A comment on my previous blog post http://teachingandlearning.org.za/the-history-of-online-learning/ triggered me to respond to it in the form of a blog post. The question that was asked was “What do you think the impact of online learning is on libraries?” A simple comment response would not do the topic any justice.
I see myself opting to obtain information on the internet as opposed to the library. Physical resources are heavy to carry and some are not permitted to leave the libraries due to shortages or some other reason. As a student I did not like the temperature in the library and this added to reasons why I avoided going to the campus library. The shortage of space was another thing that made me to conduct my research using technology.
So, to answer your question…
I think online learning is by far the best thing to ever happen to me. As alluded previously, it enabled me to complete my studies using my blackberry. I googled content pages of the relevant books to spot chapters that addressed the topics I needed and googled the pages, from there indicate the source and I was done! No carrying heavy books around. I did this from the comfort of my own space and received no phone calls from the library to request me to return the book as this tends to happen when a book is in demand. I was however questioned of my dependency on online resources in my post-grad, to my surprise the same resources that were questioned came from the author of the book we used in class, the difference was how I acquired the information. My generation and the one that comes after it is constantly on the move, and we are impatient with standing in queues and being told to wait so technology couldn’t have been reinvented at a perfect time for us. We have the latest technological devices from which we save everything electronically; I just saved my dissertation as well as the sources I am consulting on my phone and iPad to access them whenever inspiration is sparked. My personal view is therefore; I see the physical libraries slowly raising their hands to bid us farewell in a couple of years. The librarians have to introduce new services they can offer in the libraries other than being a place where books are kept and circulated. I was on Google yesterday and I read a note of thanks where Google was thanking the owner(s) of a book for allowing them to digitalise it, we are unable to download such books of course but at a fee we can acquire digitalised books. I would rather have all my written/ reading material digitally than fill up my space with papers/ books gathering dust.