As of 22 April 2009 this website is 'frozen' in time — see the current IFLA websites

This old website and all of its content will stay on as archive – http://archive.ifla.org

IFLANET home - International Federation of Library Associations and InstitutionsActivities and ServicesSearchContacts


Welcome from the Round Table Executive Committee!

Bangkok Program Information

The Latest News......

CE Opportunities - Upcoming Seminars and Programs

NetMeeting - New Alternative Delivering Library Instruction to Distance Students

Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Distance Learning -- Dr. James H. Ryan


Newsletter of the Round Table on Continuing Professional Education (CPERT)


April 1999



Ms Patricia G. Oyler, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College
300 The Fenway,
Boston, MA 02115, USA
Tel: +1-617-5212850,
Fax +1-617-5213192
E-mail: poyler@vax.simmons.edu


Leena Siitonen, Ph. D.
Avila, Spain
E-mail: leena.siitonen@ucavila.es


Ms Anne Goulding
Loughborough University (DILS)
LE11 3TU,
United Kingdom
Tel: +44-1509-223056
Fax: +44-1509-223053
E-mail: a.goulding@lboro.ac.uk


Clare Walker
University of the Witwatersrand
Wartenweiler, PO Box 31550,
2017 Braamfontein,
South Africa
E-mail: 056walker@libris.kwl.wits.ac.za

Information Coordinator:

John F. Harvey, Ph.D.
PO Box 21363, 1507 Nicosia,
Tel: +357-2-462286,
Fax: +357-2-451620
E-mail: john.f.harvey@usa.net


Blanche Woolls, Ph.D.
School of Library & Information Science
San Jose State University
One Washington Square, San Jose, CA
95192-0029, USA
Tel: +1-408-924-2491
Fax: +1-408-924-2476
E-mail: bwoolls@wahoo.sjsu.edu


Diann D. Rusch-Feja, M.L.S., Ph.D.
Director, Library and Research Documentation
Max-Planck Institute for Human Development
Lentzeallee 94,
D-14195 Berlin, Germany
Tel: +4930-82406-230,
Fax: +4930-82499-39
E-mail: uschfeja@mpib-berlin.mpg.de


Darlene Weingand, Ph.D.
School of Library & Information Studies
University of Wisconsin
600 North Bank Street,
Madison, WI 53706, USA
Tel: 1-608-262-8952
Fax 1-608-263-4849
E-mail: weingand@facstaff.wisc.edu


Brooke E. Sheldon, Ph.D.
Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78712-1276, USA
E-mail: bsheldon@uts.cc.utexas.edu

The Newsletter is published twice a year in October and April. Please share your ideas and experiences by sending your contributions or suggestions to John F. Harvey, PO Box 21363, 1507 Nicosia, Cyprus, Tel: (357-2) 462286, Fax: (357-2) 451620, e-mail: john.f.harvey@usa.net or Suite 1105, 82 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005-3682, USA, Fax: 212-968-7962. Secretariat: Janet Assadourian.

Bangkok Program Information

Bangkok, Thailand, August 19-28 1999 - 65th IFLA Council and General Conference "Libraries as Gateways to an Enlightened World"

The Professional Board of IFLA has approved the theme "Libraries as Gateways to an Enlightened World" for the 1999 IFLA General Conference in Bangkok. Shown below is the CPERT Program for the Bangkok Meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend.


  1. Ken Dowlin, Distinguished Visiting Professor
    David V. Loertscher, Professor
    San Jose State University, San Jose, USA
    Title: Web-based Instruction for Continuing Education Students.
    A report on the San Jose State University Virtual Library School Program and its potential for web-based instruction for continuing education.

  2. Narumol Ruksusuk, (Universtiy of Thailand), doctoral student at University of Pittsburgh
    Title: Library and Information Science Distance Education in the Next Decade
    The concept of teaching library and information science at a distance has been adopted and practiced by many library schools in different parts of the world, including Thailand. The advent of the Internet as a means of information access and distribution, and the explosive growth of the World Wide Web have transformed distance teaching from a broadcast mode to an interactive one. Although there are many advantages to distance learning, up until now there have also been some criticisms and concerns. Those concerns include whether or not distance education is a suitable mode of education and whether the quality of the media used matches the quality of in-class instruction. Since the essential objective of education is to change the learning behaviour of students, this can be accomplished by using the Instructional System ISD Model. Thus the ISD model should be given careful consideration in selecting and developing delivery systems for teaching library and information science at a distance.

  3. Darlene Weingand, Professor of Library and Information Science
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
    Title: What is Continuing Professional Education?
    Continuing professional education (CPE) has been defined in many different ways, which has often resulted in confusion. This paper attempts to place continuing professional education within the context of the whole of education for librarianship. Using the fable of the blind men and the elephant as an analogy, the discussion explores the who, what, when, where, why and how of CPE and its relationship to the range of educational possibilities.

