Embedding e-resources in Distance Learning: A New Way of Working but is Learning Enhanced?

This source preferred by Chris Shiel

Authors: Shiel, C.

Journal: International Journal of Learning

Volume: 15

Pages: 31-42

ISSN: 1447-9494

Bournemouth University (BU) was recently recognised by the Higher Education Academy in the UK as a ‘pathfinder institution’ and as such, is engaged in a ‘pathfinder project’. The Pathfinder Programme is enabling a range of projects to be taken forward across higher education, with a focus on extending and enhancing the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Initiatives are building upon existing good practice, developing synergies which contribute to leading change, and disseminating institutional developments. Essentially the Pathfinder Programme is intended to be a ‘transformation initiative which has organisational change, development and dissemination as its core aims’ with the goal being ‘exploiting and developing synergies to enhance and change practice where necessary’ (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ourwork/learning/elearning/pathfinder. At BU, ‘practice change’ is being taken forward under the umbrella of the ‘e-Res project’ with the specific aims ‘to enhance the student learning experience.This paper provides a description and evaluation of just one of the ‘case studies’ that falls under the ‘e-Res’ umbrella: embedding e-resources in ‘Global Perspectives’, an online module for distance learners. The paper provides the context for this development, highlighting the importance of teamwork in the development of e-learning, and outlining the process by which a substantial ‘resource pack’ for an e-learning module became obsolete, once reading material became embedded in the modules content and activities. The paper highlights issues of copyright with regard to e-learning developments. An evaluation of how the students engaged with the e-resources is presented; this includes evidence from a student feedback questionnaire. Finally, conclusions address the extent to which learners prefer embedded resources and suggest that developing e-learning requires academics to rethink how they engage with subject librarians.

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