chapter  14
18 Pages

Library Services for Online Students

With the rise of distance education and changing student research habits, teaching

faculty and librarians are faced with new challenges with students working on

class research projects. The ways in which students are using, or not using, library

resources and conducting secondary research is changing in the modern digital

age. Studies show many students are using free Web sources instead of library

databases and scholarly articles, which presents a challenge for both librarians

and instructors seeking to help students learn the literature of their majors and

future professions. One study found that students at all undergraduate levels

indicated free Web resources were their first choice for conducting secondary

research (van Scoyoc & Cason, 2006). Another study finds that younger students

(the Millennial Generation) tend to use free Web resources rather than sub-

scription library resources (Holliday & Li, 2004). Students’ familiarity with

Google and proclivity for searching the free Web is a factor that librarians and

instructors must take into account with all students but especially with distance

education students. A survey of distance education business students in Ireland

showed that students’ first choice for information was either Blackboard or a Web

search engine, depending on their information need, following by the library’s

online resources (Byrne & Bates, 2009). Another study has shown that distance

students use the Internet for research more than on-campus students (Brouse,

McKnight, Basch, & LeBlanc, 2010).