  4. Blanche Woolls, Dean, School of Library and Information Science
    San Jose State University, San Jose, USA
    Title: Planning a Continuing Education Pre-Conference in 2001 at the Boston Conference

The Latest News.....


We need to increase the membership of CPERT. One way of doing this is for you to place a news item in the newsletter or journal published by your national library association. There is plenty of information to use from this and earlier newsletters. Word of mouth is also highly effective.


1999 is an election year for CPERT members. The Executive Committee will be selected in August 1999 in Bangkok. Offices available are: The Chair, Vice-Chairman and Chairman Elect, Secretary and Treasurer. Members of the Round Table wishing to stand for election should send nominations to John Harvey john.f.harvey@usa.net in Cyprus.


In preparation for our CPERT preconference to be held before the Boston Conference in 2001, the most important "piece" has been secured -- the presence of Dr. Elizabeth Stone. The visionary leader of CPERT is planning to attend. It was my privilege to host Betty at my library school in October. She made her first appearance by interactive television when she did a guest stint in my core course. Thirty students shared the immediate room with her and an additional thirty students were able to see her and the classroom from their classroom in Fullerton, CA. It was a joyous occasion enjoyed by all and one that was recorded on videotape. It will be available also at our preconference to have as one of the poster sessions.

Another "piece" includes the place. I am negotiating for a site in a small New England town about two hours by bus outside Boston. We are presently getting prices for bus transportation from Logan Airport to the conference site and then we can decide how many days, how many sessions, and how many meals -- all items that go into pricing a preconference.

More immediately, we are working to see that our plans for continuing education meet the needs of our constituents, and do not interfere with other associations and their plans. Our big event for San Jose for the Spring will be hosting the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture by Lillian Gerhardt. The Association for Library Services to Children annually offers this lecture by competition. We are lucky because we will join this continuing education event to the California School Library Association Northern Section Spring Meeting, a major continuing education opportunity for school librarians. The final day of the three-day weekend will be a Leadership Seminar featuring Past-Presidents of the American Library Association, the Association for Library Services to Children, the American Association of School Librarians, and the Young Adult Library Services Association. -- Blanche Woolls


The interest and involvement in CPD has grown substantially in the UK in recent years. One of the important stimulants for the individual to get involved in CPD was The Framework for Continuing Professional Development: Your Personal Profile, which was issued by the Library Association in 1992 to all members. The Library Association has always been jealous of its standards of professional practice for, in addition to its programme of examining ILS qualifying courses; it has a long established process of chartering qualified librarians. Not only do you have to pass the required examinations, but have to give evidence about the ability to practise professional maturity. The Profile was presented in a folder for the member to complete a planning cycle for their CPD. At the same time central government was placing greater emphasis on the need for all organisations to have a well-educated and trained workforce.

As the UK covers a comparatively small geographic area (as compared with Australia and the US) it has been easier to offer short courses in London. There are three main providers - Aslib, the Library Association and TFPL. Each has a niche market for some courses, but the element of competition has resulted in programmes of high quality and at a reasonable cost, compared with other occupations. Some courses have been offered in regional centres. To this can be added the range of conferences organised by the professional bodies and their specialist groups, and an increasing number of commercial providers. One important example of the latter is the London Online Conference and Exhibition held in December each year. A mini-US style conference is held in Manchester every couple of years organised by the Library Association.

The LIS schools have been active for some years in providing second level masters degrees - some are offered as part-time courses, others are available by distance learning. At Aberystwyth there are a significant number of students who come from overseas and fly in for study schools; others are based in Hong Kong and staff members visit them. Each school offering the programmes has developed their own approach, for example Loughborough offers an MBA jointly with its Business School. Whilst employers will often pay the costs for staff attending short courses, those following longer programmes are having to invest in their futures by paying their fees and associated costs. Although these costs are rising, the numbers taking courses continue to increase.

It is clear that employers look very closely at applications for evidence of CPD when they are selecting staff. As a user of libraries it is easy to identify which members of staff are keeping up-to-date with developments, not only in their technical abilities, but also in the way that they communicate with users. Full marks to the professional bodies - and IFLA - for creating the climate for CPD. -- Patricia Layzell Ward - Wales, December 1998


The 21st Century Teachers Network (21CT) project is a nationwide initiative to empower educators through interconnection, allowing them to develop new skills using educational technology, share their expertise with other teachers, and integrate new technologies in their teaching and learning activities. The new 21CT Website acts as a meeting place for an interactive online community that promotes group collaboration among teachers interested in education technology. The site includes eight major sections: News, where educational news items are posted; Teacher to Teacher, which hosts "interest-specific message boards", Event Central, a calendar of events; Library, containing research, lesson plans and much more; Contacts, a directory of network users; Favourite Places, an annotated collection of select links; Chapters, which provides information on local 21CT groups; and Network Highlights, a "what's new" section for the project. Users must register to access the 21CT Network. Registration is free.


