Library Services for Distance Learning: Sixth Bibliography

UNDER CONSTRUCTION ACRL Distance Learning Section

Chapter 9: Surveys

Alewine, M. C. (2012). Listen to what they have to say! Assessing distance learners’ satisfaction with library services using a transactional survey. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 136-146.
This paper examines how the library at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke conducted an assessment of the effectiveness of library services to its distance learners.  As it saw student enrollment at the university nearly double over a seven year period, the Mary Livermore Library administration noticed an increase in off-campus and online enrollments.  The administration strongly felt a need to ensure the library services offered to off-campus and online students were similar to the amount and quality of those given to on-campus students.  In addition to creating an Outreach/Distance Education Librarian position, the library used survey instruments to gather feedback from the students regarding the effectiveness of the services they received.  Initial surveys that were launched either did not create enough responses due to their format or delivery or did not give the targeted responses needed to improve existing services or create new ones.  After further analysis, the library’s distance education personnel narrowed down the survey to a simple 5 question instrument emailed directly to students who had interactions with library personnel and identified themselves as distance learners. The survey focused on the effectiveness of reference services they received from the library. With a 21.7% response rate, the majority of responses were favorable. Those students who gave a negative response left comments as to why they were not satisfied, which helped provide specific information on reasons for their dissatisfaction with library services.  The survey not only provided useful information to library personnel but also provided an avenue for students to provide their feedback on library services. The survey as a feedback tool will continue to be used by the library as a way to engage students in the process of improving library services. Samples of the survey invitation and survey itself are included in the paper.  M. Venner

Bailey, J. (2012). Informal screencasting: Results of a customer-satisfaction survey with a convenience sample. New Library World, 113(1/2), 7–26. doi:10.1108/03074801211199013
Bailey describes a user satisfaction survey for informal screencasts that had been created using Screenjelly (a free service that is no longer available). Informal screencasts were created as a response to reference questions as well as for general instructional use, and the survey was sent to all of Bailey’s liaison departments and to library staff. Response was generally positive, but there was some difference in responses between those who had had a screencast created for them and those who had only watched one as part of the survey, hinting that further studies should focus on those who had an information need. Tips for creating informal screencasts, based on survey comments, are included. Of note to those looking to perform a similar study, the article provides appendices with the text used for the survey solicitation as well as the survey.

Baro, E. E., & Keboh, T. (2012). Teaching and fostering information literacy programmes: A survey of five university libraries in Africa. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(5), 311–315. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2012.07.001
This short article documents the results of a qualitative questionnaire sent to one university library in each of five African countries. The results of the survey are presented as a short paragraph plus a table, on a range of information literacy-related topics including how librarians define information literacy, which information literacy standards are used, the methods used to promote information literacy instruction, and barriers to information literacy.

Bossu, C., Bull, D., & Brown, M. (2012). Opening up down under:  The role of open educational resources in promoting social inclusion in Australia. Distance Education, 33(2), 151-164.
This study described in this article examined the role of open and distance learning (ODL) opportunities as a tool to increase availability and social inclusion in higher education across Australia to people in remote areas, to people with job and family commitments and to those with lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The study also looked at the perceptions and benefits of open educational resources (OER) used in ODL, such as Web 2.0 technologies, to grow social inclusion. While policies and institutions have been supportive of ODL for decades, Australian universities have not jumped on the OER bandwagon. An online survey was used to collect data from several professional networks with a focus on stakeholders in higher education. The survey questions looked at four areas: (1) knowledge and experience with OER, (2) Institutional support of OER projects, (3) Opinions about the benefits and barriers to adoption of OER on a large scale and (4) the need for public and institutional OER policies. The study found that while many respondents were aware of OER, few had “used, developed or repurposed” OER. In addition, survey participants had not considered the connection between developing national and institutional OER policies as a way to promote greater social inclusion in higher education across Australia.  R.E. Brown

Bowen, A. (2012). A LibGuides presence in a Blackboard environment. Reference Services Review, 40(3), 449-468. doi:10.1108/00907321211254698
Librarians have long been experts at creating subject guides to help students in their research.Formerly, those subject guides were generally either in print or various web formats. In the early 2000s, web-based content management systems became available for use in higher education. According to Bowen, libraries have endeavored to find a satisfactory way to make the connection between learning management software and subject guides. With the development of LibGuides by Springshare, many librarians felt that they had found the best tool and have adopted this web-publishing platform for their subject guides. LibGuides are currently utilized in approximately 4300 libraries in 60 countries. In this article, Aaron Bowen describes a project at California State University/Chico in which course-level Libguides were placed in Blackboard Vista and Blackboard Learn learning management software. (This is the learning management software that is in place at CSU.)
Bowen lists 5 approaches to embedding library content in learning management software. He utilized a “micro-level embedded button” that linked students to the Libguide for the course. There was a separate hyperlink to an assignment that required use of the library resources included in the Libguide. After completion of the assignment which required use of the resources listed on the Libguide, Bowen surveyed students. Student responses indicated that connecting library resources with the LMS is effective in guiding students to library resources if the guide is “embedded prominently and consistently.”

Brahme, M. & Gabriel, L. (2012). Are students keeping up with the e-book evolution? Are e-books keeping up with students’ evolving needs? Distance students and e-book usage, a survey. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 180-198. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2012.705109
While students seem surprised with the ease of accessing electronic books, they are frustrated with features that don’t satisfy their needs. Different vendors’ platforms offer many of the same features, but are used differently. Patrons expect the use of library e-books to be as easy as using a Kindle. However, downloading applications from various platforms is confusing to even tech-savvy patrons. In-person questions were easily identified and were primarily about downloading entire books, printing chapters and/or books, and length of availability of the book. Pepperdine librarians surveyed graduate distance students about their experiences and preferences with e-books. The survey showed most had used tablet readers, over a third had used hand-held devices, 50% had used e-books discovered through the catalog, and 14% had never used an e-book. Drawbacks identified included a lack of books on relevant titles, especially textbooks; “not all pages viewable;” navigation and printing issues; and a lack of notetaking/highlighting ability. Most preferred to use the tablet or iPad format and wanted to be able to print portions of the text. Type of material or purpose was important in opting for an e-book. While on-campus students complained about screen fatigue, the majority of the distance students indicated they could read on screen for at least an hour or longer. Most students felt that e-books have gotten easier to use and many believe the features have improved.  A third indicated they thought they had gotten better at using e-books. Over one quarter hadn’t noticed any changes in e-books. As further evidence confirming that students aren’t keeping up, a majority did not know they could highlight or take notes. Brahme and Gabriel speculate that the findings are mixed because students aren’t aware of all the features or the extensive number of formats available and because “keeping up” is challenging. B. Avery

Casey, A. M. (2012). The knowledge base as an extension of distance learning reference service. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 212-223.
In this article Anne Marie Casey reports the results of her study of distance learning librarians’ opinions on the practicality, feasibility, and desirability of a knowledge base developed from institutional virtual reference interactions to support distance learners. Casey administered a survey to distance learning librarians via an electronic mailing list and conducted follow-up telephone interviews with volunteer respondents. The survey was designed to gather information about librarians’ current use of knowledge bases and their interest in implementing and maintaining them. The majority of survey respondents (76%) reported that their libraries don’t have a knowledge base. Of those, 59% are unsure they would implement one. The main reasons given in the survey were workload and quality control issues, privacy and intellectual property concerns, and the fact that reference interactions do not produce standard answers. Additional issues that were mentioned in the telephone interviews were intended audience for the knowledge base and buy in from staff. Telephone interviews also revealed a lack of clarity regarding the term “knowledge base,” which might have led to misreporting in survey responses. Casey suggests, “This discrepancy may stem from the fact that many people think of a knowledge base as a term that applies more to information technology than to libraries.” Some librarians responding to the survey might not have equated electronic pathfinders, FAQs on their websites, and archived email transactions with knowledge bases. C. Barboz

