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العدد 42، يونيو 2016

Impact of e-Library on e-Learning: Empirical Study on HBMSU e-Library

 

Ragab Abdelhamid Hassanin

Head of Library, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University

United Arab Emirates

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Abstract

HBMSU is the first e-learning university in the region. Being one of the first movers in e-learning in the Arab World, and having been the first accredited e-learning academic institution by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research have given the university a competitive advantage. The University’s commitment to transform education in the Arab World remains strong. The university has a particular focus on areas of particular relevance to today’s Arab World.

In order to support the learning experience, the University provides learners, faculty and other staff members with access to a vast collection of learning resources and research material. These resources are made available through the development of a number of initiatives such as: the University Library Portal, easily accessible to the users on any university applications the user is using. HBMSU library with its resources and services has been giving a unique learning experience to its community and having significant impact on teaching and learning in the university.

 

Citation

Hassanin, Ragab Abdelhamid. Impact of e-Library on e-Learning: Empirical Study on HBMSU e-Library .- Cybrarians Journal .- No. 42, June 2016 .- Accessed <Date> .- Available at: <URL>

 


 

0/1 Introduction

E-learning has become the part of the normal of higher education, it is part of the biggest change in the way our species conducts education and training since the invention of the chalkboard or perhaps the alphabet. The development of computers and electronic communications has removed barriers of space and time and making knowledge sharing so easy. Now knowledge can be delivered anytime anywhere (Horton, 2000). Such advanced technology raised a question about the role of e-libraries in new learning environment called e-learning environment. The Experts and academicians agree that technological advances are dramatically altering the training and development landscape. In particular, the increased use of Internet technologies to deliver training has been heralded as the “e-Learning Revolution, (Wanberg, 2003)”. Electronic communication network and new information technology is considered to be the forth revolution in producing and offering knowledge (Shamsaii, 2011).

Now many users thought that in parallel with changes which are made by modern technologies in knowledge environment, referral of users to libraries is reduced (Fattahi, 2003), and users such as learners, researchers and scientists could achieve their own researches directly and without any need to libraries or librarians due to spreading of new information technologies, service automation and information searching and remote accessing to them (Stewart, 2009) and accomplish their required information through internet.

The growth of e-learning around the world and increasing the numbers of learners whom using this kind of learning, have provided opportunities as well as challenges for the libraries and information centers in general and  academic libraries specially. On the one hand, academic libraries now are empowered to become an active contributor in the developing electronic academic environment. However on the other hand academic libraries also are challenged to design and provide appropriate services to users in the virtual environments. In order to design appropriate services libraries should know and study the needs of their patrons, so the key success factor in meeting the needs of the electronic academic community is getting to know online users at the e-learning environment and their needs. Academic libraries must involve the e-learning community in much the same way as they do on-campus communities, in order to effectively and proactively develop collections and services that meet their needs, (Jurkowski, 2003).

This paper aims to answer the main question about the role of e-libraries in the e-learning environment.

 

1/0 Study Objectives

The main objective of this study is to explore the role and level of engagement of e-Libraries and librarians in e-learning environment at in precise Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University-UAE.

In particular, it aims to:

1.    Recognize and determine the role of e-libraries in e-learning process.

2.    Identify if the information services can be provided in the e-learning environment.

3.    Explore the impact of HBMSU e-library in the e-learning process at HBMSU.

4.    Study user’s impressions about the HBMSU e-library in the e-learning process through Users Satisfaction Survey.

5.    Identify the current mechanisms and future plans at HBMSU e-library to support the e-learning process.

6.    Propose some initiatives according to questionnaire analysis that contribute activating the role of e-library in the e-learning process at HBMSU. 

 

2/0 Study Hypothesis/Study Queries

1.    What is the impact of e-library in the e-learning environment?

2.     What are the information services that must be provided by e-libraries in the e-learning environment?

3.    What is the role of HBMSU e-library in the e-learning process at HBMSU?

4.    How users are evaluating the role of HBMSU e-library in the e-learning process at HBMSU?

5.    Are there any future plans to increase the role of HBMSU e-library in the e-learning process at HBMSU?

 

3/0 Definition of Terms

e-Libraries:are the organizations in them the provision of resources, expert staff, the process to select Information resources, reorganization, assistance for logical access to information, interpretation, distribution, saving integration of information and guarantee to support and maintain a collection of digital works during a long time are paid enough attention to make digital information resources more accessible for the society or some specialized groups with high speed and economical” (Singh, 2005).

