Mississippi public community and junior college distance education students' perceptions of library support services

Pamela Ann Kindja Ladner

Abstract

Mississippi public community and junior colleges became involved in distance learning in the late 1970s, when it coordinated telecourses offered through Mississippi Educational Television. In 1994, public community and junior colleges utilized compressed video conferencing facilities to provide courses in conjunction with the Mississippi Community College Network, a statewide effort that involved all public community/junior colleges. Mississippi public community and junior colleges recognized that Internet-based instruction help great potential for providing enhanced access to college-level classes for students. In the late 1900s, Mississippi public community and junior colleges explored asynchronous, online instruction when they offered a few hybrid Internet classes prior to the development of the Mississippi Virtual Community College concept. In Spring 2000, public community and junior colleges offered Internet-based classes as a participant in the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC) consortium. The students' enthusiasm for this type of instruction was evidenced by the growth of Internet-based distance learning. Over the past several years the use of Internet technologies has grown to serve students both on and off campus. While institutions previously neglected student services in their rush to develop and deliver instruction online, they began to pay attention to the need to provide services, as well as courses and programs, in this form. Colleges and universities recognized the need to develop web-based anywhere, anytime, access to traditional student services, but they needed help in envisioning what services to provide and how to design them. The study sough to determine the quality of library support services offered to distance education students. The instrument sought to discern quality and integrity issues associated with traditional online learning. The results indicated that librarians are meeting the needs of the distance learner to a certain extent, but there is definite room for improvement. The information gathered from this research provided state librarians with needed statistics in order to make meaningful changes and/or additions to the library support services offered to the students.