New Resource Explores 23 Online Tools that Help Information Professionals


Learning new technology can be challenging. With that in mind, SLISConnect, the combined student and alumni association at the SJSU information school, recently developed an online resource aimed at helping students and alumni explore tools that can foster academic and professional success.

Launched in July, 23 Things for SLIS Students and Alumni: Essential Tools for Professional Success explores 23 online tools, with tutorials that take between 20 and 30 minutes each to complete. Topics include time management tools, presentation tools, screencast software, career resources, and social networking sites. Five modules are already available, and the SLISConnect team plans to add other modules in the months ahead.

Although the site was developed with the needs of SJSU SLIS students and alumni in mind, it is open to anyone. For a more interactive experience, users can register as a site member, allowing them to post comments, take part in discussions, build a profile, and earn digital badges.

The 23 Things project for SLIS students and alumni grew out of a group assignment that SLIS student Elaine Hall completed during a spring 2013 Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies course, taught by Dr. Michael Stephens. During the course, Hall explored the original 23 Things project, also known as the Learning 2.0 program – an online, self-paced staff development program that encourages library employees to explore emerging technology. 

Hall served as a SLISConnect board member during the 2012-2013 academic year, which sparked her interest in having SLISConnect host the 23 Things project. She now volunteers as the project manager.

“I am passionate about finding opportunities to allow our students to connect, network, and build a supportive community,” said Hall, who feels that building connections in a fully online graduate program is especially important.

According to Hall, 23 Things is already getting an enthusiastic reception from students and alumni. “I have received several comments from alumni who want to give back to SLIS and find this to be a fun and engaging way to do that,” Hall said. “Others have indicated they miss the online community they experienced as students, and this project allows them to reconnect and be part of a more lasting learning community.”

Students are also excited to learn about online tools covered in the 23 Things modules, “especially if it will help them build skills to execute class projects and save them time,” said Hall.

More than 40 students and alumni are already serving as volunteers on the 23 Things project, but additional volunteers are needed to build and review modules, design digital badges, and serve as bloggers. Find out more about SLISConnect’s call for volunteers on the organization’s blog.

In addition to the 23 Things project, SLISConnect offers a website, blog, and social media sites, where students and alumni can interact and learn more about the association’s activities.