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The VLE as a Transformational Technology. David Ball. Summary. Student use of electronic resources The e-book explosion Virtual learning environments (VLEs): challenges and opportunities. The Digital Natives. The average 21-year-old has: Spent 5,000 hours video-gaming

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  • Student use of electronic resources

  • The e-book explosion

  • Virtual learning environments (VLEs): challenges and opportunities

The digital natives
The Digital Natives

The average 21-year-old has:

  • Spent 5,000 hours video-gaming

  • Sent 250,000 emails/messages

  • Spent 10,000 hours on a mobile ‘phone

  • Spent 3,000 hours online

    “ Their preference is for sharing, staying connected, instantaneity, multi-tasking, assembling random information into patterns, and using technology in new ways.” - Marc Prensky

The digital immigrants
The Digital Immigrants

Are less likely to have:

  • An iPod or equivalent

  • Posted material on the web

  • Created a blog or profile on MySpace

  • Downloaded content such as music, film

  • Taken a picture with a mobile ‘phone

Student use of e resources
Student Use of E-Resources

  • Tenopir’s survey of surveys shows drivers:

    • Young users inhabiting electronic world

    • Convenience – desk top, speed, save/print

  • Health science library usage:

    • 28,000 full text downloads; 1800 uses of print

  • Bournemouth University:

    • 128% rise in full-text downloads over 4 years

    • Heavy undergraduate use of journal articles

    • 72% of nursing students’ last access from home

Virtual learning environments
Virtual Learning Environments

“The components in which learners and tutors participate in ‘online’ interactions of various kinds, including online learning”

  • Controlled access to curriculum

  • Tracking student activity and achievement

  • Support of on-line learning

  • Communication between the learner, the tutor and others

  • Links to other administrative systems

Vle as a transformational technology
VLE as a Transformational Technology

  • Digital natives

  • Digital learning environment

  • Interactions with lecturers, other learners and administrators will be increasingly by electronic means

  • Core learning resources created by lecturers will be available through VLE

  • Students’ expectation will be for all learning resources to be so

  • MyBU

Challenges for the profession
Challenges for the Profession

Studies show little integration of library resources into VLEs

  • Infiltrate resources into VLEs

  • Exploit VLE functionality

  • Develop procurement practice

    • E-books

    • Non-traditional learning resources

  • Develop information architecture

E books

  • Existing heavy use of e-journals by undergraduates

  • Electronic medium the norm for students’ social and leisure pursuits

  • Electronic medium becoming primary in HE

  • Need for e-books

E books problems and obstacles
E-Books: Problems and Obstacles

  • Lack of a clear open standard for operating systems;

  • Fears about the protection of content and the rights of the content owner in the context of giving users flexibility;

  • Lack of appropriate content in suitable quantities;

  • Pricing of titles, software and hardware;

  • Lack of integration into the general market for books. (Herther)

E books current developments
E-Books: Current Developments

  • Google Book Project:

    • California, Complutense of Madrid, Harvard, Michigan, New York Public Library, Oxford, Stanford

    • Scan and digitise 16m volumes

  • MSN and BL – 100,000 volumes

  • Apple:

    • iPod book reader

    • Agreement on content with publisher

Supc e books tender
SUPC E-Books Tender

  • Developing market place

  • Virtual Learning Environments

  • Fluid business models

    • Mimic hard-copy business models

    • Trend towards bundling/Big Deal

  • Avoid what happened with e-journals

    • Publishers determined business models

    • Price tied to historical hard-copy spend

Preparing the specification
Preparing the Specification

Aim to provide agreements that:

  • Were innovative and flexible

  • Exploited the electronic medium fully

  • Focused on users’ needs not libraries’

  • Encouraged the addition of library-defined content

    Two distinct requirements:

  • Requirement A – a hosted e-book service from which institutions can purchase or subscribe to individual titles

  • Requirement B – a hosted e-book service of content that is specified by the institutions

E textbooks

  • Obvious advantages for libraries: no multiple copies or SLCs, staff savings

  • BUT 80% of publishers’ textbook revenue is from individuals - not available

  • One aggregator has offered e-textbooks direct to students at 50% of list price

Contract award
Contract Award

  • Requirement A: Ebrary and Proquest Safari

    • Offer innovative models, value for money, flexibility and academic content of interest to members

    • Exploit electronic medium in terms of granularity and multi-user access

  • Requirement B: Ebrary

    • Flexibility and willingness to work openly

    • Textbooks model

First six months
First Six Months

  • Impressed with both suppliers

  • Gradual uptake, due to timing of budgets

  • Student usage of collections much wider than anticipated; Ebrary functionality particularly liked

  • Good progress towards nursing core collection

    • Nearly all top publishers signed up

    • Business models for textbooks being developed

Non traditional resources
Non-Traditional Resources

  • Lecturer’s/course team’s content

  • Course-pack readings

  • Course materials from other universities

    • Open access (e.g. MIT)

    • Subscribed

  • Commercial content designed for VLEs

    • Mediated by Blackboard

    • Open market

Rights management issues
Rights Management Issues

  • Who owns what rights – lecturers, university, publisher…?

  • Number of courses, students, years, campuses?

  • Can you repurpose? Export? Franchise? Sell?

  • More complex than a book on a shelf, or an e-journal package

Integrating into the vle 1
Integrating into the VLE - 1

Pathways to information:

  • VLE as one-stop-shop

  • Use of library catalogues/portals will decline

  • Embed/link to resources at point of need

  • Encourage use of wide variety of resources

  • Re-engineer information architecture

Integrating into the vle 2
Integrating into the VLE - 2

Interaction with students:

  • Exploit VLE functionality and structures

  • Integrate into courses, units at point of need

  • Use quizzes, discussion boards

  • Virtual classroom for remote students

Integrating into the vle 3
Integrating into the VLE - 3

Interaction with staff

  • Use organisations/groups to target particular staff – departments, subjects, research interests

  • Internally created resources maximised by content management system

  • Staff development


Position libraries for the VLE age by:

  • Maximising electronic availability

  • Influencing content aggregators

  • E-textbooks move us closer to completely electronic provision

  • Integrating resources and exploiting the new functionality