Many distance students do not have the option to visit their library and meet with a reference librarian face-to-face
VOIP Reference Services for Research Consultation Appointments with Distance Students Lightning Talk, Virtual Reference Summit 2011 Thea Evenstad, MLS Candidate - Emporia State University
What is distance learning? Distance learning is “a formal education process in which the students and instructor are not in the same place. Thus, instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous, and it may involve communication through the use of video, audio, or computer technologies, or by correspondence” (US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics).
Prevalence of distance learning In the 2006–07 academic year, 66 percent of the 4,160 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the nation offered college-level distance education courses. In 2006–07, there were approximately 11,200 college-level programs that were designed to be completed totally through distance education; 66 percent of these programs were reported as degree programs and the remaining 34 percent were reported as certificate programs. Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts
The Issue “One aspect of physical place that digital reference currently cannot emulate is the quality of being face to face: transactions conducted via these forms of media lack the richness of a face-to-face conversation. The forms of non-verbal communication that a librarian relies on in the reference transaction – from the user's body language to the librarian's ability to size up a user based on appearance and manner – are lost” (Pomeranz and Marchionini 2007).
Implications for Distance Learning What happens when I can’t get here and I want an in-depth research consultation?
VOIP Reference Services VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol 3 types: IP Phones, Software VOIP, and Mobile/Integrated VOIP Skype is an example of a software VOIP tool
Do VOIP reference services exist? 11 Libraries offer Skype-based reference services The websites featured here include Ohio University, Framingham State University, and Madison Area Technical College
Criticism of Skype-based reference services Char Booth, a reference librarian at Ohio University, interviewed several coordinators of Skype-a-librarian services and found (Booth 2010): Users prefer to converse via text chat rather than initiate a voice or video interaction Technical difficulties were regularly reported The service seemed to be highly valued by the few who initiated interactions, who often tended to become repeat Skype users. Usage is nonexistent to modest and depends on steady promotion Participants initially tended to be faculty and international students, but more groups appear to be adopting Skype over time Services can be difficult to staff and integrate with other virtual and in-person reference offerings
Scheduled Research Consultations via VOIP Librarians must be innovative when developing reference services for distance students There is a need for more personable, in-depth research services for distance students VOIP research consultations may be one way to meet this need
Florida State is blazing the trail More research needs to be done on the effectiveness of VOIP research consultations for distance students If effective, these services may better meet the information-seeking needs of distance students
References Booth, C. (2010). VOIP in reference, user services, and instruction. Library Technology Reports: Hope, hype and VOIP: Riding the library technology cycle. 25-31. Pomerantz, J & Marchionini, G. (2007). The digital library as place. Journal of Documentation 63 (4), 505-533. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts
Want to learn more? Visit Emporia State University’s mock research forum on Saturday, July 16th to view my poster presentation on this topic I will also have a written research-based action plan available by request by July 22nd Contact information below email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org