E-Learning: all forms of electronic supported learning and teaching, which are procedural in character and aim to effect the construction of knowledge with reference to individual experience, practice and knowledge of the learner. Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media (specific in the sense elaborated previously) to implement the learning process (Tavangarian, 2004).

Virtual learning environment

Virtual learning environments are defined as the tools that facilitate the integration of Web-based materials into the electronic classroom, e.g. learning resources, assessment devices, online communication tools, etc. (Currier, 2001; Ekmekcioglu and Brown, 2001). WebCT and Blackboard are two current and common examples of VLEs.

 

4/0 Limitation

Since this study aims to explore the actual role and level of engagement of e-Libraries as an organizational unit, and of individual librarians or information professionals, in e-learning environment at Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, thus it will be limited to HBMSU e-library users. 

 

5/0 Methodology (Methodology should be after Literature Review section)

For the purposes of this study a mixed methods approach has been applied, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative aspects, including the design, implementation, and analysis of a survey addressed to HBMSU e-library users. As per (Bryman & Bell, 2011) the term ‘survey’ is commonly applied to a research methodology designed to collect data from a specific population, or a sample from that population, and typically utilizes a questionnaire or an interview as the survey instrument. Surveys are used to obtain data from individuals about themselves, their households, or about larger social institutions. Sample surveys are an important tool for collecting and analysing information from selected individuals. They are widely accepted as a key tool for conducting and applying basic social science research methodology. 

This study used a questionnaire-based methodology. The questionnaire was developed after reviewing and analysing several e-library and e-learning studies that used questionnaires to collect data (Walton & Leahy, 2013), (Robertson & Boon, 2012), (Hao, McClanahan & Holden, 1997), (Ayel & Sreenivasarao, 2013), (Alasem, 2013). Responses were recorded using Likert- scales with end points ranging from 1-3.

The main steps undertaken in the research were:

·         Selection of study population.

·         Survey design.

·         Implementation of the online survey.

·         Survey distribution.

·         Gathering and filtering results.

·         Analysis of survey results.

·         Extracting conclusions.

 

6/0 Literature Review

A large number of studies addressed the topics e-Learning and e-Libraries. (Lesley & Ellysa, 2003) stated that most of studies which covered the role of academic libraries in e-learning appeared recently of the 20th century as a direct result of increasing the number of universities delivering e-learning.

The current study classifies the relevant literature into the below categories:-

I. Services 

At her paper (Boumarafi, 2010), studied the reflection on the development of a new learning environment within the library at the University of Sharjah (UOS), United Arab Emirates. It pursued to discuss e‐learning, and how it can be supported by the library web‐based services. The study reviewed that the capabilities of learning management systems (LMS) such as Blackboard have a great potential for libraries in becoming an active partner in the learning process. Strategies adopted by the UOS library placed it in a strong position to play an effective role in e‐learning environment through the Blackboard platform.

While (Shih, 2011), proposed a mobile learning model that employs digital libraries to support investigative learning activities. A student-cantered mobile learning activity with self-guided exploration for physical ecology observation has been conducted to demonstrate the benefits of using digital libraries to support investigation-based ecology learning activities. This study shows that the innovative approach is able to improve the learning achievement, learning effectiveness, as well as the learning attitudes of the students. Practical implications – The findings of this paper imply that the use of the investigative learning model will promote the utilization rate of digital libraries.

Similarly, (Taha, 2007), prepared a study to focus on how the e-library interoperates with the e-learning process within the academic computing environment (ACE) at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), which indicated thatthe instructors have viewed e-learning as a sound instructional tool and an evolving genre capable of providing more than just textual information. According to their viewpoints, the e-library could support e-learning courses with a bundle of networked e-information services such as development of course-related electronic collections, virtual reference help, current awareness and SDI, online document delivery, etc. E-literacy was found to play an essential role in fostering adoption and acceptance of e-learning, whereas the language barrier has constrained e-learning initiative in the colleges where Arabic is the teaching language, i.e. Blackboard does not support creation of Arabic contents and interface so far.

Though (Sharifabadi, 2006), addressed and discussed such aspects as what is meant by “e-learning”, and how can it be supported by the library environment, the functionality of the digital library; and how e-learning resources are included and organized in the digital library. The study explored the advantages of digital libraries for e-learning and the types of learning that can be supported by digital libraries. Also clarified that e-library services are an essential component of a quality e-learning system. As access to internet-based courses grows, an increasing number of e-learners are dispersed around the globe, often in parts of the world where physical access to the collections of large academic and research libraries is impossible. There is undoubtedly a keenness to use online information resources for research and teaching, but this seems to be matched by a lack of awareness of how best to integrate these resources into the e-learning environment.

