by Joy Dlugosz, Librarian for Public Services, Administration & Research
Currently, Eastern University is increasing its online course offerings. To accommodate this goal, the University subscribed to two learning management systems – Brightspace and Capital Education. Within these two platforms, Warner Library is extending its virtual presence to students. The following is an example of how Warner librarians are enhancing students’ online experience.
Joy Dlugosz is working with the Nursing Department which recently launched its first completely online BS in Nursing for Registered Nurses (RN to BSN) for adult learners. Having met with individual nursing faculty to discuss their syllabus, course content and assignments, Joy then embedded access points for specific course-related library research tools in the faculty member’s course site. In addition, Joy custom designs research guides for each course, including recommended databases, journal titles, and e-books- all hyperlinked for easy access. Then the guides are dynamically linked in the course’s LMS. In order to add these resources to the online course, the professor adds Joy to the course site in the role of ‘librarian’. This limited role allows librarians to only place research resources in Capital Education (for the Nursing Program) and in Brightspace (for other courses). When nursing students log into their course, they can easily access the customized library tools Joy added to their course, nestled along all the instructional content and support provided by their instructor. Other academic guides are added to the course in addition to the specialized ones. Some examples include:
- Citing in APA Format
- Addressing Plagiarism
- Using Refworks
- Evaluating Websites
- Google: Become an Expert
- Contact a Librarian for Help
At this time, Joy is working primarily with the Nursing faculty to achieve the integration of library resources for the RN to BSN Program within Capital Education, but the popularity of this service is growing! Other Eastern Faculty have expressed interest.
Recently the 10th Cohort of the PhD in Organizational Leadership met on campus for the first time. Since these students are remote learners, it is most advantageous to them to have all the subject related research resources available within easy reach – directly in Brightspace. After meeting with the class to introduce them to the library, Joy spoke with Dr. Greenhalgh regarding the importance of having access to specific library resources available to this student group. Greenhalgh immediately added Joy to his Brightspace LEAD 710 course. Now subject specific resources are directly available to this cohort of students at their point of need.
“For online students in particular, the Learning Management System is effectively their campus. Positioning the library at the heart of the virtual campus seems as important as positioning the library as the heart of the physical campus. While it is true that students could seek out librarians and instructional content via the library website, making library help and instructional content available at students’ points of need in a familiar platform can lead to significantly greater usage of those services and resources.” (Farkas, 2015)
Ultimately having the resources within an LMS, and particularly for remote learners, will result in a positive impact on students in the research component of their coursework. The library will become a part of their academic studies – as it should be.
Farkas, M. G. (2015). Libraries in the Learning Management System. Tips and Trends. ACRL Instruction Section, Instructional Technologies Committee, Summer. http://bit. ly/tipsandtrendssu15.