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Flexible learning: Reflecting on a decade of library and information studies programmes at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Jan Irvine (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Lower Hutt, New Zealand)
Amanda Cossham (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Lower Hutt, New Zealand)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 6 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the changes in undergraduate library and information studies education in New Zealand over the past decade. It considers developments in the delivery of distance education, focusing on e‐learning (or flexible learning) modes, and changes to the curriculum due to the changing nature and requirements of the profession.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a case study of the Open Polytechnic, the main provider of undergraduate LIS programmes in New Zealand. It compares the current situation to that of 1999 when the programmes were established, and analyses developments in the delivery of distance education and the changing nature and requirements of the profession.

Findings

The changing nature of the LIS profession, and in particular developments in information and communications technologies, as well as the possibilities offered by e‐learning paradigms have led to significant changes in the curriculum, especially in the delivery of courses. There is a tension between delivering a sound academically coherent curriculum that meets all the changing needs of the profession: core theory, knowledge and skills remain, while new technologies, services, formats and tools are demanding equal time in the curriculum.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is of interest to researchers involved in distance education or curriculum design in LIS.

Practical implications

The paper considers the evolution of distance learning courses for the library community and is of interest to the wider LIS sector.

Originality/value

The case study presents a picture of New Zealand LIS undergraduate education and shows how programmes are changing in response to educational developments and the profession's requirements.

Keywords

Citation

Irvine, J. and Cossham, A. (2011), "Flexible learning: Reflecting on a decade of library and information studies programmes at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand", Library Review, Vol. 60 No. 8, pp. 712-722. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242531111166728

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited