Online courses are great resources if you're interested in sharpening your professional skills. Maybe you want to:
- Sharpen your knowledge of a tool you already use (like Google Mail)
- Learn the basics of using new tools (like Adobe Illustrator)
- Get ideas about how to refine your teaching or your organizational skills
While the TSS IT Helpdesk is a good starting place for extending your knowledge, our library of tutorials only provides brief overviews on some subjects and doesn't even mention many others. There's lots of good online content out there online, but much of it either a) requires a paid subscription (ITProTV, CreativeLive), or b) will take some serious searching, filtering, and organizing to find quality content (YouTube). What we want is a well-organized, easy-to-use library of quality educational content that we can view fo' free. Sounds like a high bar, right?
Teton County Library has recently started offering free access to Lynda.com (not to be confused with Lynda Dale, by the way), one of the oldest and best-regarded resources for self-directed online learners. The site features thousands of videos and courses that normally require a monthly subscription fee. For Teton County Library cardholders, however, all of this content is there for the taking. Fo. Free.
To get free Lynda.com access, you'll need to have an active account with the Teton County Library system. This means you should be able to visit the library website and log in with your card number and password. If you can't log in, you'll need to visit the library and get your account sorted out before moving on to any of the steps below.
Logging in to Lynda
1. Visit the Library's Lynda portal (http://tclib.org/collection/lynda). Click on the big green button labeled "Start Learning!"
2. You'll be greeted with a sign-in page. Use your Teton County Library credentials to sign in:
3. And you're in! You can start perusing the Lynda gallery of content, either by searching, using the menu system, or by just clicking around. You'll quickly discover that Lynda content is really strong in some areas (especially Design, Adobe software, and Software Development) and less robust in others. There is an education section (shown below), which has a strong focus on educational software and elearning.
First off, this gets a little meta, but Lynda.com offers a whole class about how to use Lynda.com. If you're serious about learning new skills through the site, I highly recommend making this your first class: https://www.lynda.com/Business-tutorials/Welcome/77683/167577-4.html It's about an hour long in total, but it covers a lot of advanced Lynda tips that I won't get into here, like adjusting playback speed, using the Notes feature, and sharing playlists with friends.
Lynda content is organized into lessons, which are grouped into courses, which, in turn, are organized into learning paths.
- Lessons- browse at this level if you want to learn how to do specific tasks. Think of them as single classroom lessons or individual tutorials. Example: how to remove unwanted objects in Adobe Photoshop.
- Courses- These are better suited for diving into a whole subject, like a new piece of software or a topic you want to learn more about. You can think of these like a college class, say Chemistry 101. Example: Fundamentals of Photoshop CC 2017
- Learning Paths- These are curated lists of courses arranged around a larger topic. Think of a Learning Path like getting a college degree. Example: Become a Photographer
I haven't been using Lynda all that long, but I have taken their InDesign CS5 class and am currently working through the Network Administrator learning path. One last helpful feature I've encountered is that many Lynda courses offer supplemental course material. For the InDesign course, for instance, the class comes with inDesign project files that you can edit as you follow along with the lessons. The more advanced technical courses include virtual practice environments.
Good luck learning with Lynda!