Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the changes in undergraduate library and information studies education in New Zealand over the past decade. It considers developments in the delivery of distance education, focusing on e‐learning (or flexible learning) modes, and changes to the curriculum due to the changing nature and requirements of the profession. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a case study of the Open Polytechnic, the main provider of undergraduate LIS programmes in New Zealand. It compares the current situation to that of 1999 when the programmes were established, and analyses developments in the delivery of distance education and the changing nature and requirements of the profession. Findings – The changing nature of the LIS profession, and in particular developments in information and communications technologies, as well as the possibilities offered by e‐learning paradigms have led to significant changes in the curriculum, especially in the delivery of courses. There is a tension between delivering a sound academically coherent curriculum that meets all the changing needs of the profession: core theory, knowledge and skills remain, while new technologies, services, formats and tools are demanding equal time in the curriculum. Research limitations/implications – The paper is of interest to researchers involved in distance education or curriculum design in LIS. Practical implications – The paper considers the evolution of distance learning courses for the library community and is of interest to the wider LIS sector. Originality/value – The case study presents a picture of New Zealand LIS undergraduate education and shows how programmes are changing in response to educational developments and the profession's requirements.
Library Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 6, 2011
Keywords: Higher education; New Zealand; E‐learning; Library studies; Curriculum development