(Abbasi & Zardary, 2012) reviewed e-libraries role to support e-learning. Authors addressed that with attention to online education based on web there is lots of advantage in comparison with traditional libraries, like as place and time limitless, possibility of information representation in multimedia form, and creating equivalent educational opportunities for every nation. E-libraries unlike traditional one can make services and library resources available via internet, to support e-Learning.

(Nfila, 2010), discussed and pointed out that Digital Libraries provide technology based information resources and services to enable learners to access relevant information anywhere anytime, as well as provided empowerment for innovative and life-long learning. It also provided a clear relationship between e-learning, digital scholarship, and digital libraries and shown how digital libraries are linked to e-learning. The study provided practical initiatives by UB Library, as well as opportunities to provide e-learning support to both academics and learners. Some of the initiatives include support to distance learning, digitization efforts, digital/Institutional repository services through the INNOVATIVE System, e-book service, e-reserves, integrated information literacy, learning common, multimedia resources, and electronic reference services.

(Parker, Maquignaz and Miller, 2001) presented the experience of E-learning initiatives at other Australian university libraries. Authors heighted a number of areas to be developed;the most significant of these are the development of a client portal to access library services, the improvement of links between library and teaching resources and services and the development of a full e-learning information search skills program. Also they mentioned that the central development of the library e-services will be strong working relationships between library staff and teaching staff involved in the development of e-learning.

(Moyo, & Cahoy, 2006), were detailed and synthesized the results of two studies conducted to assess Penn State University's World Campus students and faculty perceptions, expectations and use of Web-based library resources and services. The paper highlighted which library resources and services were rated as being the most valuable and important to World Campus users, and how the combined results of the two studies illuminate a widely applicable path for further development of library services to patrons at a distance.

(Shamsaii & sabouri, 2011) tried to explain the role of Libraries and information centres according to information technology (IT) and e-learning, they indicated that no library alone was able to gather all resources for its users. In current situations, libraries and information centres share their information through internet and provide the possibility to access all informative networks, systems and resources from any point in the world instead of possessing them.

Among the studies on the academic library information services to support e-learning,Lebowitz (2007), pointed that academic libraries should expand information services to include new types to support e-learning programs.

Another study (Ramadevi, 1999) raised some issues concerning Librarian’s role at e-learning process, such as encouraging information literacy programs among users, marketing library information services, using new information technology to produce new information services or new ways to deliver information services.

 

II. Technologies

(Saumure & Shiri, 2006), compared three virtual learning environments (VLEs) (WebCT, Blackboard and creation of study environments) with respect to how well they have incorporated elements of digital libraries,the study conducted a comparative evaluation technique between three selected VLEs along five key dimensions of digital libraries: content/format support, metadata, search/browse features, customizability and preservation. Within the three selected VLEs, content reusability, search/browse functionality, along with customizability and personalize ability appear to be the best addressed digital library elements.

(Chiao-Chen, 2013), tried to explore the relationships of web quality (system quality, information quality, and service quality), perceived value, and satisfaction to understand how these critical factors influence the continuance intention of using e-learning systems in academic libraries. The findings of this study demonstrated that web quality has significantly positive influences on perceived value and user satisfaction. Furthermore, perceived value and satisfaction determines users' continuance intentions of e-learning systems in academic libraries. This study addressed self-reported continuance intentions as part of the survey; as a result, it could have introduced inaccuracies. The implications of proposed e-learning success model are discussed. Practical implications - Academic librarians should reinforce the efficiency of e-learning systems to influence users' willingness to continuously use such systems.

(Mosavinia, 2008), discussed the factors that will necessitate the traditional libraries to get digitized in near future, and discussed advantages, disadvantages and requirements, with emphasis on the role of digital libraries on the advancement of E-learning and community's general knowledge and the importance of library network in education, particularly in the wake of current revolution in information technology. such revolution is being sustained by infrastructure as provided by the fast growing E-learning and distance Education Universities in some developing countries such as Iran. The social utility of distance education can get a high impetus if spread of information is clubbed with. This makes library networking a crucial area for intellectual explorations.

During a study by ALASEM (2013), a questionnaire based usability test was used as a method for evaluating the usability of Saudi Digital Library’s interface. The main finding of the study indicated that the SDL’s interface level of usability practice was not acceptable, in particular regarding aesthetic appearance. Moreover, it seems to be that problems facing other Internet applications in Saudi Arabia will continue to influence the development of digital libraries projects.

