Athabasca University (Alberta)

Johnson, Kay, Houda Trabelsi, and Tony Tin. “Library Support for Online Learners: e-Resources, e-Services, and the Human Factors.” In Theory and Practice of Online Learning, edited by Terry Anderson and Fathi Elloumi. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University, 2004, 349-365. Online. Available: http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch14.html
Written as part of an electronic book describing the online learning environment at Athabasca University, and designed to help students understand why services are offered the way they are, this chapter outlines the theory and practice of providing library support to distance learners. The authors begin with background information by way of the CLA and ACRL guidelines for library support to distance learners, and go on to touch upon the major components of modern library support in this environment. After acknowledging the fact that the majority of the world’s information is not available digitally, and addressing the ramifications of this reality when supporting distance students, the chapter goes on to discuss how reference and instructional services are handled in distance education. Keeping in mind the primary audience, each section includes links to examples at Athabasca University. The chapter concludes with a nod to “the most important determinants of the success of the virtual library” – people – by addressing the importance of partnerships and collaboration. P. Pival.

Magusin, Elaine and Kay Johnson. “Collaborating on Electronic Course Reserves to Support Student Success.” In The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Scottsdale, Arizona, May 5 -7, 2004, edited by Patrick B. Mahoney. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2004, 189-195. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 41, no. 1/2 (2004): 255-264.
A home-grown electronic reserves module (The Digital Reading Room, or DRR) to support distance students at Athabasca University has been in place since 2002, after the library decided it needed something more flexible than the vendor-supplied product they had been using. After an initial pilot, the DRR has become established as gateway to digital resources, both through the library’s databases and material provided by the teaching faculty. Very little material that needs to clear copyright is included in the DRR, though document delivery requests for required or suggested readings are handled through this system. Benefits to students are discussed, as is the boon to information literacy provided by the simple boost in awareness of library resources provided by the DRR. P. Pival.

Magusin, Elaine, Kay Johnson, and Tony Tin. “Library Services: Designing the Digital Reading Room to Support Online Learning.” Paper presented at Distance Learning 2003: The 19th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, August 13-15, 2003, Madison Wisconsin. Available online (in pdf format)
Athabasca University developed its Digital Reading Room (DRR) as an interactive, integrated approach to providing distance learners with required and supplementary course materials in a variety of formats. A collaborative effort among librarians, faculty and educational media developers, the DRR is a repository for course reserve readings as well as learning objects. The DRR is part of the larger Digital Reference Center (DRC), which includes an online reference collection and subject guides developed collaboratively by librarians and faculty. Advantages of having faculty participate in the creation of subject guides include the subject expertise that they bring to the project and the increased propensity of faculty members to use and promote a resource that they helped develop. Librarians integrate information literacy resources and instruction into the subject guides. J. Markgraf.

Pival, Paul R. and Kay Johnson. “Tri-Institutional Library Support: A Lesson in Forced Collaboration.” In The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Scottsdale, Arizona, May 5 -7, 2004, edited by Patrick B. Mahoney. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2004, 257-263. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 41, no. 3/4 (2004): 345-354.
Library support to a tri-institutional Masters in Applied Psychology is discussed. Libraries at each of three institutions in Alberta provided a different aspect of support for the students in this large program, including document delivery, electronic reserves, and collection development. The institutions were Athabasca University, University of Calgary, and University of Lethbridge. Startup trials and tribulations are examined, as are technological and legal hurdles that were faced, including distributing ID cards to allow remote access to databases at all three institutions. The future of this program will include expansion into areas not currently supported by any of the libraries. P. Pival.

Schafer, Steve. “Library Services at Athabasca University: Change the Same.” In [Proceedings of the] ICDE Librarians’ Roundtable, 11-12 October, 1999, The Open University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Open University of Hong Kong, 1999, 28-33. ERIC ED 438 832. Also online. Available: http://www.ouhk.edu.hk/10th/roundtable/canada.pdf (in pdf format)
Athabasca University, based in Athabasca, Alberta, is Canada’s “open university.” Having focused on distance education since 1970, enrollment is rising as people embrace the concept of lifelong learning. The Library has always been an important part of the services offered to students. Through a series of three focus groups held in 1997, the Library gained user feedback, which is helping them move their services into the electronic realm. The author provides an overview of the services offered by the Athabasca University Library, then and now, as well as touching on those things, which haven’t changed much, if at all. B. Reiten.

