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Library Course-Management Systems: An Overview

"Library Course-Management Systems: An Overview" offers academic and college libraries direction for developing a fully integrated online-learning environment.

You've observed, probably daily, how the World Wide Web has woven itself throughout countless aspects of higher education. Though the ongoing integration of online resources into our daily lives and job activities can be challenging, it's a challenge that academic libraries need to take up, says Susan Gibbons, author of the May/June 2005 issue of Library Technology Reports, "Library Course-Management Systems: An Overview" (41:3).

"The question academic libraries need to be asking is not if, but how, to embrace and support the vision of a fully integrated online-learning environment," states Gibbons, who is also author of the well-received 2004 issue of Library Technology Reports, "Establishing an Institutional Repository" (40:4).

"Library Course-Management Systems: An Overview," Gibbons first discusses some of the current barriers to the seamless integration of library resources into course-managment systems. But the author's 52-page report on these systems also highlights the many successful examples of how some of the barriers to integrated online-learning environments have been overcome.

Also in "Library Course-Management Systems: An Overview," Gibbons discusses some of the commercial options available, including technology from:

  • Blackboard
  • WebCT
  • ANGEL Learning Inc.
  • Desire2Learn

The report examines the Moodle Open Source course-management system as well as the Sakai Project, an Open Source courseware system being constructed by a growing collaboration of higher education institutions.

Additionally, "Library Course-Management Systems: An Overview" addresses how library-authored course guides or pages can help the educational integration effort. in the report, Gibbons showcases the growing corpus of library course pages from the libraries of such distinguished institutions as Brandeis University, UCLA, and the author's own University of Rochester.

About the Author
Susan Gibbons is Assistant Dean for Public Services and Collection Development at the University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries, Rochester, NY, USA. She holds a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree as well as a Master of Arts degree in history from Indiana University. She also holds a professional MBA from the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts.

Ms. Gibbons held library positions at Indiana University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst--where she directed a two-year Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant focused on electronic book use in public, academic, and school libraries--before moving to Rochester in 1999. She has published and presented on various library information technology topics, including institutional repositories, electronic books, and library course-management systems.