Professional Development Committee

An exciting new system, Blackboard Collaborate, has been put into place by RUSA for RUSA members to deliver online meetings, training sessions, and webinars. Recently, the MARS Professional Development (PD) committee has been charged with assisting in the process of identifying and developing relevant training materials for this new system. Blackboard Collaborate will replace GoToMeeting. Already, MARS PD committee members have attended one training session to become familiar with the system and there are plans to identify appropriate and helpful online tutorials as well as develop a set of best practices for using this new tool in our virtual meetings and webinar presentations.

The other major committee effort is the transformation of the joint RSS/MARS Preconference into a new workshop format which will be free to all registrants at the 2013 Midwinter Conference in Seattle. A location has been selected and content ideas are being considered based on the general theme, "New Technology for Reference from the Reference Interview to Roving Reference." Some specific content ideas include using Twitter and Facebook for the reference interview, portable devices like the iPad for roving reference, and reflections on how well "web 2.0" is delivering on promises for improving reference services. For further information, please contact Stephanie Alexander ( who is leading this subcommittee.

MARS PD continued to support professional development opportunities by sponsoring the RUSA webinar on "Introduction to Screencasting for Online Tutorials and Reference" on Dec. 16 and March 13. Our role has involved both moderating and co-presenting this webinar.

MARS PD welcomes and encourages MARS members in the submission of ideas for webinars. A form with guidelines is currently being developed. Until then, please send any webinar ideas to Nancy Cunningham (, Chair of MARS Professional Development.

Nancy Cunningham, Chair