Telecampus is an outstanding online resource center for Internet-based distance education, serving the needs of students and instructors worldwide. The heart of this progressive site is the Online Course Database, which currently contains information on over 9,000 online courses offered by higher education institutions. The online courses are catalogued and indexed using IMS metadata hence detailed, organized information is provided for every course in the database. Learners may link directly from a database record to a course Webpage at the corresponding educational institution for additional information. TeleCampus also maintains an administrative system that allows learners to apply, register, and pay for select courses through the Telecampus Website. For educators, TeleCampus provides hundreds of helpful distance education links and several guides to online course development and instruction, including an online course template, enabling educators to construct course Websites quickly. TeleCampus is supported by the Canada/New Brunswick Regional Economic Development Agreement and sponsored by several agencies in both the public and private sectors. TeleCampus can be viewed at http://telecampus.edu/ - Source: Internet Scout Report, University of Wisconsin.

CE Opportunities - Upcoming Seminars and Programs

"Libraries and Librarianship: Past, Present and Future."
May 16-29, a two-week seminar in Oxford, England, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science and the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library. Participants will learn about academic librarianship in Britain and trends in library automation in Britain and Europe. Visits to Bodleian library, some Oxford College libraries, the British Library, Oxford University Press, and Blackwell's are included. Register by March 31, cost for shared accommodations is $2400. Course credit is available. Visit http://ils.unc.edu/ils/continuing_ed/ oxford/1999.html, phone 919-962-8366, or e-mail oxford@is.unc.edu for more information.

"The Power of Language: Planning for the 21st Century,"
second national conference of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library Services to the Spanish-Speaking (RNC II), August 3-6, 2000, Tucson, AZ. The conference will focus on collection development, children's services, community outreach, bilingualism, and the recruitment of minority librarians. Meetings will be held at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia for those interested in joining the planning. Contact conference chair Susana Hinojose at shinojos2berkeley.edu or call 510-643-9347.

Fourth International Summer School on the Digital Library,
August 15-27, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Experts such as Rick Luce, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Research Library; Eugenie Prime, Hewlett Packard Company, Corporate Libraries; John Hearty, OCLC Business Development Division, and many international authorities will contribute to the session. Cost is $3,608 plus accommodations; register by March 1 for a $105 discount; multiple registration discounts available; all prices exclude 17.5% VAT. Visit http://cwis.kub.nl/~ticer/, phone 31-13-466-8310, or e-mail Ticer@kub.nl for more information.


The American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Education Committee hereby reminds librarians that December 1, 1999 is the deadline for continuing education grant applications. Either a regional consortium of ATLA or another grouping of ATLA members or member libraries may apply. Up to $750 may be requested per application, and grants must be used during 2000. Information about applying may be found at the ATLA Web site (http://www.atla.com) and in the ATLA Newsletter August 1998 issue.


Sponsored by Section on Management and Marketing, 19-20 August, 1999, Bangkok, Thailand
The IFLA Section on Management and Marketing is organising a satellite meeting on "Marketing Your Library" to be held at Srinakharinwirot University, Department of Library and Information Science, Faculty of the Humanities, Bangkok, on August 19-20, 1999.

This workshop is designed to be an informal, lively interactive workshop on marketing principles as applied to libraries. Course materials will include reading lists, articles, glossary of terms, exercises and case studies. A marketing workbook is being donated to each participant by the Arthur Wilder Foundation. By the end of the two days, participants will have completed, in class, the essential elements of a library marketing plan. Time will be set aside after each module for exercises and assignments.

Day 1 (August 19)
Why Marketing for Libraries?           What do you need to practice Marketing?
Writing a Mission Statement (What is our business, who do we serve and why?)
Introducing and Gathering Information About the Library's Operating Environment

Library Resources

  • Library Policy
  • Library Technology
  • Library User Alternatives
  • Characteristics of Library Users
  • Developing a SWOT List (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) based on a review of the Library's Environment

Using Marketing Research to Segment the Library Market
Identification of Library Users with Shared Characteristics including:
  • Demographics (Age, Education, Occupation, Income and Size of Household
  • Lifestyles (Social Class, Family Life, Attitudes and Values)
  • Geographical Characteristics (Residence address or workplace by population)
  • Benefits sought by Users (Task completion, job promotion, pleasure)
  • Uses made of Library Products and Services (Pre-school education, online searches, library services for local businesses)
  • Volume of Materials and Services Used
Day 1: Evening Gala dinner for all participants, teachers and organisers

Day 2: (August 20)
Developing the Library's Market Mix: The "4 P's" (Product, Price, Place, Promotion)
  • Based on your market research, how you can better develop the library's services to users (what your users want and need)
  • Products (Services, Materials, Programs, Online Searches)
  • Price (Cost of User's Time or related charges)
  • Places or Channels of Distribution (Branch libraries, Bookmobiles, Kiosks)
  • Promotion Strategies (How do we communicate who we are? Public relations, publicity, design and displays)

Evaluation of Marketing and Performance Measures
  • Presents marketing controls and evaluation and performance measures-methodologies and techniques
  • Wrap Up/Summary: Discussions of how best to integrate marketing procedures into library management in the future
The workshop concludes at 4.00 p.m. on Friday, August 20th.

