Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Luetkehans, Lara M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment


Academic libraries--Off-campus services--United States; Libraries and students--United States; University extension--United States; Distance education--United States


This study researched college and university library services provided to distance education students. The purpose was to determine whether library web sites differed depending on the amount of distance education offered. Using constructivist theory, this study examined how distant library patrons relate to information services through a web browser. The library web site contains the citations, articles, full-text information and more that students need in order for them to engage in their studies. The library and its resources are cognitive tools for learners as they construct knowledge. Constructivist theory also serves as an underpinning for investigating the instructional relationship between learner and librarian. Librarians can use the web delivery systems to guide learners in developing information literacy skills, teaching patrons about the resources available, what would be appropriate, how to evaluate resources and use the information found. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The study began with a content analysis of library web sites. The web sites chosen were categorized by the amount of distance education offered to students: fully online institutions, traditional institutions now offering complete degrees via a distance, institutions offering the most individual courses via a distance, and institutions not yet offering distance education. Personal interviews with librarians and surveys of distance education students were also conducted in order to gain a deeper understanding of the participants' perceptions. Results indicated that the size of the institution had the strongest correlation to library services offered to distance education students (Spearman's rho of .618), not the degree to which distance education is provided (rho of .076). This thereby brings into question whether some institutions have been too quick to provide distance education services without properly addressing student library needs. Other findings indicated that greater amounts of online materials are needed. More instruction, personal assistance, and improved navigational design are required due to increasingly complex web sites and a multitude of database offerings. Furthermore, while feedback is solicited, there is a lack of formal needs assessment to fully determine student needs. Finally, inadequate financial support, and a corresponding lack of adequate staffing, is a continuing problem.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [103]-108)


vi, 144 pages




Northern Illinois University

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