Transforming resource management and course experience through technology

The selection and cost of course materials can present challenges for academics and students. However, digital tools can create more engaging and accessible content

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Ex Libris
18 May 2022
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Tamar Sadeh speaks at DUW US
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As higher education continues its transition to the online world, the sector is facing new challenges around course materials, particularly in terms of access. During a session at Times Higher Education’s Digital Universities Week US 2022, hosted in partnership with Ex Libris, Tamar Sadeh, vice-president of teaching and learning solutions at Ex Libris, spoke of changing student expectations and the challenges and opportunities this creates.

“Professors are now required to alter long-standing courses to adjust for a new reality,” Sadeh said. “There are huge challenges around affordability, diversity and accessibility that simply have to be met.”

Sharing results from a recent survey answered by university faculty members and students, Sadeh revealed that many academics felt they were given little support in selecting, arranging, updating and checking course materials. In addition, 76 per cent said they started their search for course material using Google. “Of course, anything can be found using Google but there are better ways of sourcing quality materials,” Sadeh added.

Despite the use of publicly available search engines, the survey revealed that academic quality remains of paramount importance to faculty members. For students, however, other factors increase in prominence – particularly access. “According to our survey, only 33 per cent of students read all the course materials and just 32 per cent read more than half,” Sadeh said. “Partly this may be due to the sheer scale of the course material, but the cost is important too. Thirty-six per cent of students opted not to enrol on a course because the cost of the relevant materials was too high and 56 per cent said that the cost had a negative impact on their success as a student.”

Working in partnership with university libraries, technology can help institutions make course resources more accessible. Ex Libris has seen great results with its course resource list solution Leganto, which allows institutions to plug their libraries into their existing learning management systems. “Leganto integrates with library materials, helping with the organisation of resources, the achievement of course initiatives, and the reduction of costs,” Sadeh explained. “We believe it can transform the course experience for students and faculty.”

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