 

7/0 E-Learning

E-learning contains all forms of electronic and supported learning and teaching methods, which aim to effect on the structure of learning with reference to individual experience, practice and knowledge of the learner. E-learning can be defined as the delivery of a learning, training or education program by electronic means. It involves the use of a computer or electronic device in some way to provide training, educational or learning material. (Wang & Hwang, 2004) stated that, e-learning “denotes information and communications technology enhanced learning by delivering learning contents and activities via internet, intranet/extranet, audio/video, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, and CD-ROM.” Many authors agree with this definition and the fact that e-learning is blended traditional face-to-face teaching and learning that is combined with using communication technologies to enhance student focused and directed learning and teaching processes (Ojedokun, 2003; Akeroyd, 2005) which support both life-long and distance learning. “E-learning” is the term used to describe teaching and learning resources or experiences that are, in some way, delivered electronically (Sharifabadi, 2006).

“E-learning covers research, learning and teaching in the digital environment; e-learning includes courses that are offered fully online, courses that mix face-to-face and online access to instruction and course materials (often called blended learning), and courses in which instructors post notes and materials for students or provide access to online discussion forums on course topics. E-learning covers a wide set of applications and processes, such as Web based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN), audio- and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, and CD-ROM.”(Dhiman, 2010)

 

7/1 E-Learning versus Traditional Learning

Table (1) E-Learning versus Traditional Learning

Ser.

Face to Face Learning

E-Learning

1.   

Faculty – Oriented

Learner  Oriented

2.   

Faculty delivers knowledge to the learner

Faculty only guides the learner

3.   

Outgoing, verbal, high-achieving, learners participate the most

Faculty models good learning techniques

4.   

More "passive" learning

More "active" learning

5.   

Technology may be used, but is not central to the role of being a learner

Technology is heavily used to deliver courses and construct learning activities

6.   

Various media may be used, but most delivery is by the spoken word, with some written support

Technology may help instructors use multiple forms of media, and reach a wider variety of learning styles

7.   

In class access to knowledge

Unlimited access to knowledge and ability to reuse and share prior knowledge

 (Source: www.hbmsu.ac.ae)

 

7/2 Advantages and Challenges of e-Learning

There is a growing body of research which highlights the distinctiveness and the advantages of learning online with predominant advantages including (refs):

·         Allowing the learner access to education regardless of place (Flexibility in learning anytime anywhere)

·         Higher level of interaction and collaborations;

·         access to diverse channels of communication including web 2.0 social and communicative tools which allows the building of critical thinking skills,

·         Better retention rates

·         Meaningful hands on activities that are current;

·         Personalized & learner centric learning

·         More affordable

 

7/3 Need for e-Learning

E-learning , if done right, can produce great results by decreasing costs and improving performance. Also, unlike a onetime classroom session, the e-learning course could be available for others, whichincludes the static e-learning course as well as any ongoing conversations in networked communities. Understanding e-learning’s value helps learners to make the best decisions about when and why to use it.

(Manjunath & Patil, 2006), have listed following reasons explaining why e-learning is necessary in present environment:- (use bullets instaed of arrows ib the below listing)

Ø  E-learning is self-paced and gives learners a chance to speed up to slow down necessary.

Ø  E-learning is self-directed, allowing learners to choose content and appropriate to their differing interests, need and skills levels.

Ø  It accommodates multiple learning styles using as verity of delivery methods geared to different learners, more effective for entrain learners.

Ø  It is designed around the learner, and eliminates geographical barriers and opens up broader education options.

Ø  Its accessibility makes scheduling easy and allows a greater number of people to attend classes on demand access means learning can happen precisely when needed travel-time is reduced or eliminated.

Ø  Overall learners’ costs are frequently less in e-learning rather than tuition, residence, food etc.

Ø  Its potentially lower costs for companies needing training and for the providers.

Ø  It fasters greeters learners interaction and collaboration, and also fasters greater learner/instructor contact.

Ø  E-learning enhances computer and internet skills.

Ø  It draws upon hundreds of established pedagogical principles.

Ø  It has the attention of every major university in the work, most with their own online degrees, certificate and individual course.

Therefore, e-learning is becoming important factor in higher education today; a factor, which has some kind of presence on almost every campus and in an ever-increasing number of university courses. It is creating a growing and dynamic environment, one in which fluidity and change is the norm culturally, institutionally and technically.

 

7/4 E-learning and e-library

Academic libraries are playing important role in the educational process in the universities, especially for long life learning; therefore the development of electronic libraries is also very important and linked to e-learning. The new libraries generation transformed from traditional resources to e-resources and from print to non-print environment. E-libraries offer technology based information and services which allow learners to access the needed resources anytime from anywhere, and deliver information in the same time, as well as provide empowerment for innovative and life-long learning. Usually e-libraries serve as a facilitator to organize and provide knowledge and e-resources to users, beside that to share knowledge and information resources among library users. 

(Krishnamurthy, 2005) defines e-libraries as “electronic libraries in which large number of geographically distributed users can access the contents of large and diverse repositories of electronic objects”. These may be networked text, images, maps, sounds, videos, catalogues, or the data sets. These libraries can content of a large of various electronic objects as text, images, maps, sounds, videos, catalogues… etc. The electronic libraries in general and mainly the academic ones apply suitable communication technologies to provide support to e-learning by providing unified access to electronic resources and delivering appropriate services. The range of electronic resources include online catalogues, databases, multimedia, online journals, digital repositories, electronic books, electronic archives, and online/electronic services (Barton, 2005).

Academic libraries should have the advantage of using cutting edge technologies to support e-learning by providing access to e-resources and designing set of services for academicians as well as learners. To achieve this goal and build fixed ground for e-learning and provide high quality access for e-resources and online objects, all of stakeholders should be involved such as web developers, product vendors, academicians, programme directors, e-course designers, librarians, persons with disabilities advocates, and most importantly, learners representing the various types of learning needs and abilities. It is electronic libraries responsibility to make sure that all e-resources are accessible to everyone of the e-learning environment, but in the same time usually academic libraries both traditional and electronic do not always play a direct role in the creation of the electronic resources they offer access (ref?).

 

It is electronic libraries’ responsibility to make sure that all e-resources are accessible to everyone of the e-learning environment, in the same time usually academic libraries both traditional and electronic do not always play a direct role in the creation of the online resources they offer access. So how we could academic libraries are sure?  (Burgstahler, 2002a,b) and (Black, 2005) provide a series of steps which the academic libraries can follow for ensuring accessible electronic services and resources. Several of these steps include:-

 

·         Check to see what policies the respective government and university have in place for ensuring accessibility.

·         Establish, review, and renew an accessibility plan/policy statement specifically for the library.

·         Assign specific library staff members (management, information technology, librarians, etc.) for ensuring that accessibility standards are maintained and revised as necessary. For online resources and services that are created and maintained by the library, ensure that all pages validate with current standards, while fixing “simple” errors immediately.

·         Advocate for accessible online resources and services purchased from outside organizations (e.g., vendors), while testing previously acquired resources for accessibility, then contact the product vendor, if necessary, to see how accessibility barriers can be resolved.

·         Assign a qualified library staff member as a contact point for [learners especially] persons with disabilities.

 

By ensuring above steps, the libraries can provide better access of information to their learners in e-learning environment.

 

7/5 Librarians and e-Learning

What is the role of librarians in the e-learning environment? What do learners need from librarians in the e-learning?

There are many suggestions advocating change in librarians’ role in support of e-learning in the information age appear through researches “must assert themselves as key players in the learning process thereby changing their roles from information providers to educators” (Cooper and Dempsey, 1998), also librarians should be transformed from “information gatekeepers” to “information gateways” (Haricombe, 1998). We may observe the positions like, ”E-librarian”, "Cybrarian", “Web Librarian",”Elearning Information service officer", "learning object librarians", "E-learning content manager","Information manager" and so on, (Zia, 2012). (Lippincott, 2002) advocated librarians to be involved in learning communities: “The librarian can shift the focus from explaining library resources to meeting the ongoing information needs of the students in the broad information environment”.

We can allocate some of roles where librarians can do in the e-learning environment:-

1.    Develop web based modules to support course integrated instruction session.

2.    Conduct information literacy about library services and resources.

3.    Encourage users to actively follow the librarians’ presentation using their own topics for selected searches.

4.    Deliver quick feedback for users on their search strategies, and they can return to refresh their skills for subsequent assignments.

5.    Reference librarians may use the material to guide learners in using information resources specific to their assignments at the reference desk.

6.    Building approach to information literacy offers students and instructors with an ability to address diverse learning styles and encourage active participation along the presentation to a 24/7 access that may foster increased the connection between learners and librarians.

7.    Working with online course developers as well as instructors in traditional courses to provide online guides.

8.    Librarians should be a part of e-learning process and actively participating by providing online and in person modules, guides, subject and class based lists, as well as reference service.

