University of Tasmania

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Lessons learned from librarian support in a pandemic: identifying how online discussion boards may augment digital connections

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 20:06 authored by Tracy DouglasTracy Douglas, Carey MatherCarey Mather, Allison JamesAllison James, Earwaker, L, Sandra MurraySandra Murray
The rapid transition from face‐to‐face tutorials to fully remote digital content delivery in response to the COVID‐19 pandemic has presented challenges and opportunities for student engagement and high‐quality learning and teaching experiences. Google Analytics data identified a 265% increase in access and use (number of sessions recorded) of the online Guide to Discussion Boards (Douglas et al., 2017); indicating increased digital tool use. A sub‐set of Google Analytics data collected from March to August in 2019 and 2020 for the Guide, indicated 483 users in 2019 compared to 1134 users in 2020, and 88% of users in 2020 were identified as new users of the Guide. Concurrently, reflections by educators involved in updating the Guide found the demand for library research assistance increased and diversified during the pandemic. Rapid improvements in facilitation technology, such as Zoom, enabled students to meet librarians anywhere, anytime. A surge in requests for increased online support including synchronous presentations, recordings, and follow‐up drop‐ins was noted, and asynchronous discussions embedded within units increased in use. Small group face‐to‐face workshops became webinars attended by 100 or more students and a greater expectation for 1:1 student support was observed. In response to the identified need regarding librarian support and their involvement in specific unit discussion boards, a new chapter in the Guide will be developed. A section on partnerships with librarians is a logical step to support digital communication in online learning and teaching.



School of Health Sciences


University of Tasmania

Place of publication


Event title

Teaching Matters 2020: Learning in 2021

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Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Expanding knowledge in education