Unit 3: Integrating Resources and Services
So far you have reviewed the E-Learning Best Practices guidelines, outlined your plans to integrate services and resources into your course, documented the contact information for these services and thought about how else you can best support your students. In this final unit we are going to focus more closely on integrating library resources and services into your course.
Go back to the Self Evaluation of Resources Worksheet you used for Units One and Two, and list specific library resources you already know students will need for your class and how they will access them. Next, spend some time reading and reflecting on Items 3 through 5 on page 17 of the E-Learning Best Practices.
After spending some time looking at the guidelines recommendations for integrating library resources into your course, did you find gaps in either your current practices or your awareness of various library resources and services? If you did, that's not a bad thing. Technologies change, resources change and services change. This is why it is so important to do a periodic review of your class once you have developed it to ensure that links still work, the most current research is being referenced, new services may be offered, etc. The idea is to be aware of what exists on your campus that your students might benefit from, and including links in your course where appropriate.
As you continue to evaluate sections 3-5 in relation to your course, think about how you expect your students to get research help. Will they email you? Will you provide a link to the 24/7 chat reference services, or have you considered this? Do you require your students to create bibliographies? If so, have you provided links to citation style sheets, or a good website? Finally, if you are requiring that your students conduct any sort of research for your class, how do you expect them to go about that? Is Wikipedia ok, or do you have favorite databases?
These are all important questions for you to think about as you design specific assignments and activities for your course. Now is the time to contact the departments or faculty you might need or want to engage with your students once the class is up and running. Give the librarians a call and talk about integrating subject guides or course-related web pages into your course site. Do you need to use E-reserves or will your students need to use the inter library loan services? Use the Self Evaluation Worksheet to document your thoughts about these resources and services as you think about your course design.
Since each campus differs in its use of course management systems and support services for these, we won't specifically cover this part of the E-Learning Best Practices here. But this does not mean that this is not important information for you as an online instructor to be aware of and to inform your students of in your course. Review page 18 of the document and continue with the Worksheet to list appropriate resources for technical assistance and tutoring support for your students. Questions to be thinking about might include chat support from the writing support staff, or off campus tutoring centers that students might be matched with. If you are part of SUNY Learning Network, your campus already has access to tremendous support services. How might you make sure that your students are aware of these resources and encouraged to use them?
You should come away from this mini course thinking about your students. While online learning has great potential, instructors must be aware of the unique requirements every good online course must meet. Things are simply not as obvious as they might seem to those who have not taken a fully online course especially from a distance. The overall quality of the instruction depends on thoughtful preparation and mindfulness of our students needs however small they may seem from campus. Good online instruction depends on the preparedness of both the instructor and the students. Best wishes for a great online teaching and learning experience, and remember it is different and you will be wiser from the experience!
Kim, K.J. & Bonk, C..The Future of Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: The Survey Says…(2006) Educause Quarterly. 30(4)9p.
SUNY Plattsburgh,(2010) E-Learning Best Practices; a guide for faculty.