Registration fee: US$25.00; the workshop will be conducted in English; registration fee includes: all materials, food and beverage (morning & afternoon breaks, two lunches and the gala dinner); housing available at the nearby Jade Pavilion Hotel, Sukhumvit 22, Bangkok US$25.00 per night.

Registration is limited to fifty (50) persons. For more information, a complete brochure and to register contact: Alice Calabrese, The Chicago Library System, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60604, USA, Fax: 01-312-341-1956, e-mail: calabrese@chilibsys.org

Organisers and Presenters include:
  • Dr. Christie Koontz, Florida State University, US
  • Dean Jue, Florida State University, US
  • Dr. Rejean Savard, University of Montreal, Canada
  • Thierry Giappiconi, Bibliotheque Municipale, Fresnes, France
  • Marielle de Miribel, University of Paris, France
  • Christina Tovote, Malmo University, Sweden
  • Alice Calabrese, Chicago Library System, US
  • John W. Berry, NILRC: A Consortium of Community Colleges, Colleges & Universities, Oak Park, IL, US

NetMeeting - New Alternative Delivering Library Instruction to Distance Students

Distance education has become increasingly popular in the 1990s. A recent report from the National Center for Educational Statistics, an arm of the US Department of Education, suggests that in 1998, 90% of all institutions with 10,000 students or more, and 85% of institutions with enrolments of 3,000 to 10,000 will be offering at least some distance education courses.

Long before many institutions were looking to distance education as a method of maintaining enrolment and replacing dwindling federal funding, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was pioneering in this area. The Einstein Library at NSU has been actively supporting students in off-campus programs since 1992. The importance of delivering bibliographic instruction (BI) to students enrolled in distance education courses has become more apparent with the advent of online databases and full-text resources. Students, faculty, administrators and accrediting bodies recognise the need for distance students to learn information literacy skills.

One distance program at NSU that presents a particular challenge to library instruction is the Graduate Teacher Education program (GTEP). This program has 11 sites (clusters) in Florida and one in Las Vegas. Classes are offered at each site five times a year in eight-week blocks. Some classes are conducted live at the cluster sites, while others are conducted remotely via either audiobridge (moderated conference call) or compressed video.

Starting in the fall of 1997, librarians began visiting each GTEP site to deliver basic library instruction. This travel was necessary because, unlike other NSU distance education programs, GTEP students never come to the main campus. The library education was integrated into a required GTEP research course that was taught entirely in classes delivered at the sites. This plan, however, quickly became burdensome since it meant the librarians were making a total of 60 site visits per year. As a result, the Einstein Library began looking for technology solutions for delivering library instruction to these sites.

NetMeeting as a solution for delivering BI to distance students
The library team became interested in Microsoft's NetMeeting, a collaborative software, because it allows individuals and groups to interact via the Web. This program allows software to be used collaboratively, permits online group meetings using text chat, has white board features, can be used for visual data to multiple sites, and can transmit both audio and visual data in a one-to-one format. This solution appeared to have real possibilities since GTEP had computer labs with Internet connections, technology staff, and LCD projectors at all the sites. The library team also liked the fact that NetMeeting software provided more interactivity than software, such as CUSeeMe, and equipment solutions, such as compressed video, interactive TV, or satellite. NetMeeting also permits a person to elect to share control of the session with others.

A librarian presenting a BI session can elect to use the sharing function and allow a student at a remote site to search in an online database. Individuals at all the sites are able to see the search results.

Preliminary Trial.
Before the library decided to go ahead with this project, the library team arranged for several trial connections. The intention was to test how many sites could receive instruction simultaneously. The remote sites used Microsoft NetMeeting 2.1 for Windows95, running on a Gateway P166 with 32 MG of RAM. The library was showing a slide presentation on Microsoft's PowerPoint98 and online databases via Netscape Navigator 4.01. The on-campus connection was a T-1 connection, the receiving sites were dialling in via modems at 28.8 or 33.3 bps. Based on the preliminary trials, the library team learned:

  • The transmission of both audio and visual data over the Internet slowed down the transmission times for sites using modem connections
  • The quality of audio transmissions over the Internet was not great
  • NetMeeting could not quickly handle ten simultaneous sites, even when the library only used it to transmit visual data
  • The transmission of elaborate PowerPoint transitions slowed down the process.
  • The system worked best when computers at all sites were set at the lowest display settings (640 by 480 pixels)
  • Using Microsoft's public server was slow. NSU set up its own NetMeeting server. This improved transmission and privacy problems.

