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Sonic Youth: York University and Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Put a New Spin on Elearning

The 4 a.m. Resume
York's career counselors realized that "the on-demand need was huge," says Steele. "This is not a grade-driven interaction," students are coming because they truly need the information. As typical college students they did not, however, plan ahead. Steele found that most students did not create a resume until they had already landed an interview or had some other immediate need, but the understaffed Centre could not accommodate them on such short notice.

Through the creation of the Career Centre CyberGuide, Mediasite allowed the Centre to reach students when and where they needed information. Instead of delivering resume basics to students in person, career counselors are now able to use that one-on-one time more effectively. The Career Centre still offers resume workshops, but they now expect that students have viewed the streamed presentation before attending so that they understand some of the basics of resume building. Workshops are also now capped at 20 participants to facilitate more one-on-one time. During individual meetings, counselors have found that students who create a basic resume using the downloadable template and see the presentation have a much higher quality base from which to start than those who go it alone.

Mediasite also has been effective for students with different learning styles. Visual learners have accompanying slides and downloadable material, auditory learners can listen to the presentation, and ESL students can repeat sections as needed so they truly understand the content. Steele has been particularly struck by the success of Mediasite presentations with ESL students—a huge portion of the Canadian student population.

The content available on the York site is designed with both practicality and functionality in mind. "We had to think of what information would be relevant for the next few years," says Parke. "Normally, you hold an information session and just give out this information. With this type of Web delivery, we had the opportunity to look at the way that students used career information and make it better." Presentations on the site include summer jobs, interviewing skills, the job search, networking, career stories, and cover letters, and each section is further subdivided so students can locate the most relevant information.

The resume section, for example, offers presentations on "Mastering the Resume," "Anatomy of a Resume," "Highlighting your Education," and "Highlighting your Experience." Other information available before viewing includes a description, the presenter, duration, and downloads for each presentation. Resume downloads include a chronological resume sample, a functional resume sample, a list of action verbs, a chronological resume template, and a functional resume template. Students also are invited to evaluate each workshop so the school can continually monitor the program and look for opportunities to improve it.

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