The goal of many technological advancements in the education sector has been to increase student access to university resources. Academic institutions are finding new ways to engage their student body and offer services with more convenience and functionality than ever before. Although most of the work being done in the education field has focused on improving and sometimes radically altering the classroom experience, one Colorado college recently invested in a vital if sometimes overlooked aspect of student life: research.
Regardless of their chosen major or concentration, students across all departments will find themselves in need of the campus library's services multiple times throughout their college career. Among the massive volume of texts in a college library, the process of finding a desired research source can be arduous, especially given modern students' unfamiliarity with outdated cataloguing systems. New advancements in technology can greatly facilitate this process.
Increasing student access to library resources
Administrators from the Community College of Aurora had been wrestling with their library services in recent years. Of the institutions' two sites, the Lowry campus lacked a centralized library where students could access the college's collection of texts and research materials. Knowing how important the availability of research resources was to students' success, school officials had placed a premium on improving their library services but lacked the funding to execute a full-scale upgrade. They found their potential solution in the guise of kiosks connected to the library database. Equipped with touchscreen technology, the initial devices will allow students to explore the college's collection of texts and receive assistance with their research projects via 24-hour chat functions.
Testing the program for a wider release
The first stage of the program includes the installation of four kiosks across the campus. Initially, access will be aimed at career and technical education resources because grant funding is limited to those projects. Administrators plan to review the performance of the new system and, if it is shown to improve student access to research materials, expand the service across the college's campuses. Officials from the institution are optimistic the program will enhance the student experience and make the research process less burdensome.
"My expectation is that we'll increase student retention and completion by having the support resources that they need on that campus to help them with their research projects," Director of Library Services Megan Kinney said.
With more resources migrating to electronic storage formats, are universities doing enough to enhance their availability? What other improvements can be made to college library services? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!