadgets and Paying a Mental Price.

  • The end users aren’t going to just go to a different site.

The default Resources page in the OCCC Angel interface has built-in boxes for Wikipedia and Google. Where’s the library??? It wasn’t there.

They got a presence there first by having a widget built for the library catalog. Ongoing issues getting a database widget placed there.

The widget simplifies the search for the end user.

Creating the Widget

The widget parts:

  • title
  • description of what it does
  • a graphic
  • the search box
  • button;
  • link to the site

Don’t use Word to write the code. It adds “helpful” code. Use notepad, naming the file, “name.html” — using .html allows you to open the file in a web browser.

We’re making a little segmented area to put our widget onto an already existing information.

Div tag = container

At this point the presenters walked the audience through building a widget. Their presentation discussion thread works through some of this process. A couple of notes

  1. Finding the unique searching URL can be complex.
  2. LibraryWebchic.net/mashups can help out.
  3. Presenters suggested to look at others pages & source code to start get possible ideas.

The steps in summary:

  1. Make Widget in Notepad.
  2. Save as HTML file.
  3. Email file to LMS admin.
  4. Admin does the rest.

I really enjoyed this session. Even though I’ve been doing HTML coding for years, off and on, part of being self-taught means you do miss out on certain things. It was good to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge. Also, watching someone else teach this was quite helpful for seeing other methods to teach the same times of hardcore techie skills to people who aren’t hardcore techies. I definitely learned some strategies. Analogies (like the wine bottle) are the key. The biggest thing that techies need to remember is to watch the terminology and if you’re told that people don’t understand, step back and think of an analogy of the techie skill you’re teaching that your audience can relate to. For non-techies, the biggest thing to remember is to ask for clarification if you’re confused.

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