Embedded librarianship and Blackboard usage to manage knowledge and support blended learning at a South African university of technology
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate how Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Libraries can contribute to knowledge management processes using the Learning Management System, Blackboard, by embedding the librarian in the learning environment to support blended learning. Structured interviews were conducted at CPUT with eight lecturers involved in the Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) in Faculty A and with one Faculty A librarian. One of the main findings indicated that lecturers use various teaching methods to support ECP students. Knowledge sharing between lecturers and the librarian mainly takes place during meetings and via email, but not via Blackboard. Training on Blackboard and current awareness of features such as Blackboard Collaborate are needed. Departments within Faculty A considered working together with the faculty librarian to support ECP students essential; they found it beneficial, important and very useful. Departments perceived Blackboard as a communication platform as well as a useful teaching tool. Both positive and negative experiences were shared about the use of Blackboard in the ECP. Although lecturers and the librarian thought that Blackboard improved student learning, both were aware of other means of reaching the students online such as Facebook or Google. Overall, there is a good working relationship between lecturers and the librarian with regard to supporting ECP students. It is therefore important that parties seeking collaboration should create an appropriate platform for interaction. One of the limitations of the study is that it excludes the student experience of using the online learning environment at CPUT. The study could inform CPUT Libraries and the university community regarding improving knowledge management practices.
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