Table of Contents
Theresa Preuit, Mercer University
Peggy Richard, Nova University
Luwana Baker, Regent University
Burton, Preuit, and Richard presented a panel discussion on ways that academic libraries are utilizing Innovative software to provide services to distance learners. Wayne Burton began the presentation by providing some background information. He noted that distance education is the fastest growing market in the field of higher education and that many people in the workforce will be utilizing distance education to keep pace with technology.
Next, Theresa Preuit discussed Old Dominion University's library services for distance learners. They provide distance learning to an average of 7,300 students at fifty sites including community colleges, military installations and ships at sea. Library staff uses an interactive distance learning program that combines video, CD-ROM and web streaming to communicate with distance learners. They provide a variety of library services via the internet such as interlibrary loan request forms, the ability to renew materials, the ability to search electronic resources, email and tutorials. They also provide a toll free phone line.
Wayne Burton then presented the audience with eight issues that libraries must address when supporting distance learning populations. The eight issues are: 1) Equality of service to on campus and off campus users; 2) Data loads from administrative systems; 3) Licensing issues; 4) User authentication for access to subsidized services; 5) Circulation policies for off-campus students; 6) Access by off-campus students to library services such as Ereserves, holds and interlibrary loan; 7) Tracking and tabulating collection use from a specific distance learning site or user status at a site; 8) Policies for "hybrids" - those students who are attending classes on and off campus during a semester. She discussed how Old Dominion University has dealt with these issues. They transfer patron records from their Banner system on a weekly basis. They use PCODE3 to identify each distance learning site. They assign a unique patron type for distance learners and use PCODE2 to further identify this population. They use a proxy server to control access to remote databases and they assign departmental codes to identify departments who are heavy interlibrary loan users. This is helpful in tracking UnCover use and costs.
Luwana Baker was unable to attend the presentation but Preuit provided some background information on Regent University and distributed Baker's handout. "Regent University is a private, graduate level institution that offers master and doctoral degrees in eight schools of study." They have approximately 2,400 students, 785 of which are distance learners from 33 countries. Their students rely heavily on the internet for research and course work. Regent does not use Innovative's interlibrary loan module, but they do offer interlibrary loan services to their distance learners in addition to routine circulation services. They have created a distinct patron type for master's level education students to accommodate the unique loan rules applied to this group of students. At this time, they are using Web Access Management to control access to research databases, but will be migrating to EZ Proxy in the fall of 2001. They provide access to Ereserves through ERes by Docutek Information Systems.
Peggy Richard spoke of Nova University's services to distance learners. Nova came into existence as a distance education institution. They offer a toll free phone line, web instruction, and course work that is a mixture of online lessons and on-campus seminars. The library is responsible for meeting all of the research needs of the distance learners. The reference desk provides reference service to all of their students. There are also six service centers that provide computing facilities, but no on-site library service.
Nova University has established a unique patron category to identify the distance learners. They restrict the use of the web request form to the distance learning population. They have been using a campus proxy server to control access to research databases, but are migrating to Web Access Management. They also plan to begin implementing My Millennium and electronic reserves and they are investing in NetLibrary electronic books to help serve this population.
At this point, the discussion of services to distance learners was opened to the audience. The discussion revealed that there are as many approaches to these issues are there are libraries. Some libraries create distinct patron types and distinct loan rules while others do not. Some libraries use a variety of codes to track this population while others have not identified a need for these statistics. Some libraries are using Innovative products to support services to distance learners while others are using other commercial products. Some libraries load their patron records from a centralized university database while others enter students manually.
Toward the end of the program a discussion ensured regarding Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules and distance learners. A few of the participants noted that some states require ADA compliance for document delivery. This has implications for libraries providing document delivery to students living in those states. University's must be aware of ADA requirements and must be prepared to deliver materials to distance learners in any format required under the ADA.
Old Dominion University
Formerly of Old Dominion University