Chandhok, S., & Babbar, P. (2011). M-learning in distance education libraries: A case scenario of Indira Gandhi National Open University. Electronic Library, 29(5), 637-650. doi:10.1108/02640471111177071
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is the largest university in the world, enrolling 2 million students, serving thousands of academic centers throughout India and in thirty-three countries abroad. IGNOU is contemplating taking education to India’s marginalized and disadvantaged people by providing educational content using mobile technologies (m-learning). A survey was distributed to a 220 sample, local Delhi student population, to assess student m-library service preferences. Based on survey results, services will be implemented in two phases, first: Library OPAC, SMS Notification, Instruction, Reference/Enquiry, RSS Alerts, m-Repository; second: Mobile Library Databases, Links to Open Sources, Moblogging, Mobile Library Circulation, etc. M. Brahme

Dow, M. J., Algarni, M., Blackburn, H., Diller, K., Hallett, K., Musa, A., & Valenti, S. (2012). Infoliteracy@adistance: Creating opportunities to reach (instruct) distance students. Journal of Library & Information Services In Distance Learning, 6(3-4), 265-283.
This study builds on the theoretical information seeking model by Marcia J. Bates (2002) but looks at developing a new model investigating online graduate students and their academic information seeking. The authors used an electronic survey and semi-structured interviews to collect their data and after analyzing it, concluded that the students (1) for the most part, acquired information passively through social and online networks, (2) had difficulty accessing online information sources because of low or little information literacy skills, (3) lacked online searching support, and (4) adopted the principle of least effort, except in some cases. The researchers believe that librarians can use this theoretical model to advocate for university resources and as a way to reach out to online faculty and students. Y. Tran

Hufford, J. R., & Paschel, A. K. (2010). Pre- and postassessment surveys for the distance section of LIBR 1100, Introduction to Library Research. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 693-711. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488956
The authors summarize their attempts to better assess the learning of students in an online class at Texas Tech University entitled “Introduction to Library Research.” While this class had been assessed previously using student evaluations, the data did not provide the needed answers about what students were learning. Librarians created learning outcomes connected to ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards to clarify what they wanted students to learn. Using these desired outcomes, a pre-test and a post-test were presented to students to measure their knowledge about research practices. A comparison of the results showed improvement in some areas of student knowledge. The authors recommend reviewing and revising online information literacy courses each year to make sure they are in line with learning outcome goals and information literacy standards. C. Hanrahan

Kemp, J. W. (2012). Introducing an avatar acceptance model: Student intention to use 3D immersive learning tools in an online learning classroom (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences. (2012-99010-082).
This dissertation presents the results of a quantitative survey study of over 1,000 online graduate students in Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. The purpose of the study was to learn about students’ acceptance of three different distance learning tools for distance education. The author was interested in identifying if moderating factors such as age, gender, visual acuity, experience creating web content, interacting live on the web, and experience with social networking sites might impact acceptance of the technology. In addition, the author also assessed students’ intention to continue using the tools to see if that would have an impact on their acceptance of the technology. The tools in the study were Second Life, a learning management system called ANGEL, and a live web conference tool called Eluminate. The author used a “technology acceptance model” based on Venkateash et. al. as a basis for the survey in this study and compared the results for each platform to see if they fit the Venkatesh model for technology acceptance. Moderate correlations were found between student’s attitudes and intentions regarding Second Life. Correlations were moderated by age, gender, visual acuity, experience creating web content, interacting live on the web, and experience with social networking sites. Unanticipated outcomes included students being dissatisfied with Second Life as a distance learning platform; the Venkatesh model of technology acceptance did not produce a cohesive set of results; students’ attitude was the highest correlation for behavioural intention; vision problems increased the relevance of several of the other determinants and intention; age was also closely related to intention and moderated by attitude; and experience creating web content and using web tools had a moderating effect on attitude but in unexpected ways. A. Kucera

Kvenild, C., & Bowles-Terry, M. (2011). Learning from distance faculty: A faculty needs assessment at the University of Wyoming. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 5(1/2), 10-24. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2011.548239
This article reports on the use of a library needs assessment survey to solicit input from distance education faculty at the University of Wyoming. The authors’ methodology is noteworthy: they used a survey originally administered by Shaffer, Finelstein, Woelfl, and Lyden at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as the basis for phone interviews with selected faculty. The authors used knowledge gained through the phone interviews to then modify the survey, which they administered electronically. Their findings revealed use patterns, strengths of service, and barriers to using library services and resources. Notable barriers included copyright issues when making articles available to students, lack of awareness of services, and simply not thinking of using the library for support. The authors address these barriers by discussing ways to improve communication and marketing, obtain more targeted data, and provide resources legally and efficiently. M. Sylvain

