Libraries and the Enchancement of E

Libraries and the Enhancement of
E-learning: OCLC Task Force
Pat Albanese
CIO and Executive Director of Library
Mount Holyoke College
April 1 2005
Background on the E-learning
Task Force
Diverse geographically, functionally and
To explore issues of interaction of the academic
library and e-learning and what role OCLC has
to play in this arena.
Spring to Fall 2003.
What is E-learning?
Technology enriched classes and learning
From e-reserves to fully online collections.
From syllabus posting to online communities.
Both distance learning and hybrid courses.
A promise of enriched teaching and learning
An environment and set of services that crosses
traditional institutional lines.
Key Component:Learning Objects
What are learning objects?
Small teaching packages that can be shared and
recombined to form new teaching packages.
Various forms:
e.g., Powerpoint presentations, Word documents,
hyperlinks, digital images, audio and video clips,
simulations and combinations of forms.
Reusable digital content often stored in
Learning Objects, cont.
Some Examples of Learning Objects:
A QTVR Interface for Ancient Greek Archaeological Sites
Annotated poems by John Milton
Flash animations illustrating astronomical distances
Audio files of speeches by US Presidents
A murder mystery that allows students to select their French proficiency
level before attempting to solve the crime
Learning Objects, cont.
Composites of:
Object itself
Context that the object is used within
Metadata must recognize this composite nature
Reusing and sharing learning objects requires
metadata and careful management.
Similar nature and issues as with other library
content, but dynamic and more complex.
Digital Repositories
Collections of learning objects and other
digital information
Multiple formats
Experiencing huge growth
Lack of common standards
Often self contained searching
Single or multiple content areas
Course Management Systems (CMS)
Course Management Systems
Also known as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE)
and Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Software applications that manage a course’s
electronic elements.
Aggregation point for E-learning elements
Course Management Systems, cont.
Electronic elements might include: learning objects,
course content, online discussions, e-reserves,
hyperlinks, etc.
CMS vendors include Blackboard, WebCT, eCollege,
and others.
Open source and homegrown CMS:
Sakai Project - (four university partners include MIT
the University of Michigan, Indiana University and Stanford)
Moodle- a favorite among small liberal arts colleges
Segue- Middlebury
Course Management Systems, cont.
Growth in Use of CMS in College Courses
Percent of Courses Using CMS
Source: Campus
Computing Project
Course Management Systems, cont.
Rising student enrollment in CMS at
Mount Holyoke College, 2000-04.
Students Enrolled
Fall 00
Fall 01
Fall 02
Fall 03
Fall 04
Why is E-learning Important?
High use and growth on campuses and in courses
More than 70% of colleges engage in some
form of distance learning
More than 80% of colleges offer hybrid courses
Significant (and growing) campus investments
Control spending increases – need to leverage
resources and opportunity
Why is E-learning Important?, cont.
Core service enhancement with improved learning
A new pedagogy
Intersection of technology with content, teaching and
Changes in how students and faculty access, create
and use information
Student expectations
Window into the teaching/learning activity of campus
Why is E-learning Important?, cont.
Potential of convergence of services and
Easy and convenient access to services at the point
of use
Shift to a student-centric learning environment
Parallel Developments:
Internet resources
E-content (books, journals, images, audio etc)
Metadata activity (ie Dublin Core)
Web services
Digitization Projects
Some Issues
Institutional and multi-institutional repositories
Significant growth in number and type
Bridge the silos
Discovery across repositories
Some Issues,
Ownership, management and support of
learning objects and repositories
Cross organizational project and can
create institutional tensions
Ownership of materials versus
aggregation for wide access and use
Multiple approaches to collaboration
Some Issues,
 Cultural barriers
Crosses traditional boundaries
Seamlessness is essential, yet different systems
Service convergence but organizational barriers
Lack of common language/values
 Perspective shift to integration/interoperability
of e-learning management systems and library
Some Issues,
Interoperability requires the creation of new
Search for and development of specifications and
standards for E-learning communities
Creation of international standards for managing and
sharing learning objects and embedding access to
information resources in course management systems
National and regional efforts at standards creation (e.g.,
International effort: IMS Global Learning Consortium
How Does It Fit Together?
Requires multiple skill base
Technical skills
Instructional design
New pedagogy
Information integration
Crosses traditional boundaries
Faculty, students, library, administrators, IT department,
instructional designer
No common view of e-learning infrastructure and
associated issues
How Does It Fit Together?,
Questions of ownership and management of learning
objects and other information repositories
Service and/or organizational convergence
Close alliances with faculty/learners
Some steps to integration may include:
Embed library resources in course management systems
Customize portal facilities for storing personal preferences
Provide bibliographic tools that permit easy searching and
reference completions
Some Common Ground: Needs/Skills
E-learning - Needs
Shared repositories
Connect educators and
learning objects
Metadata development
Quality control/version
Repository selection
Intellectual property
Libraries - Skills
Federated searching
Locate material
Connections with users
Metadata creation
Collection development
Copyright/IP education
Findings of the Task Force White Paper
E-learning broadens avenues for teaching and learning
Course management systems (CMS) allow faculty
instructional designer and IT staff to work together
CMS as technological glue joining these groups
Hence the rise of enterprise wide CMS deployments
Findings of the White Paper, cont.
 On campus: A genuine need for cooperation to
leverage resources, create seamless environment
Cultural barriers and political elements
Lack of cooperation between groups within institutions
Among campuses: A need for collaboration
An overwhelming need for standards
Vision for Libraries and E-Learning
What would it change if:
Teachers and learners had a common way to
search for learning objects and other information
Teachers and learners had help in identifying
existing learning objects?
There was quality control on learning objects?
Vision for Libraries and E-Learning, cont.
What would it change if :
Learners had a common place where their
research elements could be accessed, managed
and organized?
Learners had a common place and set of tools
that helped with managing citations, bib and
webliographies and other writing tools?
Vision for Libraries and E-Learning, cont.
What would it change if :
We had interoperable metadata standards?
Content and other library services were
seamlessly available to E-learning
The best way to predict the future
is to invent it.
Alan Kay

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