Tag Archives: librarians

Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinates of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal Universities in Southwest, Nigeria

Reviewed By: Nhu-y Tran, Cheryl Pavliv, Rachel Fiege , Kathryn Wallace

Link to article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164/

Synopsis and description of how the article represents an international perspective
The article “Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinates of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal Universities in Southwest, Nigeria” discusses the importance of providing electronic materials to university students. It was conducted at six different universities in Nigeria. ELR’s consists of a wide variety of resources including: e-journals, e-books, online public access catalogues, CD-ROM databases, and E-theses. The objective was to find demographic variables in the usage of ELRs, academic purposes for ELRs, frequency of use, the demographic variables within different disciplines, as well as comparing the different disciplines.
This article represents an international perspective because academic libraries should have ELRs that are used widely across all campuses regardless of what university or country a student is studying. Campuses allow a broader perspective from a wide range of studies when students have electronic library resources. ELRs also allow students to read the most up to date research occuring in their field of study. Due to the importance of ELRs, librarians need to make sure students use these valuable sources. Research is important in this field because it allows academic libraries to see where their shortcomings are to fill the gap that is needed for students.

Core research question(s)

What are the relationships between undergraduates’ demographic variables such as age and gender and academic discipline on the use of electronic library resources in federal universities in South-west, Nigeria?

Methods used to answer the research question(s)

This study is a descriptive survey research design. Adefunke Sarah Ebijuwa and Iyabo Mabawonku used a multi-stage sampling technique in two stages. The first stage was to select the facilities and the second stage was to select the departments in which to recruit students from. In total, 1,526 undergraduates from four faculties and three departments in the six federal universities in South-west were recruited for their study. A questionnaire was utilized to collect data. The authors also employed descriptive statistics of frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation, correlation, and regression methods to obtain the results.

Findings and conclusions
The study found that undergraduates were using ELRs for a variety of reasons such as updating their knowledge on areas of interest, working on class assignments, and using electronic sources for school projects. In short, students are using the full range of ELRs for academic purposes. The findings showed that most students use ELRs on a weekly basis. The only demographic that showed a variation in usage of ELRs was age- not gender or discipline. The types of ELRs varied among colleges and disciplines, but students were actively using the electronic resources that their universities have.
What can American libraries learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations?
American libraries can learn about designing services for diverse populations through this global study. Academic library staff need to help all students optimize their use of electronic library resources. Staff should check whatever biases they may have at the door and encourage their students to make use of all ELRs available to them. There should be no influence based on age or gender regarding the suggestions for these resources; likewise, students should use all resources equally and not favor one over the others. Motivation strategies can be introduced and should appeal to all. This is especially pertinent to diverse populations that encompass more than age and gender.
College professors should provide assignments to their students that address their classes’ diverse needs, which will require the use of ELRs for research and learning. In turn, academic libraries need to ensure that the ELRs they provide meet these needs and represent cultural competence and relevance. These resources should be marketed by the academic library staff to both faculty and students as relevant; students will be able to find their comfort level while researching, and faculty will remain assured that they can, in fact, send students to the library for the right information. Periodic assessments should be conducted to determine whether or not the ELRs are being used effectively.
Finally, universities should provide wider access of ELRs to their students and make these resources available outside of the library. When students are able to access their resources campus-wide through their wireless Internet connections, they can work remotely at a time and place that is convenient for them.

A critical take on OER practices: Interrogating commercialization, colonialism, and content

Reviewed By: Nichole Bonaventure-Larson, Bryan Duran, Mia Faulk, Ursula Lara, and Carlee Osburn

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/a-critical-take-on-oer-practices-interrogating-commercialization-colonialism-and-content/

Article Synopsis and Core Questions
Sarah Crissinger’s 2015 article is concerned with critiquing Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) in relation to commercialization, colonialism, content, and the changing landscape of the university when it comes to adjunct versus tenured faculty. In her critique, Crissinger address issues of labor, the corporatization of higher education, oppressive learning formats, imperialism, and technocratic discourse around development and the information poor in the context of OER and OA.
Sarah Crissinger’s 2015 article is concerned with critiquing Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) in relation to commercialization, colonialism, content, and the changing landscape of the university when it comes to adjunct versus tenured faculty. In her critique, Crissinger address issues of labor, the corporatization of higher education, oppressive learning formats, imperialism, and technocratic discourse around development and the information poor in the context of OER and OA.
While libraries around the country are pushing for free resources such as OER and OA, Crissinger urges librarians to pay closer attention to contextualizing content rather than just collecting content in what can potentially become an educational “dump”. Crissinger (2015) writes, “A learning object with relevant context, an application that is not culture-specific, and the capacity to be truly localized and understood is more important than a learning object that is simply free.” At the same time, as universities are increasingly relying on part time / adjunct faculty who are urged to contribute to OER, an issue of labor inequality arises. Since unlike tenured faculty, adjuncts are not compensated for their research but instead by the number of classes they teach.

Answering Research Questions
Crissinger uses existing critiques of OER and OA by Drabinski, et al. (2015), Cheney (2015), Shirazi (2015), Winn (2012), Burkett (2000), and Christen (2011), to answer her research questions. She determined it was best to explore OA along with OER considering they both share similarities that allow lessons learned to be applied to both. Crissinger uses critiques to explore the issue of labor, the tenure structure, and the unwillingness of universities to fund projects they are willing to promote. Crissinger analyzes critiques that explore oppressive learning formats, economic and social inequality, the “information poor” and the digital divide. Through these critiques Crissinger can reflect on OER practices.

Findings and Conclusions
Per Crissinger, access to OER is not the be all, end all. Simply increasing one’s access does not make them more knowledgeable or eradicate a digital divide. Social and global inequality cannot be reduced to a simple fix and access to OER. “Free and unrestricted access to OER is just one step in improving education, not the primary solution. Librarians are apt to do the integral work of reframing and complicating the OER movement. Our extensive understanding of copyright, instructional design, and discovery, combined with our interest in social justice, makes us natural leaders for helping others understand why Open Education matters” (24). Increasing the number of adjunct positions results in change to the labor system and the continued commercialization of higher education since adjuncts are paid per the number of classes they teach rather than the research they produce. “We must think critically about whether our open work is doing the social justice, political work we envision it doing. If we fail to ask these questions, we risk endorsing programs that align more with profit than with access” (10). Taking into consideration the goal of many academic libraries is to further the mission of their universities, we must consider how the marketization of OER compromises our ability to do the work we claim to value. “The politics of our campuses or leadership can limit how loudly our voices carry within our institutions (Acccardi, 2015). Still, our critical perspective is needed now more than ever” (Crissinger, 24).

Unaswered Questions and Future Research
Crissinger proposes some interesting further research at the end of her piece, but even these ideas did not touch on the potential for further research raised by her article. One of the considerations she mentions is the consideration of how librarians can better determine if an OER resource is one which provides good information and content, with context, or if it is not. This could be further expounded upon through research into a universal guide or standard set. Additionally, Crissinger discusses encouraging open pedagogy on campus. Crissinger (2015) states, “if faculty on campus are not integrating open pedagogy into their classrooms, it can be more difficult for librarians to do this as well.” Are there ways to combat this besides increased advertising and teaching? Would inclusion of OER in academic goals from an administrative position be possible? Lastly, one of the arguments mentioned, but not touched on, is the inclusion of a broader range of creators in the OER sphere. Crissinger (2015) quotes, “‘content creation…on the Web is currently heavily dominated by the developed and English-speaking world.”. How can librarians help to encourage the development of use of OER that is more inclusive, as well as more contextually focused and not an “information dump”? Is this a librarian’s role, and if so, how could this kind of expansion better serve the purpose of OER and academic research in the long run?

Answering Our Own Questions
Unfortunately, these questions are not easily answered. However, conducting further research on OER and OA would be a good starting point and may help to find the answers to our questions. Incorporating other viewpoints, ideas, and examples of how librarians are creating, sharing, and using OER/OA may help illustrate what their role is in promoting inclusion amongst contributors in the OER/OA sphere. Additionally, we can find the answers to our questions by doing what was suggested earlier; asking those questions aloud and as often as possible. We cannot expect to find answers and meet the challenges of OER/OA if we are not engaging in open and constructive dialogue with our peers and colleagues around the world. It is only after we have asked our questions aloud and engaged in collaborative dialogue that we will be able to give concrete answers, and move forward with making OER/OA accessible to everyone without devaluing information, the work of OER/OA contributors, and its content.

References
Crissinger, S. (2015, October 21). A critical take on OER practices: Interrogating commercialization, colonialism, and content. Retrieved from In the library with the lead pipe: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/a-critical-take-on-oer-practices-interrogating-commercialization-colonialism-and-content/