Node Learning Technologies Network (Ontario)

Wheeler, Justine and Leslie Fournier. “Working in the Asynchronous Environment: Two Case Studies.” In The Ninth Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Portland, Oregon, April 26 -28, 2000, compiled by P. Steven Thomas. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2000, 283-291. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 32, no. 1/2 (2001): 425-438.
Through the use of two very different case studies, the authors provide an overview of librarians and asynchronous learning support. At the University of Calgary, the librarian has become an integral part of the Master of Continuing Education online courses, taking part in course chats as well as hosting their own section within the course. This close contact allows the librarian to offer point-of-need assistance to the students. Node Learning Technologies Network serves as an online community for distance learning librarians, providing a support community of fellow practitioners as well as resources for student support. B. Reiten.

Royal Roads University (British Columbia)

Croft, Rosie and Shailoo Bedi. “eBooks for a Distributed Learning University: The Royal Roads University Case.” In The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Scottsdale, Arizona, May 5 -7, 2004, edited by Patrick B. Mahoney. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2004, 85-103. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 41, no. 1/2 (2004): 113-137.
Royal Roads University (RRU) is in British Columbia and received a provincial mandate in 1995 to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees to mid-career professionals. The school selected programs to offer, based on the needs of the market. The library followed the lead of the university by focusing on lifelong learning and student-centered delivery and support. The library started with a small print collection to which the librarians have added both print and electronic books thereby tailoring the collection to support the new academic mission of the university. The library began its electronic book collection in April 2000 and has added numerous titles from NetLibrary, ebrary, and ITKnowledge (ceased in February 2001). The library staff has spent a significant amount of money to add the these electronic books to the collection and decided to survey users to see if these books are being used and by whom; whether the users prefer using NetLibrary, ebrary, or print books; and if the books satisfy the needs of the clientele. The librarians involved in the online survey asked students eleven questions and added one more for the faculty. The article includes the questions and breaks up the responses by student, faculty, and department, if appropriate. The authors include findings some of which were expected and others were a surprise. The authors also set goals based on the unmet needs they discovered from the survey. E. Onega.

McFarland, Dana and Susan Chandler. “‘Plug and Play’ in Context: Reflections on a Distance Information Literacy Unit.” Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship 7, no. 2/3 (2002): 115-129, and Library Services for Business Students in Distance Education: Issues and Trends, edited by Shari Buxbaum. New York: Haworth Press, 2002, 115-129.
Recognizing the need for information literacy instruction to be tied to the relevant point in a student’s learning career, the Royal Roads University Library has created an information literacy unit designed to integrate with established research courses. It took several iterations of the course, delivered first in print and then via the web, before the library and the faculty established a successful formula for administering the unit. Initially, the intention was for the faculty member to deliver the content and administer the unit, with the library serving in the traditional support role. It was soon found that the faculty didn’t feel comfortable with the unit, which eventually led to the hiring of a dedicated librarian-lecturer who runs the information literacy unit in each course. In three of the four programs where the information literacy unit has been implemented, the unit has been integrated with the other course elements. In the fourth, it has been relegated to “recommended reading.” The authors discuss the difference between interactions with students in this fourth program as opposed to those in the other three. The library has sought feedback from all participants in this program – the librarian-instructor, the faculty, the students, and the librarians – and is using this to help guide further development of the “information literacy learning spiral” they are creating. B. Reiten.

Ryerson Polytechnic University (Ontario)

Lowe, Wendy and Richard Malinski. “Distance Learning: Success Requires Support.” Education Libraries 24, no. 2/3 (2000): 15-17.
By looking at distance learning support from the viewpoint of student needs, Ryerson Polytechnic University (RPU) has developed a collaborative method for meeting those needs. Using the library as their example, the authors describe how RPU is coordinating services between the technical, administrative, and academic sides of the university. B. Reiten.

University of Calgary

Matheson, Arden. “Research Note: Research Services for Distant Learners: The OLADE Project.” Online Information Review 25 no. 5 (2001): 321-325.
OLADE, the Latin American Energy Organization (Organizacion Latino Americana de Energia), is an international agency aimed at promoting the development, conservation and rational use of energy resources in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1997, the University of Calgary began offering a Masters of Science degree program in energy and the environment in Quito, Ecuador, to train professionals to assist OLADE in fulfilling its mandate. The University of Calgary Library believes that distance students should have the same access to electronic databases, research materials and document delivery as on-campus students. The author describes how, through technology and the Internet, these information resources were made available to the off-continent students enrolled in the program. Through direct Web connections and instruction using CD-ROM presentations, access to full-text and index databases, e-mail, research resources and document delivery was effectively provided. F. Devlin.

