Where is the Library in Course Management Software?

Marianne Buehler, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Urban Sustainability Librarian

Presented at: OCLS Conference, May 5-7 2004
Also archived in: The Eleventh Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings, ed. Patrick B. Mahoney. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press, 2004. 574p. ISBN 0-7890-2785-2. Co-published simultaneously as Journal of Library Administration 41, no. 1/2 and 3/4, 2004.


Course management software (CMS) or courseware products, such as Prometheus, FirstClass, Blackboard, and WebCT, do not include the Library as an essential, curricular component in their design. Consequently, the task falls to librarians to creatively partner with faculty to input library resources into courseware to support students effectively in their research endeavors. Distance learning students, who are off campus, will benefit as they are physically removed from the Library. Distance learners (DLs) can be intimidated by library websites and find it difficult and time consuming to navigate. Since the entire course content is in the course management product, the primary source for class information, it makes good sense to include library resources and services in the appropriate areas, such as the syllabus, assignments, projects, etc. Including research resources within courseware enables students to get started on their own in navigating the Library and can provide direct contact information to appropriate library staff for further and deeper resource assistance.