9.    Offering classes and courses on research strategies and help learners in determining useful scholarly resources.

10.Working with the faculty in planning and developing e-courses to integrate concepts of information literacy throughout the curriculum.

11.Supporting faculty in teaching activities by articulate the information needs, find appropriate information resources and critically assess the results of an online search which are key to success in e-learning and this leaves the faculty to focus on course content.

12.Librarian should be facilitating the e-learning by establishing a positive relationship between the academic achievements and use of e-resources.

 

Therefore, the rapid spread of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), recent reduction in technology costs and increasing computer awareness in learners also facilitated e-learning (Dhiman, 2003). Most of libraries around of the world are in the process of shifting to digital shape, and start delivering information services and accessing resourcing through the online channels like chat rooms, email services, virtual learning systems and reference services. E-learning has transformed the delivery and accessibility of learning and also has changed how critical support services are provided. Therefore librarians should understand the concepts of e-learning and develop numerous e-services for users in the e-learning environment.

 

8/0 Developing Information Services for e-Learning

Today e-learning is becoming the perfect tool for empowering knowledge and skills as well as it is alternative means of traditional classroom teaching. Internet and information technology makes the delivery of information services possible and easy with highest accuracy which is not possible with traditional skills.

(Vatnal, Matapathy & Prakash, 2004) indicated that, access to information services, consultation service and inter-library loan services etc., can be created in libraries for developing e-learning. Many aspects of information services can be created and developed to support learning in e-learning environment, such as:-

1.    Building e-Libraries: Remote sites are required to access the information resources will support learners for their e-learning. Building e-libraries is first step to provide e-learning in the correct way, because e-libraries will break all barriers of knowledge transfer by storing a big amount of information resources and make these resources accessible and searchable for learners, so they can make effective search for the information in e-libraries with federated search engines and download into their computers.

2.    Digital Repositories: Repositories are important for universities in helping to manage and capture intellectual assets as a part of their information strategy. It can support research and learning. Institutional repositories bear many characteristics of a traditional institutional archive, except that the content is always digital and is usually aimed exclusively at research and teaching material rather than institutional records or special collections (Dhiman and Sharma, 2008b; Dhiman, 2010).

3.    Interlibrary Loan Service: This service to obtain resources needed primarily for research or academic purposes which are not available in the university e-Library. Library should singe the mems with the other libraries such as National Library to give access to their collections.

4.    Information Literacy & User Skills: As information becoming increasingly complex and varied, it is essential that users know how to access information resources, how to evaluate, manage, and use them effectively. Information skills are essential to the success of a user’s academic career, and to become an independent and lifelong learner.

5.    LibraryConsultation:It is a service for researchers whom having special information needs. Consultation can be conducted through e-mail, toll-free telephone service, pre-packaged mail out information or scheduled remote site visits by using these facilities in libraries through Internet.

6.    Electronic Reference Services: Information & Communication technologies have also transformed the way academic libraries provide reference services to users and faculties. The expectation and demand of users is for academic libraries to provide personalized assistance irrespective of location and time (Olivas, & Chan. 2013), therefor such assistance should be provided electronically without users being physically available in the library.

7.    Course Guides. Subject guides are lists of resources created by librarians in cooperation with the instructor, to assist learners with their research needs. These lists of resources may include topics including but not limited to books, journals, databases, websites, as well as any other topics the librarian feels would assist learners with their research.

8.    Technology Lending: This service offers a multitude of programs that learners, faculty and staff can using to support and facilitate using electronic resources and systems.

9.    Copyright & Digital Knowledge Centre: CDKCaims to assist learners with questions about using copyrighted works, to help them protect their rights as an author, and to maximize the dissemination and impact of the university's information and knowledge resources.

10.  Digital Lab. The Digital Media Lab provides hardware and software tools for a wide variety of digital projects for learners and faculty members to support learning, such as e-Education programs and tools.

 

9/0 Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, HBMSU

Under the presidency of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, U.A.E, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) is committed to instigating a culture of quality, excellence and research through e-learning in the Arab world, with emphasis in the academic disciplines of business, quality management, education, healthcare and environment. HBMSU enjoys international credibility and recognition with its academic and professional programs not only being demand-driven, but also customized to meet the growing needs of businesses in the UAE and indeed elsewhere in the Arab world.

Established in 2002, this innovative higher education project has been conceived, crafted and implemented by Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, the Chancellor of HBMSU, as a passionate response to the hopes and aspirations of the new Arab generation, with an emphasis on e-learning as the future of education and empowerment in the region. The pioneering vision of the University has, in fact, paved the way for the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) to design standards for accreditation for an e-learning institution.