Matheson, Arden. “Research Services for Distant Learners: The OLADE Project.” Paper presented at the ACRL 10th National Conference: Crossing the Divide: Denver, Colorado, March 15-18, 2001. Available: online (in pdf format)
Providing remote access to library services and resources can be problematic at short range; when crossing continents, it can be daunting. The partnership between the University of Calgary and OLADE (the Latin American Energy Organization) shows that these difficulties can be overcome through the intelligent use of technology and a willingness to learn from less successful attempts. The head of the University of Calgary’s business school library, the Management Resource Centre (MRC) provides a history of the collaboration. While the MRC has taken the lead in provision of library services, OLADE has an on-site library. The balance of front-line support has gradually moved from the MRC to the OLADE librarian as they became more comfortable with the resources provided by MRC. The technology used to provide library services to the students in Quito, Ecuador has changed over the course of the program, as well. The most recent innovation is moving to true distance delivery of library and information literacy instruction. B. Reiten.

Pival, Paul R. and Kay Johnson. “Tri-Institutional Library Support: A Lesson in Forced Collaboration.” In The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Scottsdale, Arizona, May 5 -7, 2004, edited by Patrick B. Mahoney. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2004, 257-263.
Library support to a tri-institutional Masters in Applied Psychology is discussed. Libraries at each of three institutions in Alberta provided a different aspect of support for the students in this large program, including document delivery, electronic reserves, and collection development. The institutions were Athabasca University, University of Calgary, and University of Lethbridge. Startup trials and tribulations are examined, as are technological and legal hurdles that were faced, including distributing ID cards to allow remote access to databases at all three institutions. The future of this program will include expansion into areas not currently supported by any of the libraries. P. Pival.

Wheeler, Justine and Leslie Fournier. “Working in the Asynchronous Environment: Two Case Studies.” In The Ninth Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Portland, Oregon, April 26 -28, 2000, compiled by P. Steven Thomas. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2000, 283-291. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 32, no. 1/2 (2001): 425-438.
Through the use of two very different case studies, the authors provide an overview of librarians and asynchronous learning support. At the University of Calgary, the librarian has become an integral part of the Master of Continuing Education online courses, taking part in course chats as well as hosting their own section within the course. This close contact allows the librarian to offer point-of-need assistance to the students. Node Learning Technologies Network serves as an online community for distance learning librarians, providing a support community of fellow practitioners as well as resources for student support. B. Reiten.

University of Lethbridge (Alberta)

Pival, Paul R. and Kay Johnson. “Tri-Institutional Library Support: A Lesson in Forced Collaboration.” In The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Scottsdale, Arizona, May 5 -7, 2004, edited by Patrick B. Mahoney. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2004, 257-263.
Library support to a tri-institutional Masters in Applied Psychology is discussed. Libraries at each of three institutions in Alberta provided a different aspect of support for the students in this large program, including document delivery, electronic reserves, and collection development. The institutions were Athabasca University, University of Calgary, and University of Lethbridge. Startup trials and tribulations are examined, as are technological and legal hurdles that were faced, including distributing ID cards to allow remote access to databases at all three institutions. The future of this program will include expansion into areas not currently supported by any of the libraries. P. Pival.

University of Northern British Columbia

Black, Nancy E. “Going the Distance: Library Service for the Distant Student.” Feliciter 50, no. 4 (2004): 159-160.
One professional librarian and several support staff make up Regional Library Services for the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The program and Librarian are well integrated into the entire regional services model, allowing the Librarian to be a strong advocate for services to distance students. Positive and helpful attitude and a strong service model are held up as reasons for success and several kudos from distance students are included. P. Pival.

Black, Nancy E. “Emerging Technologies: Tools for Distance Education and Library Services.” In The Ninth Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings: Portland, Oregon, April 26 -28, 2000, compiled by P. Steven Thomas. Mount Pleasant, MI: Central Michigan University, 2000, 29-38. Reprinted in Journal of Library Administration 31, no. 3/4 (2001): 45-59.
Rather than attempting to offer distance education worldwide, the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) has focused instead on providing high quality distance education and support to its region (a region the size of Germany). As a new institution, UNBC has been able to include distance learning support within the development of all library services, rather than having to change existing ones. In addition to a discussion of the library services provided to distance learners, the author gives an overview of the use of technology at UNBC to deliver both the academic and library support components of distance education. Working together – collaboration between all members of the university – is vital to the success of distance learning, and is the strong part of what makes their library support successful. B. Reiten.