In a Web-based workshop, a number of essential instructional devices converge. The Web can serve as an electronic base for 1) communication, 2) publication, and 3) presentation.
Web browsers are becoming better equipped to support listservs and newsgroups. As a gateway to electronic publications, including journal articles and electronic texts, the Web is proving to excel.
While there is still some resistance to reading for any length of time on a computer monitor, for many, the value of the images and hyperlinks outweigh the disadvantages of online publications. The publications an instructor may make available for students may be external to the course, or local, possibly composed by the instructor.
The use of the Web as a presentation tool is beginning to be realized. Many instructors find overheads a vital instruction tool. The Web can be used as a very sophisticated overhead, with graphics and hyperlinks, with the added benefit of longevity. Students can access the classroom presentation from a distance, and long after the presentation is concluded.
These three converging instructional devices have very strong implications for library instruction. The convergence of these devices reflects an overlap of three basic library services, viz. reference, publications, and user education. Web-based workshop presentations can contain hyperlinks to bibliographies and instructional publications as well as electronic reference and made available at a distance and over a long period of time. The ease of electronic revision would promote currency and accuracy.
The WILU presentation, "Instructional Uses of the Web", itself illustrates the convergence. It is a Web-based presentation made available at the URL: http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/user_ed/wilu/. It contains links to examples of instructional uses of the Web, links to email addresses of individuals doing work in this area who are interested in participating in discussion, and links to papers on the topic.