With a wider agenda of transforming society, HBMSU has been engaged in large pioneering educational projects including the Middle East e-Learning Quality Framework (MeLQ), the Middle East e-Learning Association (MEEA), the Middle East Quality Association (MEQA), and the e-Health Scientific Society (eHSS). These initiatives have been culminated in 2013 with the launch of the HBMSU Social Online Learning project.

Moreover, HBMSU is an active member of many reputed international organizations and institutions: the International Council for Open and Distance Education, European Learning Industry Group, British Quality Foundation, European Foundation for Quality Management, International Federation of Information Processing, etc.

 

9/1 HBMSU Library

In order to support the learning experience, the University provides learners, faculty and other staff members with access to a vast collection of learning resources and research material. These resources are made available through the development of a number of initiatives such as: the University Library.

Accessible from the University Official Website, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University Library is the access point for all learning resources. The aim of the University's Library and Learning Resource Centre is to provide information services and resources required to support the teaching, learning and research endeavours of the University Community. The Library houses current scholarly information, regardless of format, which supports the research, administrative and educational needs of its patrons. The core collection includes electronic databases, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University publications, web resources and various library services. The Library was designed with the needs of patrons in mind; it provides various users with easy access to electronic books, journals, articles, databases and other public and non-public domain websites; irrespective of the geographical location and time of the day. Library staff organizes frequent trainings and orientation sessions that helps patron optimize their time when navigating the various databases and resources.

 

10/0 Data Analysis / Users Survey Findings & Results

The survey was implemented online using Qualtrics application. The survey is consisting of 5 sections. The survey conducted for two main categories faculty and learners for two weeks and the responses as following:-

10/1 Section A: General Info.

This section contains information about the respondents. The figure below (Figure 1) shows that the majority of respondents (50.94%) were postgraduate learners. 

Figure (1) Respondents Categories

At the same time (Figure 2) shows that the majority of respondents (66%) were from School of Business, followed by the School of Health (22%), then School of Education (7%). This is because the majority of HBMSU learners are enrolled in School of Business. In fact this reflects the real proportion of learners in each school.

Figure (2) Respondents by Schools

When we asked about the previous experience with e-libraries, 66% of respondents were answered “Yes”, while 30% were answered with “No”, and 4% were not sure as shown in (Figure 3).

Figure (3) Experience with e-library

About frequently accessing e-library, (Figure 4) shows that the majority is divided between weekly 32% and monthly 32%, researcher believes that these percentages reflects something in the library usage and need to investigate and find solutions to increase the usage.  

Figure (4) Frequently Accessing e-library

 

10/2 Section B: Overall Reaction

This section discussed the overall reaction about e-library, as shows in figure (5) the respondent’s reaction about e-library features as the easy use for new library portal, 50% were satisfied, also 55% were satisfied with the attractiveness, but only 45% were satisfied with the flexibility and this may be due to the new shapes in new portal and changes in resources and with time will be familiar. But on the other hand 64% were indicate that e-library is effective in helping them to complete the tasks, moreover 66% were indicate that the e-library has a positive reaction in the e-learning environment.

Figure (5) Overall Reaction

Figure (6) shows the usage purposes of e-library. As per the figure, the majority purpose was assignments 74%, then 64% for search resources, after that citations and referencing services with 56%, and 48% indicated to academic writing as purpose, but the unexpected result is teaching as a purpose with only 20% which means there is a gap between faculty and e-library and need further study to find out the obstacles from faculty prospective.    

Figure (6) HBMSU e-Library usage purposes

The figure below explains the respondent’s answers about e-library usage difficulties. The majority of them indicated to lack (check spelling) of technical information about e-resources and systems which can be called information literacy programs.  But here researcher point out that HBMSU e-library has a structured information literacy program for users, and e-library conduct monthly training session about library resources and services.

Figure (7) HBMSU e-Library usage difficulties

 

10/3 Collections

This section covered the respondent’s satisfaction about HBMSU Library resources. Figure (8) shows that 39% were satisfied with e-library resources and only 12% were not satisfied, in the same time 32% form HBMSU faculty indicated that resources support then in preparing teaching materials. HBMSU e-Library usually conducts yearly evaluation for the e-resources by sending the evaluation form to the deans and faculty members. 