Lewis, J. S. (2011). Using LibQUAL+[R] survey results to document the adequacy of services to distance learning students for an accreditation review. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 5(3), 83-104. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2011.605935
By now all library staff will at least have heard of LibQUAL+[R]. This article focuses on one academic library’s use of this survey tool to demonstrate its compliance with the ACRL Standards for Distance Learning Library Services in its accreditation review. In easy to read and understand language, the author provides the reader with a regional accreditation overview, distance learning standards, and university background; following that introduction is a description of the survey tool, methodology, and analysis of the results with accompanying charts. J. Hutson

Mestre, L. S. (2010). Matching up learning styles with learning objects: What’s effective? Journal of Library Administration, 50(7/8), 808-829. doi:10.1080/01930826.2010.488975
Are learning objects designed to meet the varied learning styles of culturally diverse student users? Mestre’s study determined that most librarians do not take this into account and that a majority of students studied prefer multiple modalities in learning objects that include images, sound and interactive elements. Although limitations to the study include a small student sample and lack of diverse ethnic representation, Mastre’s finding does underscore the importance of addressing learning object design from a pedagogical and user standpoint and stresses that the success of student engagement and learning through these objects are likely dependent on these factors. L. Ismail

Mestre, L. S., Baures, L., Niedbala, M., Bishop, C., Cantrell, S., Perez, A., & Silfen, K. (2011). Learning objects as tools for teaching information literacy online: A survey of librarian usage. College & Research Libraries, 72(3), 236-252.
This article is based on two discussion groups and a survey conducted by the Online Learning Research Committee of the ACRL Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBBS) to determine what online teaching applications librarians are using and how they are designing learning objects embedded in course management systems. The results indicated that pedagogical considerations were lacking in the creation of many learning objects, that many librarians lacked the expertise or training for creating these learning objects, and that the librarians should work closely with faculty when designing learning objects for specific content if successful learning outcomes were to be achieved. Due to the definite challenges mentioned above, the EBBS created the Librarian’s Toolkit for Online Course development for librarians to refer to when creating learning objects. L. Ismail

Nikoi, S., & Armellini, A. (2012). The OER mix in higher education: Purpose, process, product, and policy. Distance Education, 33(2), 165-184.
Nikoi and Armellini present findings from interviews and online surveys of students, academics, and senior managers on their perceptions of the value of open educational resources (OERs) in higher education and “their potential for widening learners’ access to higher education.” This research was part of the evaluation of the Open, Transferable, Technology-enabled Educational Resources (OTTER) project — the University of Leicester’s 12-month institutional OER pilot project in which systems and processes were designed to “support individuals, teams, and departments at the University to release OER for free and open use.” The findings are presented in a framework – the four Ps – that the authors borrowed from a marketing theory by the same name. Nikoi and Armellini call their framework the OER mix, the components of which are purpose, process, product, and policy. According to the study’s authors, the OER mix “represents a challenge that institutions and the higher education sector need to address for OER to have an impact on access and social inclusion.” The findings are grouped by the following themes as identified by the surveyed groups: perceptions of the OER concept; motives for producing OER; policies to promote the sharing of OER; the perceived value of OER in higher education; and OER sustainability. Recommendations for institutions in the four areas are based on user responses. C. Barboza

Oxford, R. (2010). Library 2.0 and information competency in California community college distance education programs: A descriptive study. Ed.D. dissertation, California State University, Fresno, United States — California. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 3424359).
This dissertation, written for an Educational Leadership program at Fresno State, reports on a research study that examined efforts by California Community Colleges to integrate Information Competency (IC) into distance education programs. The author outlines two goals of this study: 1) “to explore and identify trends in usage of Library 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking tools in support of distance education if offered at the various CCC campuses”; 2) “to discover what forms of Information Competency were taking place in the online environment and if they were specifically linked to Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) in the CCCs.” Further, the study explores methods of assessment used for IC instruction at the CCCs. The author provides a detailed analysis of the fifty-four results received from an open-ended and closed-ended survey of colleges. T. Carter

Rebmann, K.R., Molitor, S., & Rainey, B. (2012). Distance Learning Skills and Responsibilities: A Content Analysis of Job Announcements 1996-2010. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 6,100-116. DOI: 10.1080/1533290X.2012.693904
Rebmann, Molitor, and Rainey reviewed archived job descriptions for librarians using advertisement content analysis to determine if distance learning skillsets were growing. They precede their findings with a review of the literature looking at definitions of distance learning and trends. The literature review suggested that libraries are no longer the preferred place of access for remote digital information, and that the library resources such as reading rooms and book stacks are visited less frequently by digital learners. The literature review also suggested that library positions have grown to include services for digital learners.

Rebmann et al. examined more than 19,000 job advertisements published between 1996-2010 in an effort to answer three research questions which included identifying trends for jobs requiring distance learning skills, identifying areas of the library that require distance learning competencies, and identifying jobs that are focused or have a dedicated purpose to distance learning. Conclusions included the fact that there were years where there were fewer advertisements for total jobs and that during the years 1996-1998, there was a rapid increase in the amount of jobs requiring distance learning skills. From 1999-2000, the number of listings decreased but the need for distance learning skills remained stable. Listings dropped from 2007-2010. They also concluded that there is some lack of clarity as to whether the demand for focused distance learning positions is as strong as in the past.

Rebmann et al. also concluded that positions in distance librarianship occurred most often in public service areas, administration, information technology, and technical services. They also suggested that the most common term for positions that focused on distance learning was “Distance Learning Librarian,” followed by “Distance Education Librarian”. D. B. Geier

Roselley, H. S., & Nadzar, F. M. (2013). Evaluating library collections and support services for distance learning programme: A study of e-PJJ students’ perceptions of PTAR UiTM, Malaysia. Journal of Information and Knowledge Management, 3(1), 63-74. Retrieved from

Spronken-Smith, R., Walker, R., Batchelor, J., O’Steen, B., & Angelo, T. (2012). Evaluating student perceptions of learning processes and intended learning outcomes under inquiry approaches. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37(1), 57-72. doi:10.1080/02602938.2010.496531
The authors of this study looked at different models and framing of inquiry-based learning to determine student perceptions of learning processes and intended learning outcomes. They concluded that students preferred discovery-oriented inquiry based learning (compared to information-oriented inquiry based learning), learning processes, and intended learning outcomes were enhanced when courses adopted open, discovery-oriented inquiry based learning, and courses that were well-designed inquiry courses were more effective for higher-order learning outcomes. Y. Tran

Thornes, S.L. (2012). Creating an online tutorial to support information literacy and academic skills development. Journal Of Information Literacy, 6(1), 81-95. doi: 10.11645/6.1.1654
In response to questions by students after an in-person library orientation, Thornes (2012) started the ambitious project of transforming the in-person materials into an asynchronous online tutorial for continued support through the semester.  This study involved graduate students in a Geography program at the University of Leeds. Tutorial creators utilized existing tutorials in their Skills@Library collection of instructional materials and created new tutorial segments to have a single complete research support tutorial. Consultation with faculty, a learning technologist, and the Quality Assurance Agency standards for geography learning outcomes informed the new content developed for the tutorial. Thornes used Articulate software to include a content navigation column for moving between topics and interactive drag-and-drop activities and quizzes. Limitations with the study include the lack of student feedback and the loss of web analytics generated from the learning management system. C. Schubert

Van de Vord, R. (2010). Distance students and online research: Promoting information literacy through media literacy. The Internet and Higher Education, 13, 170-175. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2010.03.001
Students participating in online college programs are found to be more reliant on online resources than students with access to a physical library. Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that students using more online resources are the least equipped with the information literacy skills necessary to evaluate sources for reliability, credibility, and accuracy. Having conducted an online survey with students in an online college program, the author establishes a link between media awareness and information literacy skills. Students who are taught to evaluate media messages, whether it be movies, advertisements, news articles, or videos, are more likely to think critically about the resources they find online when doing academic research. M. Powers


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