As a result of these findings, the library team opted to use an audiobridge, a commercial telephone conferencing system for transmitting audio to the GTEP sites. This meant that each site had to provide two telephone lines: one for the modem connection and one for the audiobridge connection. Each site had to provide a speakerphone so that all the students at the site could hear.

The library team decided to limit transmission to a maximum of three to four sites at a time and to keep the initial trials with GTEP classes simple. The library trainer would stick to the basics and would not use the collaboration feature in the initial set of training sessions. The team decided to spread the implementation over several weeks and to have librarians present at the GTEP sites as observers. This permitted the library to formatively evaluate the training and made adjustments based on both student input and the library observers' input.

GTEP Library Training Sessions via NetMeeting.
Because the success of implementing NetMeeting depended on the cooperation of GTEP staff at the sites, the library wanted to ensure that GTEP staff knew what was expected of them. As a result, the library asked the GTEP dean to send a memo to the technology staff and cluster coordinators at the various GTEP sites. Each GTEP site needed to provide 1) a person to set up equipment to make the NetMeeting connection, and 2) a facilitator to escort the class to the room in which instruction was to be received, to distribute library documentation, to act as a moderator during instruction, and to collect evaluation sheets.

The Einstein Library began delivering library instruction to GTEP sites in April 1998. The library ran the trial presentations at the five sites with scheduled research classes during that session and spread the training over three weeks. Librarians were present at each trial site during the first two weeks. These librarians were observers or "flies on the wall". They would only step in if there were major technical difficulties. Students were instructed to address all questions and interactions to the NetMeeting presenter from the main campus.

At the end of the trials, the library team evaluated NetMeeting as an alternative for delivering library instruction. If the results had been unsatisfactory, the library was prepared to go back to travelling to the sites to deliver BI. Fortunately, the NetMeeting training implementation seemed very successful. Student evaluations documented that students found NetMeeting was a very satisfactory method for delivering library instruction.

During the initial trials, a total of 59 students received instruction via NetMeeting at the five sites. All the students participating at the five sites indicated that they felt this was an acceptable method of receiving basic library instruction. Equally important, 100% of the participants also felt that future classes would benefit by receiving instruction in this format.

Problems Encountered and Lessons Learned
Murphy's Law dictates that if something can go wrong, it will, and our GTEP NetMeeting trials were no exception. Some of the lessons learned included:

  • Keep the training segment relatively short. The observers noted that students weary of just watching the screen while listening to a "disembodied voice". Students participated more when the content of the instruction was more relevant to the recipient and when the presenter allowed more time to contact student-suggested searches in the online databases.
  • Have a backup machine ready to deliver instruction.
  • Make sure NetMeeting settings on the training machine do not mask the presenter's name to outside participants.
  • Use the lowest screen resolution (640 by 480 pixels) at all sites.
  • Be sure to contact the people at the site a few days before the presentation to ensure that all is ready and that they are comfortable with the procedures to be used.
  • Verify if there is a problem with Internet Service Providers used at the sites dropping connections if the machines have an extended period of inactivity.
  • Stop regularly during the presentation to ask if there are any questions since the presenter has no visual clues for judging whether or not students understand the content.

Future Plans
During the 1998-99 academic year, the Einstein Library plans to use NetMeeting for training at the sites three times. We hope to send a librarian to each site twice a year to do live presentations and offer optional, hands-on training. The other three sessions per year would be delivered via NetMeeting. We plan to add a camera to the computer at the main campus and hope to be able to add cameras to each site. This would provide visual cues to the students at the sites and the NetMeeting presenter.

NetMeeting provides academic libraries with a new and inexpensive alternative for delivering bibliographic instruction to distance sites. NetMeeting has the potential of saving libraries a substantial amount of money in both librarian staff time and travel expenses. Best of all, students receive basic library instruction at a time and place that is convenient for them, rather than having students wait for times when librarians are able to schedule library training sessions at their sites. NetMeeting is not a perfect training solution but it offers librarians one more tool in the arsenal of training options. - Paul R. Pival and Johanna Tunon, C&RL News.

