NetLinkS: Collaborative Professional Development for Networked Learner Support
as of 12th May 1997
IntroductionThe NetLinkS project is based in the Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield. The project was funded initially for one year, from September 1995, and has since received funding for a further phase until May 1998.
The project has adopted the term networked learner support (NLS) to refer to the use of networked communication and information technologies to deliver training and other forms of help to users of networked information resources. This new practice is being developed by many librarians involved in user education, information skills training and reference/enquiry work, to meet the needs of on- and off-campus students, and to support newer, increasingly networked modes of learning. NLS can be seen as complementary to traditional approaches to enquiry services and user education/training, requiring expertise in on-line teaching/support methods and in managing change and innovation in addition to a wide range of information and IT skills. The effectiveness of initiatives in using on-line methods of delivering learner support often depends upon new collaborative relationships between information, IT and academic staff, as well as other "stakeholders" in the development of institutions' networked learning environments.
NetLinkS aims to encourage further development of NLS by monitoring its potential across the UK higher education community and within individual institutions, and by providing awareness-raising and professional development activities/resources for the staff involved. In its first year, the project focused on establishing a picture of current UK and international practice in NLS, and on identifying key issues and directions for its future development. Key development needs for implementation of NLS within a diverse range of institutions were identified, and in its current phase the project co-ordinates activities and resource-provision on NLS for a wide audience. In particular, NetLinkS aims to continue awareness-raising about the potential of NLS within the local and national frameworks and about the issues surrounding its development, to explore strategies for stimulating organisational change, and to respond to the identified need for increased expertise in on-line communication and teaching/support methods amongst the staff involved.
DescriptionThe project has the following main strands:
The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded
by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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