Sunday, November 24, 2013

Collaboration Between Distance Education Faculty and the Library: One Size Does Not Fit All


At a university with no centrally administered distance education (DE) program, the library is faced with the challenge of not only identifying but also supporting a rapidly increasing number of disparate DE initiatives. In this environment, a one-size-fits-all approach to inviting and encouraging faculty collaboration in the integration of library research into the DE curriculum was not sufficient. This presentation will discuss various methods used at one university to increase the level of collaboration between the library and distance education (DE) faculty.


Which of the many approaches to collaboration discussed here worked and which ones didn’t? The  answer would have to be that all worked to some extent and yet no single approach was the silver bullet that would ensure a holistically collaborative effort between the DE librarian and faculty member. Development of collaborative endeavors is incremental, and like any solid relationship must be built one step at a time, taking into consideration the needs and interests of all in librarian continues with the marketing, networking and collaborative efforts described herein. The instructional design team, including the librarian, has plans for strengthening collaborative efforts. Such plans include the development of a “toolbox” for faculty teaching online, which best practices, samples of assignments integrating library research, FAQs, and testimonials from other online instructors. Successful collaborative efforts with one faculty member can serve as examples for others. Heller-Ross suggested that “establishing a partnership with one faculty member for one course can also an effective way to create an environment in which library services can become integrated in  distance learning programs. This serves to highlight the possibilities and showcase them a Partnership section ¶ 2). As faculty members become more comfortable and environment, they are able to shift their focus from daunting technical matters to other ways in which they can finesse and improve the online teaching experience. When their immediate and urgent needs have been met, faculty members can address what matters most to them, and to us: better educating students. And when the times comes, continued nurturing of our relationship with faculty members will ensure that the library will be clearly in their sights.


Jill S. Markgraf (2002) Collaboration Between Distance Education Faculty and the Library, Journal of Library Administration, 37:3-4, 451-464, DOI:10.1300/J111v37n03_37 

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