UK Distance Learning

Unwin, Lorn & Others. The Role of the Library in Distance Learning
Bowker Saur, 1998, c. 256 p., index. ISBN 1-85739-221-3, $70.
Distance education programs, greatly expanded during the last ten years, are now moving to the Internet. Many institutional and regional studies regarding library support exist, but this work is the first large-scale national survey for such programs. Chapter 2 presents survey results of students enrolled in postgraduate education programs. As a whole, students held positive attitudes toward librarians and libraries but expressed frustration with the time involved in locating materials and the lack of national reciprocal borrowing agreements among academic, public, and special libraries. Also, student diary entries point to high use of local library resources for research needs. A survey of university librarians at six institutions active in distance education programs illustrates problems in serving such students. The important role of public libraries in distance education appears in a survey of 80 main and branch libraries. Public librarians expressed desire for greater coordination of services for these students with sponsoring universities. Finally, a survey of providers of management programs pointed to a lack of unified vision of the library's place in such programs. These findings supplement discussion found in Libraries and Other Academic Support Services for Distance Learning (JAI Press, 1997. Librarians in institutions supporting such programs will find much to dwell on in this interesting work - Stephen Hupp, Swedenborg Memorial Lib., Urbana Univ., OH - Library Journal.

includes nearly 1800 information brokers from around the world. It is considered the world's most comprehensive guide to independent information experts and document retrieval firms in over 50 countries. See also the Members Director of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), subjects: librarians at http://www.andornot.com/ibdb/quick.html.

Dr James H. Ryan, serves as Vice-President and Dean of Continuing and Distance Education at Pennsylvania State University. Penn State's continuing education effort is one of the largest in American higher education, serving more than 170,000 credit and non-credit students at over 500 locations with participants in every state of the union and in 51 countries.

Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Distance Learning -- Dr. James H. Ryan

We're all trying to cope with change, and with learning at the exponential speed of change. I think technology is one very important tool that helps move us in that direction. I'd like to share with you my thoughts on this rapidly developing area called distance education. I'm seeing, just as I'm sure you are, the dramatic growth in this distance education area. I will spend the next few moments talking about the growth of distance education, its costs and benefits, and your role in helping to manage and enhance this fast growing development.

As we look at our society, we realise that there is not a sector that is not being influenced by distance education. For example, the military today is investing millions of dollars in increasing distance education capabilities by using satellite, video conferencing and online instruction, in addition to their traditional strong print programs. Reviewing the business and industry sector, we find that they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars for instruction for technicians, engineers sales representatives and managers to enable them to improve their skills, as well as to learn about how the new technology is employed.

This phenomenon called distance education is extraordinary. Increasingly you will be able to choose courses from many different institutions, because location will not be a barrier. There are many exciting examples taking place throughout the world but I will talk about three institutions which will give you a good snapshot of what's going on. The first is Stanford University. Today Stanford's College of Engineering has 5,000 students enrolled away from the university. The college offers courses leading to a master's degree in electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering and engineering economics at 220 sites, in 157 corporations, and in three countries; over 300 courses, both credit and noncredit are being delivered.

Why is distance education becoming pervasive? I will briefly explore the trends, such as the need for lifelong, as well as lifewide learning. Lifelong means building on your competency set. Lifewide learning may be caused by changing careers or by learning entirely unrelated, but necessary, competencies. For example, how many of you realised 15 years ago the level of technology literacy that you would need to have to function effectively today? A second trend is the demand for quality, for accessing the best experts available, not just those closest to you. A third trend is increasing responsiveness and just-in-time learning, anywhere, anyplace, anytime learning; the convenience of being able to access information where and when you need it.
I'd like to talk about the promise and reality of distance education. To do that, I need to start with a definition of distance education, so we all have the same foundation.

First, what I'd like to emphasise is that the teacher and student are not at the same location. Secondly, to be truly effective, distance education must involve two-way communication. I'm talking about the importance of interaction.

About five years ago I named a task force with a representative from every college at the university. I asked them to take a look at what impact technology might have on distance learning in the future and to come up with a vision of distance education at Penn State. I'd like to quote the chair of that committee, Bill Kelly, a professor of integrative arts, who had not used technology in instruction until a short time ago: "It was astounding how clearly the task force believed that distance education must become one of the central strategies in the university's future plan if the university is to seriously hold on to its national and international pre-eminence in teaching, research, and service."

There are a variety of compelling forces driving distance education. I would like to briefly review some of them to demonstrate how they will speed up this distance education evolution. Population decline - there is a decline in traditional college-age students and an increase in adult working students. Here we are talking about the issue of access and convenience. In a study recently done by Boston University for master's level students, the message was very clear. Adults who work full-time and take graduate courses would rather take a course through video conferencing than drive 25 miles at the end of the day to take a course at the BU campus. Given the need for continuous education, access and convenience will drive more of our clients' choice of preferred learning options. There are a variety of economic factors, including globalisation and the creation of a knowledge dependent society. It's clear that today survival in any economy really depends on how you use the latest knowledge.

