The Role of Librarians in e-Learning

Librarians are logical contributors to the development of e-learning initiatives. We are technology pioneers out of necessity and by proclivity. We are experts in the selection and organization of learning resources from print to multimedia to data to digital to learning objects to Web documents to social software. We hold a vision of the information universe. In seeing the big picture, we understand the value and interconnections of its component parts.

The development of information literacy in support of student learning alligns directly with the new curriculum directions set by many universities: ((For specific inquiry expectations see the Ontario Council of Academic Vice Presidents (OCAV) Guidelines for University Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (2005). For new directions see The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. (1998).Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities. State University of New York at Stony Brook: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  1. A learner-centred curriculum moves away from major emphasis on transmission of content to stress on the process of active learning and some student independence in selection of learning tasks.
  2. Emphasis on deep learning describes a learning approach that is characterized by intrinsic interest in what is being studied
  3. Independent, lifelong, and self-directed learning enable students to go beyond acquiring factual information to develop and use higher-order critical thinking skills such as synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.
  4. Integrated, interdisciplinary learning helps students develop specific disciplinary competency and a capacity for the integration of different disciplinary perspectives

The learning experience that supports these directions is one of project work and investigation. Whether in physical or virtual classrooms, librarians can support faculty and students in their quest to learn about a subject through exploration and use of information. The adoption of resource-based assignments provides librarians with an opportunity to enhance their involvement in curriculum development and course design. The starting points page outlines a range of initiatives from low threshold activities to full partnership as a course designer where information literacy objectives align with course goals.

Key Readings
Libraries and e-learning: a discussion paper.
Canadian Association for Research Libraries (2005)
Libraries and the enhancement of e-learning.
Online Computer Library Center, United States (2003)
SCONUL e-learning taskforce: final report.
Society of College, National, and University Libraries, United Kingdom (2005)
Ensuring the net generation is net savvy.
George Lorenzo & Charles Dziuban for Educause (2006)
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