Learning from Pharmacy Distance Learners by By Rae
Learning from Pharmacy Distance Learners
By Rae Jesano, MSLS, AHIP, Linda Butson, MLn, MPH, AHIP, Mary Edwards, MSLIS, Health Science Center Libraries, University of Florida
Use and Satisfaction
University of Floridas Health Science Center Libraries (UF HSCL) have surveyed distance learning
students in 2005 and 2007 to assess their use of services and resources and to solicit feedback.
Students were asked how they found out about library services, what services
they used and their satisfaction with the services. Likert Scales were used to
Pharmacy Programs Background Information
Pharmacy students enrolled in the traditional PharmD program and located at remote sites
The traditional PharmD program expanded to 3 remote sites in Florida in Fall 2002,
Jacksonville, Apopka (Orlando) and Seminole in addition to those at the main campus in
Gainesville. There are approximately 150 students in each class in Gainesville and 50 per
class at each site. There is an orientation to library services integrated into one of their first
How Students Learned About Library Services
Students in the Working Pharmacist PharmD (WPPD) Program, which includes around 650
throughout the US and other countries.
The WPPD program, which began in 1994 for pharmacists with BS degrees, is a blended
program combining online course materials with regional meetings. Many of these students are
older, and some speak English as a second language.
In 2005 the UF HSC Libraries administered a survey to the distance learning students in programs
served by the UF HSC Library to identify the needs of our off campus/ distance learning students. In
Fall 2007 the survey, with minor changes, was repeated. In both years, the online survey was
constructed using SurveyMonkey.com. Distance Learning program directors assisted the library in
the distribution to students.
The questionnaire consisted of demographic, Likert scales and open ended questions regarding
student awareness of, use of, and satisfaction with library services. The data is being presented as
Changes in this chart may reflect changes in the change in the ratio of
WPPD students to the remote site students mentioned previously.
They may also reflect changes made in 2007 to the course where the
Librarys resources are introduced to the traditional PharmD students,
including those at the remote sites.
Use of Library Services by Distance Pharmacy
Student Comments & Suggestions
Major concerns were:
Electronic access to more resources, journal articles and books
Easier access to electronic resources & full text articles
Access to the same materials that are available on campus ( UpToDate)
Refresher tutorials and library training for WPPD students
The Foundations course was relatively new at this point and many students further
on in the program started before it was offered
Google type search or ability to perform a meta or cross search of databases
Interlibrary Loan/ Document Delivery
Free document delivery of items at library in Gainesville
Additional logins and passwords for some resources (MDConsult)
Access after graduation
Equitable access to resources is a major issue with remote site students
Want a site visit by the librarian ( remote site students)
Want pharmacy resources that are available in print at Gainesville available either
electronically or in print at remote sites
No charge for document delivery for items only in print format
More concurrent users for databases
More references or books available electronically
Easier to read instructions on website
Navigation to full text is too complicated
Want chat service or 1-800 number or 24/7 help
Website and resources are hard to navigate and use
Navigation in EZProxy including a way to get back in without having to relog in
Students want more help, easier navigation, more electronic resources and more equity with
what is available on campus. Both years there were comments about having to pay to get
copies of articles that are only available in print in Gainesville.
The largest percentages of answers for Chat Reference, Email
Reference, Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery was either
answered by respondents as non-applicable or neutral for both
years. EBooks did not exist as a separate resource in 2005 and
the catalog was not included in the 2007 survey.
Outcomes, Conclusions and Future Plans
As a result of the survey and other comments we are planning some changes in how we work with
both programs. We have met with a COP faculty member who is responsible for the educational
quality of its programs and have passed on the summary results of the 2007 survey. The Liaison
Librarian will continue to work with the faculty on improving services to the distance education
students in the COP. Some of the comments about lack of services, that do exist, or knowledge of
services demonstrates the need to reinforce the information in the tutorials through additional means.
Distance Learning Portal Page
UF Libraries Catalog
Online Class Handouts
Document Delivery Service
Chat Reference Service
Distance Learning Program Resource Page
Email Reference Question
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Service
EBooks did not exist as a separate service in 2005
Initiate plans for a visit by the Liaison Librarian to the two remote sites in Florida that do not
have a library on-site.
Inform students on changes in Document Delivery services
o Working on creating a direct link in PubMed to request articles not available
Create Libguides (subject specific guides or pathfinders) for each program and request the
Pharmacy faculty to link them to their course sites in the E-Learning System for easy access by
o Direct link to library services and news on each course site
o RSS feeds to news about the library
o Direct links to general help sheets on Help & Tutorials pages and created for program specific
o Direct link to updated tutorials
Purchase more basic pharmacy books and journals in electronic format rather than in print
Switching MDConsult to a site license which will eradicate the need for the separate login
Stress downloading and using the VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access the Librarys
resources from home
New catalog interface with icons denoting online resources making them easier to recognize
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