Information/knowledge is becoming a commodity and there are more players in the marketplace with innovative ways to distribute that commodity. That means much greater competition for colleges and universities. Also, there is a lot of discussion right now about what that means for higher education's role in certifying knowledge.
As we look at the relationship of knowledge to careers, we see that the fastest growing occupations do require a college degree. As we experience the "graying" of America, we recognise that for the first time, the largest percentage of people who will be in the work force in the year 2000 are already employed. Most of our businesses and industries will not be hiring new graduates to bring in new competencies and foster change. They will need to invest in retraining and professional development of their current workforce. The need for lifelong learning is becoming ubiquitous and many states are mandating continuing education.
The final force I will mention today is the increased concern about learning becoming more learner-centered, rather than faculty centered. Learning is most effective when it is active rather than passive, collaborative rather than done in isolation. Students have different learning styles and learn at different speeds. We recognise that the lecture may not be the best way of delivering information. Faculty members could work with students on synthesizing, integrating and applying information, rather than simply providing information.

As a result of these developments and the increased demand for education, there have been many new initiatives in distance education. Prior to 1985, there were only about ten states that had significant commitments to distance education. Those were the large geographical states like Colorado, Nebraska, Maine, and others, where populations were very dispersed throughout the state. Consequently, they had to find creative ways to reach out to provide information, knowledge and programs to their citizens. Today there is hardly a state, in fact there is hardly a major university, that doesn't have some major distance education development.
New developments include creating new international partnerships. There are a number of institutions partnering to develop the delivery of new degree programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. We must realise that the corporate world will have different ideas about how to access the best, not just an institution, but the best people in the discipline and how technology will allow those new developments to take place. A partnership between Minnesota and Penn State is providing an associate degree in Russia using print and video.

There are new degree patterns beginning to emerge, for example, Penn State offers a master's degree in acoustical engineering that uses a variety of delivery systems. It uses satellite, video conferencing, and online interaction. A faculty member visits the site several times a semester. Students come for two residential periods during succeeding summers. It's an exciting program. It is now being delivered to sites in the state of Washington, California, Florida, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

This summer, I was in Birmingham, England attending the 21st meeting of the International Council on Distance Education where more than a thousand delegates from 100 countries were discussing distance education issues. I could have been at a NASULGC meeting, given the same level of development, interaction, and understanding of these issues with one major exception. All of the industrialised nations understood this technology and were beginning to use it. However, the underdeveloped nations were obviously using less technology and more print based distance education. Supporting the growing interest in this area, the University of Wisconsin has been offering a conference on distance education over the last five or six years. Generally, the conference is attended by 100 to 300 people. This year, there were more than 800 people which was more than double the number they had last year.

Let me briefly review the benefits of distance education. First, it increases productivity. It finds new markets and opportunities. It optimises declining resources, serves a population that is isolated and cannot access campus resources. It promotes learner-centered education. Now, with all the benefits, why isn't distance education developing even more rapidly? There are barriers. Faculty resistance, cost of technology, lack of support for instructional design, faculty development, perceived differences in quality, faculty workload, reward and recognition - those are some of the current policy issues that need to be addressed to mainstream distance education on campus. Other issues are accreditation, intellectual property, and the impact of either statewide or national information infrastructures. Issues of access, costs, and common standards are things that need our attention.

What are the implications of distance education on the future? First, the largest percentage of professional degrees will be delivered at the work-site. In 1990, I would have predicted that by the year 2000, ten percent of Penn State's professional degrees would be delivered onsite. I will now revise that estimate to say one third of our professional degrees by the 2005 will be delivered on site. Second, undergraduates will do more work out of the classroom. I know all of us are anxious to see that happen, because we think they'll be in the library. But that library may be in their home or in their dorm room. Third, we are going to see a decline in the distinction between residential and distance learning. As we look at the university of tomorrow, we are talking about a network of resources, increasing interaction through the technology between students and faculty, reducing constraints of time, place and space, learning more outside the traditional classroom and the changing faculty roles and responsibilities.


Dillon, Connie L. & Walsh, Stephen M. 1992. "Faculty: The Neglected Resource in Distance Education." The American Journal of Distance Education, 6 (3), pp. 5-21.

Dirr, Peter, 1990. "Distance Education: Policy Considerations for the Year 2000." Contemporary Issues in American Distance Education. Michael G. Moor (Ed.). (Oxford, England: Pergamon Press), pp. 397-406.

Kascus, Marie A. 1995. Library Support for Quality in Distance Education: A Research Agenda. Invitational Research Conference in Distance Education: Towards Excellence in Distance Education: A Research Agenda, May 18-21, 1995, Penn State University. Discussion papers: 350-364.

Kascus, Marie A. 1994. "What Library Schools Teach About Library Support to Distant Students: A Survey." The American Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), pp. 20-35.

Olcott, Don, Hardy, Darcy Walsh, & Boaz, Mary H. Designing a University Distance Learning Infrastructure: An Application, Quality, Cost Comparison for Selecting Alternative Delivery Systems. Eighth Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, From Vision to Reality: Providing Cost-Effective Quality Distance Education. Madison, Wisconsin, August 5-7, 1992, pp. 113-120.

Thach, Liz & Murphy, Karen L. 1994. "Collaboration in Distance Education: From Local to International Perspectives." The American Journal of Distance Education, 8(3), pp. 5-21.


