The Open University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 6910-6917
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This paper will present a practical case study illustrating approaches taken by a UK based distance learning University to engage students with using online Library Services as an integral part of their student experience.

Library Services staff at The Open University have considerable expertise in delivering digital and information literacy skills instruction online. In line with many technology driven changes in student expectations, alongside a shift in institutional strategic focus to increasing student engagement online (Reed, K., Wise, N., Tynan, B. and Bossu, C., 2013), the service is innovating with a range of multi-channel routes to foster greater community building. These innovations are providing opportunities to enhance our collaboration with students and inform service development.

Library Services has led and proactively contributed to a number of new initiatives that have enabled the exploration of utilising less formal, less instructional and more conversational approaches to engaging students in new learning opportunities.

Using live online broadcast tools, together with integrated interactive tools and a mix of social media platforms, we have experimented with delivering more conversational ‘sessions’. Themes have been directly led by identified student need, taken an enquiry based approach and feature more peer support, rather than adopting traditional ‘didactic’ methods.

The poster will explore the impact of these pilot initiatives on the experience of students and the staff involved. It will illustrate the work we are now doing around establishing the role of these sessions alongside instructional sessions and explore the relationship with self-guided tutorials and the use of gamification tools to encourage and reward students for discovering and engaging with online library resources.

We have used direct discussions with and feedback from students to determine the subject of initial sessions. The conversations with students during the live sessions are now also helping us to inform and influence pedagogic and curriculum discussions with University colleagues, broadening the impact of this student engagement in improving the student experience further.

[1] Reed, K., Wise, N., Tynan, B. and Bossu, C. (2013) ‘Attrition in the Digital Age: Reminders from the literature’, in Tynan, B. (ed) Outlooks and Opportunities in Blended and Distance Learning, Hershey, PA, IGI Global
Student engagement distance learning blended learning Digital Libraries.