Graham Bulpitt
From Real to Virtual Learning Environments: Libraries and eLearning

Digital information services are increasingly the medium of choice for students and this paper will consider the implications for the design of real space - and for the creation and support of virtual environments.

Although there has been a preoccupation with the post-1980 'Google' generation of students, it is clear that the expectations of all students are changing. Indeed, given the age profile of staff, it is likely that there will be shifts in the expectations of colleagues too. The paper will suggest how librarians can contribute to universities meeting these challenges.

The move from traditional libraries to new kinds of spaces, such as learning centres, will be illustrated by examples of recent projects. The design of integrated space reflects the trend to 'converge' libraries with other services, typically computing and multimedia. More recently, libraries in some UK institutions have been linked to a very wide range of provision which is managed together. The presentation will consider the opportunities that this brings to the development of services as well as to the management of space.

Virtual working space offers major opportunities for universities to work differently with their students and their staff. The paper will draw out some key trends which will influence the design of virtual environments and the work of librarians and other colleagues who work with students. The paper will conclude by proposing an agenda for action for the future.

Bielefeld University Library - last update: 13/11/2008