Jerusalem, Israel — May 12, 2021
An Ex Libris-commissioned report uncovers trends and challenges arising from the accelerated shift to online learning and highlights library opportunities for greater involvement in teaching and learning
Jerusalem, Israel—May 12, 2021. Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is pleased to announce the publication of a study that looks at how course resources are being selected, managed, accessed, and used today in higher education in the United States. The trends highlighted in the report reflect the new emphasis on remote teaching and learning.
The study was commissioned by Ex Libris and conducted by Alterline, an independent research agency. The report presents findings from a survey of 103 faculty members and 257 students in the United States, in a range of disciplines.
The transition to online learning has presented an opportunity for the faculty to be creative in delivering materials and meeting student needs.
Key findings of the study include the following:
- Faculty members are bearing the administrative burden of managing course resources. Only 15% of faculty members reported that they receive help from a teaching assistant, instructional designer, or someone else in managing tasks related to course materials.
- Academic libraries are underused by the faculty in the search for new course materials. Faculty members use web-search results, recommendations from peers, and other sources more frequently than the library to find new course materials.
- Faculty members are using a diverse range of resources. Links to online resources and PDF files of books, book chapters, and articles are regularly used by faculty for their courses. However, resource lists still contain numerous references to physical books and textbooks, perhaps suggesting a lack of alternative online texts.
- Measures of student engagement with course materials are lacking. Faculty members continue to use mostly traditional methods of monitoring student engagement, such as quizzes, tests, and the level of class participation, and tend to pay little attention to statistics on students’ use of course materials.
- The move to online learning has created new pressure on the faculty to assist students in accessing course materials online. Key difficulties involve finding digital versions of physical resources, managing broken hyperlinks, and obtaining resources that are behind paywalls.
- Faculty members are making an effort to reduce the cost of course materials. The report shows that 64% of faculty members have revised their choice of course resources because of cost. A substantial minority of faculty members (34%) went one step further, selecting only those course materials that are free for students.
- Libraries have an opportunity to increase their involvement in teaching and learning by applying their expertise. Faculty members are primarily interested in obtaining the library’s support for the purchase, licensing, and digitization of course materials; the reduction of costs for students; and copyright clearance when necessary.
Ex Libris vice president of Teaching and Learning Solutions Tamar Sadeh commented, “Despite the challenging circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to online learning has presented an opportunity for the faculty to be creative in delivering materials and meeting student needs. Faculty members have done a tremendous job to ensure that learning continues at a high standard. Nevertheless, much more can be done to support the faculty and students, including simplifying the management of, and access to, course resources and strengthening the collaboration of faculty members and librarians to reduce the cost of materials.”
Alterline Research Manager Zara Lawson said, “Our research highlights that quite a few areas of teaching and learning are impacted by the pandemic. While much of the administrative burden of managing course materials lays on faculty members, they have shown high levels of dedication to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on student success. There are clear opportunities for bolstering intra-institutional support and raising the profile of services and expertise that faculty can rely on.”
Read the report for free: Managing, Accessing, and Using Course Materials.
Alterline is an insight and intelligence agency specializing in higher education. Over the past nine years we have worked on over 70 university campuses to drive positive change based on developing an independent and evidenced understanding of the student experience. Our tailored and collaborative insight services cover decision-making and experience across undergraduate and postgraduate student life cycles, including recruitment, teaching and learning, library user experience, and alumni engagement. Building communities of best practice around insight and intelligence tools, our work offers university teams opportunities for shared learning and collaboration which underpin service performance improvement and drive exciting innovations.
About Ex Libris
Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is a leading global provider of cloud-based SaaS solutions that enable institutions and their individual users to create, manage, and share knowledge. In close collaboration with its customers and the broader community, Ex Libris develops creative solutions that increase library productivity, maximize the impact of research activities, enhance teaching and learning, and drive student mobile engagement. Ex Libris serves over 7,500 customers in 90 countries. For more information, see our website and join us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.