An Abstract by E. Fazokas - Hungarian Library & Information Science Abstracts,
Vol. 27. No.1, 1998, p.p. 10-11.

In today's libraries in Hungary a higher number of professional librarians are employed than needed, and many of them are in library assistant's positions. On the other hand, there is a shortage of librarians equipped with a complex and new kind of knowledge. Postgraduate education falls well behind the country's needs, and the focus is on information technology instead of a new attitude towards the challenges of the information society. A survey, started by five professionals, on the needs for national and regional professional training courses was a positive development. As to the professional press, after publishing curricula and theoretical disputes, the reports of those who had participated in foreign training courses also started appearing; these reports played a role in determining the optimum directions for further training. It is unfortunate that the training opportunities necessary for degrees like M.A. or Ph.D. only exist in Budapest, although such courses are also included in the plans of the Daniel berzsenyi College of Teachers' Training (Szombathely) and in those of the Lajos Kossuth of University of Debrecen (KLTE). Scholarly communities, with thematic teams and younger specialists, have not evolved yet in institutions of higher education. In the case of scientific and postgraduate training it would also be extremely important to expand the opportunities for studying abroad.

In recent years some favourable changes have occurred, e.g. librarians in continuing education are supported by foundations, the Association of Hungarian Librarians (MKE) invites applications for scholarships and grants to encourage scientific activity, the opportunities for foreign scholarships and fellowships (Such as the Fulbright Fellowship, or trips supported by the British Council) have been expanded, continuing education possibilities co-sponsored with foreign institutions (such as the TEMPUS seminars of the library school of Szombathely and its counterpart in Wales) as well as seminars and workshops organised by MKE and by other associations (for instance on library management are available).

In spite of this, the problems of training for public relations, library management and marketing are still unresolved. This training should become part of the basic programme and later be specialised by library types and library jobs. Although the Alliance of Libraries and Information Institutes, the National Szechenyi Library and other leading information organisations encouraged the propagation of foreign practices in management, these courses are still missing from the curricula of higher education. Unfortunately, self-instruction is not encouraged in the profession, and especially not honoured financially, although it would be possible. In need of adequate textbooks and readers it is a favourable development that four volumes of a review series on management ("Korszeru konyvta-rak, korseru modszerek" - Up-to-date libraries, up-to-date methods) were published in 1997.

Keeping all this in mind, the author sums up her recommendations in the following points:

  1. The opportunities for continuing and postgraduate education in librarianship should be broadened, both in Hungary and abroad.
  2. An international teleconference should be organised via the Internet in order to determine the optimum direction in library education.
  3. Professional expectations should be stated, curricular proposals should be elaborated for training in public relations and management/marketing.
  4. Flexible ways of training should be found, including distance education.
  5. Modular and credit-based postgraduate courses should be offered.
  6. Selected authors and consortia of authors should compile and write the related literature, to be used in training.
  7. The organisations for the safeguarding of professional interests should encourage workplaces to support (financially, too) continuing education and recognise the acquired knowledge.

Finally, an online database is needed to inform on the currently available courses and grants.


The ATLA Education Committee awarded four grants in January, ranging from $200 to $750 each. The recipients are as follows, together with brief descriptions of their grant proposals.

The Minnesota Theological Library Association plans a half-day workshop on "Metadata and the Dublin Core." The event is projected to draw up to thirty-five attendees, which, in the case of two institutions, will include some staff from a related library on campus. Among issues to be addressed in this workshop are the effects of the Dublin Core on access to Internet resources, and the implications of the Dublin Core for theological libraries.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association (SETLA plans two identical full-day workshops on "Book Repair for Circulating Collections." The workshop will include hands-on instruction and each day should draw twelve participants from member libraries. The proposed presenter is a conservator and hand bookbinder. In accord with SEPTLA's proposal, approximately half the cost is to be covered by the grant.

With its grant, the St. Louis Theological Consortium plans to meet at the Missouri Botanical Garden Library for a presentation about natural products and recycled materials in the construction of a building. The topic is timely for several Consortium members. The Monsanto Research Center, which houses the Garden's library and research collections, is renowned for the materials and methods involved in its recent construction.

The Tennessee Theological Library Association (TTLA) anticipates a three-party presentation by the head of Yale University's Preservation Department. The topic is "Digitization in Preservation," and will embrace definition, role, and application, with the focus resting on issues concerning digitization for the theological library. In accord with TTLA's proposal, the grant will cover a portion of the costs incurred.

The ATLA Education Committee hereby encourages other regional theological library associations and ad hoc groupings of ATLA member libraries to begin planning now toward submitting a grant application by December 1, 1999. The August 1998 ATLA Newsletter has more information on this relatively simple process.


Latest Revision: December 12, 1998 Copyright © 1995-2000
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions