e-Learning Stuff Podcast #056: QR Codes in the Library

August 1, 2010

We’ve put QR Codes in the Library to enable learners quick and easy access to electronic resources.

With James Clay.

This is the fifty sixth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, QR Codes in the Library.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: QR Codes in the Library

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes


Study like a scholar, scholar

July 20, 2010

Is your Library cool?

Made me smile.

100 ways to use a VLE – #19 Reading a book

May 7, 2010

A book, how on earth can you read a book on the VLE?

A book, a printed paper thing!


Of course we are talking about electronic books, e-books.

It doesn’t really matter whether you like or don’t like e-books as the issue isn’t about choosing one over the other, it’s about convenience and ease of use for the learner.

e-Books should really be seen not as an alternative to paper books, but as an addition an enhancement. Learners still may be given or buy a core text book, they will still have access to the library and that collection. Using e-books on the VLE is about increasing access to resources.

For any course, it is very useful for learners to have access to a reading list, a selection of useful books. Having access to those e-books via the VLE makes that reading list really useful.

Generally most VLE platforms can not be used to host commercial e-books, so most of the time you will need to link to whichever e-book platform that your institution decides to subscribe to.
We use the JISC Collections e-Books for FE collection and this uses the Ebray platform. This allows us to link to individual pages within individual books, books and collections (bookself) of books.

We would never expect learners to just use e-books and never use any other books, however having access to e-books allows learners to access a (virtual) library at a time and place to suit them.

So, yes you can read a book on the VLE!

Picture source.

Promoting e-resources

April 20, 2010

In the past we had books, journals, magazines and newspapers in our institutional libraries. Places full of print media. We had individual desks and small tables.

Then computers arrived. In the main so that learners could use them to type up stuff or use “educational” software.

Then the internet arrived and lots of things changed.

Today the learner not only has access to all the traditional print media, they also have access to all the resources available online.

The Excellence Gateway has another useful case study on how promoting resources can increase usage of the library.

Hull College has increased library usage through the promotion of e-resources. The College is now able to cater to an increased number of learners and also tailor services to different types of learner, such as distance or part-time students, or learners with disabilities. e-Resources have made the library service more responsive to the needs of both learners and staff within College.

We have undertaken a recent review of our own promotion of e-books and have started to undertake new and exciting promotional activties to increase usage of e-books by learners and staff.

Key things we are doing include:

  • Letting staff know what new resources and e-books there are. We are using different channels, print publications, e-mail, VLE and importantly face to face conversations.
  • As well as letting them know what is available, we are also promoting how they can use the resources to support teaching and learning.
  • We are using similar methods with learners, using print, e-mail, SMS, VLE and social networking.
  • In the libraries themselves staff are ensuring that when learners ask for particular resources that as well as showing them the print publications they are also showing the learners relevant e-books and online resources.
  • We have also ensured that all the e-books we have are in our catalogue.

Having digital and online resources is not just about getting them or getting access to them, but also ensuring that learners and staff know about them.

How do you promote e-resources to your staff and learners?

Using data

April 12, 2010

Some of you may know that as well as responsibility for ILT (e-learning) at Gloucestershire College I am also in charge of the Libraries.

This case study from the Excellence Gateway is an interesting one.

Tresham College of Further and Higher Education has introduced learning resources loan data into the main College reporting system, which has allowed all staff to see the information. This has encouraged the closer integration of learning resources with the curriculum. As one of a series of innovations this has helped almost double the amount of resources borrowed by learners.

The more you know about how the resources are been used allows you to target the resources you do have better. It also needn’t be an issue of the Learning Resources staff doing all the work, involve practitioners and learners. As Tracey Burrows, Programme Co-ordinator, School of Business and Professional Studies says:

I have used the book loan statistics with my learners and it has been useful to see which books they have used. This has allowed the group to recommend resources to each other and has led to increased book borrowing which has benefited the learners in achieving their objectives.

Of course you can overload users with data and information, so care is needed. I will be looking at this case study to see if we can implement the lessons learned.

Libraries of the future

March 15, 2010

Imagine a new Library of Alexandria. Imagine an archive that contains all the natural and social sciences of the West—our source-critical, referenced, peer-reviewed data—as well as the cultural and literary heritage of the world’s civilizations, and many of the world’s most significant archives and specialist collections. Imagine that this library is electronic and in the public domain: sustainable, stable, linked, and searchable through universal semantic catalogue standards.

Thanks to @ostephens on Twitter who pointed out this thoughtful article from Lisbet Rausing on imagining the future of libraries.

It’s an interesting observation when in the article it says

the question for scholars and gatekeepers is not whether change is coming. It is whether they will be among the change-makers. And if not them, then who?

We know change is coming, we can pretend that we can fight it, but the reality is that we need to be making that change.

100 ways to use a VLE – #20 Providing library information

March 5, 2010

One of the more traditional ways of providing information about the library is in the course handbook, via a poster or on the college website.

The VLE is one more way of providing learners with information on the library. Though with the extra tools and functionality that the VLE brings, the learners won’t only be able to access information on the library, but also engage with the library and library staff.

It’s not just about having information about when the library opens, services available, computer bookings, rules and regulations…

It’s not just about having lists of e-resources and links available…

Nor an electronic guide to the books, journals and newspapers that learners can borrow and read.

It’s not just about embedding library systems such as Heritage (or similar) so that learners can check their loans or reserve books.

A VLE has a lot more functionality, and library teams should really make use of that to ensure that the

Remember with a VLE that information can be video, or audio, or a virtual tour!

A VLE can have a discussion forum, a place for learners to seek help and ask questions.

A VLE can have quizzes; an induction quiz for example, or a questionnaire to solicit feedback from learners on how they are (or are not) using the library.

A VLE can be used for virtual inductions, reader development progammes, study skills, information skills, reading skills and other short courses or workshop sessions.

Curriculum teams will also be able to embed or links from the library into their courses, ensuring that the library and its wealth of resources are easily available to the learners on the course. Generally if learners use resources from the library (guided by their teacher) in addition to teacher provided resources they are not only more like to achieve on their course of study, but will gain higher grades or marks.

The VLE is not an obvious place for many library staff, but it makes sense to use it to support the core library function. In the same way that the VLE is often used as a supplement to the physical learning environment, the librar,y which is often a key area in the physical learning environment, to not have a similar area on the VLE would be depriving learners of an effective resource to enhance their learning.

Libraries of the future

July 20, 2009

So what is the Library of the future, JISC have been having that discussion.

“To move from the present library to what is required in the future will be an immense challenge.  JISC will use the outcomes from the debate to guide institutions in how to plan their futures.”

Watch the video.

More from JISC on Libraries of the future

Colleges, universities and the digital challenge

May 30, 2008

The JISC and the Guardian jointly published a feature on the digital challenge facing libraries.

Academic libraries are changing faster than at any time in their history. Information technology, online databases, and catalogues and digitised archives have put the library back at the heart of teaching, learning and academic research on campus.

There are some interesting articles in there.

My job role is managing both e-learning (ILT) and the Libraries in my college, something which is happening more often in FE, I know Trafford College has a similar position and another college in the South-West is advertising a similar position soon.

I do believe it is important that the e-learning and learning resources functions within an FE College if not managed by the same person, the relevant managers should be working closely together. Libraries need to embrace the digital challenge not try and fight it.

Colleges, universities and the digital challenge

And before you ask, no, embracing the digital world, does not mean getting rid of all the books!