McDermott Library Launches New Course Reserves System That Enhances Teaching and Learning at UT Dallas
The Eugene McDermott Library launched a new online Course Reserves management tool this semester that makes creating, accessing and managing course resource lists much easier and more efficient.
The new system, Ex Libris Leganto (aka Library Course Reserves), now available to UT Dallas students and faculty, integrates directly into the University’s eLearning management system, Blackboard, as well as the library’s operations platform. The software utilizes modern web design, is more mobile friendly and can be accessed from any device and customized for better accessibility, such as increasing font size and contrast.
Using Library Course Reserves, instructors can assemble materials of all types – physical books, online or digitized books chapters, scholarly articles, videos, newspaper articles or websites – to create a comprehensive course resource list to share with their students.
“Ultimately, the best resource list management system provides students with the best materials for their courses with an easy-to-use interface. We believe that this is the perfect tool to help manage that,” said Debbie Montgomery, Associate Library Director for Technical Services and Assessment. “It reduces barriers for students and instructors by providing access to materials for courses, both physical and eReserves, in one place. It also makes it easier for the instructors to make better use of our collections.”
“We’re hoping this system will spark more faculty involvement in reading list creation, and rather than requiring expensive textbooks or course packs, instructors can use a compilation of research from books, journals and articles, most of which can be found right here in the library,” Montgomery said.
More user friendly than Docutek ERes (the electronic reserves system it replaces), Library Course Reserves can be used on all devices – computers, mobile devices and tablets. The new software also handles copyright clearance, relieving instructors from that duty, and allows instructors to incorporate citations directly from a database into a reading list and communicate online with students.
The new Library Course Reserves went live beginning with the 2020 Spring Semester, but the library has been creating the course content and reading lists through faculty requests. Beginning in Fall 2020, faculty will be able to create and add their own content to their courses in eLearning or can continue to have the library create their course reserves.
“Before the switch, Reserves was more of a manual process. For electronic resources, professors would send me an email and tell me what they’d like to reserve for their courses, and I would search for every citation and either scan it or link to it and then let the professor know when it was ready – and this is every semester” said Brooke Johnson, McDermott Library’s Course Reserves Coordinator. “Now everything is in one place and professors can create their own reading list within a Blackboard course site and can engage more with their students,” Johnson said. “They can communicate with students by making notes for their students and say things like, ‘This one’s due at this time,’ or ‘Watch this movie, but pay special attention to Act 3, Scene 5.’ And students can write back and say things like, ‘This one’s really confusing. Can you help?’ “
Instructors can also use the built-in analytics and reports to see what students actually are and are not reading. “This information can be used to determine the most helpful resources for their courses and also help professors in their course planning for future semesters,” Johnson said.
“Leganto is much more dynamic and interactive and has so many benefits I think faculty and students will really like. Since students are already in eLearning, it makes it so much easier for them to access materials without leaving their course homepage,” Johnson added.
The software also helps save instructors time and effort, says Johnson, because it reduces the need to rebuild courses lists each semester. Faculty can see what they have used in the past and either duplicate it or replace it with another resource.
Using the new Library Course Reserves software to manage course resource lists helps the library play a key role in advancing one of the University’s key aims – improving the student experience, Montgomery said. It will also help form a stronger bond between the library and instructors because instructors will have a better mechanism to discover what the library can provide and how easy it is to populate course materials in Blackboard.
Below are a few comments from UT Dallas professors who are currently using Leganto.
“The new system seems amazing – very easy for students to access from within eLearning and I like that there is not a password of a website to circulate.”
“I was very nervous about the new system at first, but the students report everything is fine, and I had no problems going into eLearning and following the prompts to set things off … I’m a happy customer!”
If you have any questions about Library Course Reserves, please contact Johnson at [email protected] or 972-883-2587.