Syllabus Streamline: A Course Materials Access and Affordability Initiative – OHIO University Libraries

OHIO University Libraries are launching a new effort to maximize student access to assigned course materials.  Instructors are encouraged to send their syllabi or course readings lists to their subject librarian or regional campus librarian, who will work with library staff to locate library versions such as ejournal articles, media, ebooks, and print books, and make them easily available to students at no cost.  We can put tangible items on reserve, provide scans of book chapters, and provide reliable permalinks to electronic content for use in a course syllabus or shell.

This ensures convenient and reliable access with the lowest possible cost to students while maintaining copyright compliance.

Benefits for students:

  • No-cost electronic options whenever available
  • Links are accessible from on- and off-campus with only the OHIO ID
  • Library print copies (if available) are accessible to everyone in the class through course reserve

Benefits for instructors:

  • Maximizes access to your current course materials
  • Copyright compliant
  • Library staff do the work to find the stable links, get materials on reserve, make it available in your Blackboard shell, etc.

Benefits for librarians:

  • Improves librarians’ understanding of curriculum which leads to more relevant collection purchases and more applicable library instruction
  • Promotes communication, partnership, and collaboration between faculty and librarians
  • Improves accuracy of library usage data

Why should I care about course materials access and affordability?

Making sure your students have reliable and no-cost access to their course materials can improve student learning.  Research shows that because of a variety of concerns related to costs, students often don’t have access to required course materials at the beginning of the semester or when it would be most beneficial to their learning*.  This initiative leverages librarians’ expertise and library content to ensure that your reading lists are as accessible and reliable as possible.

Does this mean the Libraries will purchase all my required readings or textbooks?

No.  This initiative reviews your course materials requirements and looks for matches in the more than 3 million items already owned or licensed by the Libraries.  We then make sure you have stable, copyright-compliant permalinks to electronic content and/or our books and DVDs are accessible through course reserves for all of your students.

Will my librarian be suggesting alternatives to my required readings?

No.  This initiative is about making sure your students have the cheapest and most reliable access to the course materials you have already selected.  If those materials have already been purchased by the libraries, then we want to make sure students can access them.  However, feel free to contact your subject librarian or regional campus librarian, if you are interested in locating alternative course materials.

What do you mean by “copyright compliant?”  I already have my readings in Blackboard, linked in my syllabus, or posted on my web page. How can this help? 

If you are providing links to electronic library content, we can make sure you have stable permalinks that allow access from on- and off- campus.  Best practices for copyright compliant use of library-licensed electronic content are to use links to the content, not post full text materials.  The license agreements for electronic content almost always explicitly allow links to electronic content.  Additionally, using the permalinks allows us to gather more accurate data about the use of purchased library materials.

When should I send my syllabus or readings list to my librarian?

As soon as you can.  Lists will be reviewed on a first-come basis.  Lists received after December 13 may not be complete by the start of Spring semester.

How long will it take to review my reading list?

It depends on the length of your lists, the timing of your submission, and the type of response you request.  If you submit before December 13, we will do our best to complete the review by Jan. 10.

What type of response will I receive?

Whatever makes the most sense for you and your course – we can simply reply by email, update a Word document, or create reading lists inside Blackboard and show you how to manage them.

How do I submit?

Send an email to your subject librarian or regional campus librarian, and attach your syllabus or course readings list.  Let us know if you have any preferences for how you would like us to reply.

 

*Florida Virtual Campus, 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey.