May 21, 2022

New Ex Libris Commissioned Report: “Managing, Accessing, and Using Course Materials: Understanding the Challenges of Faculty and Students”

From Ex Libris:

The study was commissioned by Ex Libris and conducted by Alterline, an independent research agency.

The report presents findings from a survey of 103 faculty members and 257 students in the United States, in a range of disciplines.

Key findings of the study include the following:

  • Faculty members are bearing the administrative burden of managing course resources. Only 15% of faculty members reported that they receive help from a teaching assistant, instructional designer, or someone else in managing tasks related to course materials.
  • Academic libraries are underused by the faculty in the search for new course materials. Faculty members use web-search results, recommendations from peers, and other sources more frequently than the library to find new course materials.
  • Faculty members are using a diverse range of resources. Links to online resources and PDF files of books, book chapters, and articles are regularly used by faculty for their courses. However, resource lists still contain numerous references to physical books and textbooks, perhaps suggesting a lack of alternative online texts.
  • Measures of student engagement with course materials are lacking. Faculty members continue to use mostly traditional methods of monitoring student engagement, such as quizzes, tests, and the level of class participation, and tend to pay little attention to statistics on students’ use of course materials.
  • The move to online learning has created new pressure on the faculty to assist students in accessing course materials online. Key difficulties involve finding digital versions of physical resources, managing broken hyperlinks, and obtaining resources that are behind paywalls.
  • Faculty members are making an effort to reduce the cost of course materials. The report shows that 64% of faculty members have revised their choice of course resources because of cost. A substantial minority of faculty members (34%) went one step further, selecting only those course materials that are free for students.
  • Libraries have an opportunity to increase their involvement in teaching and learning by applying their expertise. Faculty members are primarily interested in obtaining the library’s support for the purchase, licensing, and digitization of course materials; the reduction of costs for students; and copyright clearance when necessary.

Direct to Full Text Report:

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.