Figure (8) HBMSU e-Library Resources

Figure (9) shows the respondent’s impressions about the HBMSU e-library role in the e-learning, and the majority of them (60%) were pointed out that e-library has an important role which include providing access to e-resources, educating how to use and evaluating the quality and relevancy e-resources as well as facilitating access to and navigating e-resources,

Figure (9) HBMSU e-library role in E-learning

 

10/4 Library Usage

This section elaborate about the respondent’s impression about the HBMSU e-Library usage. The majority of them (48%) mentioned that they didn’t used e-library tutorial/Manual, at the same time, 24% stated that they don't know about this Service, which means there is a lack of informative from library side. To avoid such issues, library used to publish and announce about library tutorial/Manual through many channels as SHOUT system, mails and HBMSU social media channels.

Figure (10) shows that 50% of who? indicated that the can retrieve resources from e-library in easy way, while 10% mentioned that they faced difficulties to retrieve. Alongside 46% mentioned they can find the needed resources usually through e-library; however 16% mentioned the opposite and they can’t find the required resources form e-library collections.

Figure (10) Resources Retrieval

Figure (10) shows the faculty staff impressions about the benefits of using e-library in teaching and scientific researches and how they evaluate these benefits; as shown 61% were stated that the benefits of e-library in teaching is good as well as 65% said the same about scientific researches; while 4% and 9% from the faculty pointed out the benefits are poor in both teaching and scientific researches.

Figure (11) Resources in Teaching & Research

Table (1 or table 2? Double check) discussed some issues between faculty and learners about library usage encouragement.

Question

Response

Yes

No

Do you encourage you learners to use e-library?

92%

8%

Are you encouraged by your instructor to use e-library?

65%

35%

Do you face any difficulties in using e-library?

35%

65%

Table (1) Using e-library

When we asked faculty if they encourage their learners to use e-library, most of them (92%) were responded with Yes, but when asked the learners same question if they encouraged by faculty use library?, 65% from respondents were responded No. this very confused situation for the library. But we can elucidate this issue by reading table no. (2); when we asked faculty about if they provide links to databases or e-resources in course materials (VLE)? Minority (12%) were said frequently while 48% were responded sometimes and 40% were responded rarely. Hence researcher can say most of faculty members didn’t use e-library resources a lot, and same time they didn’t encourage their learners too much to use e-library resources.

Question

Response

Frequently 

Sometimes

Rarely

Do you provide links to databases or e-resources in course materials (VLE)?

12%

48%

40%

Table (2) e-Library through VLE

 

11/4 Library Services

This section discussed respondent’s feedback and awareness about e-library services. As shown in figure (11) majority of respondents were responded that they aware about e-library services and 20% said the opposite. Furthermore 55% of respondents were pointed out that they didn’t attend the Information Literacy sessions which held by e-library online or physical, and this one the most critical issued for the e-library. Usually these sessions were conducted on suitable time for the learners but the number of attendees not much, also library recorded these sessions and make available through HBMSU portal.

Figure (12) Library Services & Information Literacy

Finally the figure below (12) shows respondent’s satisfaction about e-library instructions and quality. As per the figure below the satisfaction about library instructions and information is acceptable as 46% were satisfied and 41% were neutral while 13% were unsatisfied.

Figure (13) e-Library Satisfaction

Moreover, the satisfaction about the quality of services is acceptable, as 55% were satisfied, while only 4% unsatisfied about the quality of services provided by e-library. Of course this percentage should be high more than this, and this what we are planning.

 

11/0 Recommendations and Conclusion

In an age where a growing number of learners who do not see an appreciable difference between what is offered by e-library services and web search engine, seamless linking of e-learning and e-library become even more crucial important.

In June 2015, personal interviews were conducted with 8th e-learning instructors at Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, IT professionals and learners to find out the potential e-library services that could support e-learning environment, alongside with the questionnaire which distributed among all users.

The following suggested library services were considered as priorities:

·         There is a gap between e-library and faculty, this gap shouldn’t be happen.

·         Faculty should encourage learners to use e-library resources through assignments, citations and researches.

·         E-library should design a new services or present information services by using the modern technology, such as:-

o   Online reference service to answer the information needs of the learners (i.e. e-learning liaison librarian).

o   Creating URL links between e-course contents and the relevant e-resources; and providing online literacy sessions to help learners in scholarly use of the e-library and distributed e-resources.

·         Develop e-learning oriented collections and learning objects.

·         Develop full online literacy programs as both e-learning instructors and learners need to acquire the ability to search, retrieve, and create scholarly materials in digital formats

·         Liaison expert librarians with teaching staff involved in the development of course web-based curricula.

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