E-learning and e-books

Back from my hols and I’m straight back into the thick of things! On Monday afternoon I was speaking at a CPD25 event called ‘E-learning: how e-asy is it‘. I followed David Nicholas from the Department of Information Studies at UCL talking about the Superbook project. Although it finished a while ago, Dave made some good points about how most of what we know about the use of e-material is based on journals and not e-books. Superbook was the first in-depth study to look at how e-books are really used by students – using deep log analysis. He talked about how use is tied to the rhythm of teaching although 21% of use is over the weekend (largely on Sunday!). He also talked about the fact that publishers own these e-books and there is a danger of librarians being disintermediated through e-books, when our role should be helping provide access, search strategies and navigation.

I was then followed by Caron Milloy from JISC Collections who talked about the E-book observatory project which is building on David’s work to monitor in detail the use of MyiLibrary titles that JISC has licensed for HE and FE. They’ve also done focus groups and surveys of both students and librarians. Lots of interesting data is coming out of this project, such as the average time users spend looking at an e-book being 13 minutes and how the title and contents page is the most popular section of the book! It’s clear that no real reading is taking place using e-books and that users are most likely to be printing off sections they want to read in detail. She talked of the restrictive DRM systems that many e-book systems have and how they are currently preventing users access the books in the way they want to. She also told us how the most heavily used title in the collection has, despite what publishers might think, actually seen an increase in print sales since being licensed as an e-book. There is lots more information on the project website and further results coming soon at http://www.jiscebookproject.org/

My talk focused on the use of Moodle at LSE and library support issues. I talked about our Library ‘sticky block’ in Moodle, about the new reading list management system, about information skills support in Moodle and issues such as copyright and training.  I’ve put the presentation on Slideshare if anyone wants to read up more on it. I’ll be up in Barnsley tomorrow, presenting to the JISC RSC Yorks and Humberside about web 2.0 and information literacy and will report back later in the week.

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