Improving Online Library Experiences: A Demo of the New University of Phoenix Library and Discussion of Best Practices

Group Affiliation: 
- Private group -
Extended Abstract: 

The University of Phoenix (UOPX) is undergoing a transition that utilizes a third party, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products to replace existing, in-house developed systems.  After examining the process of updating the current library system and evaluating the possibility of other off the shelf products, LibGuides CMS was selected to replace the existing in-house built library website.  LibGuides CMS has many features that had the potential to update the library site.  The LibGuides CMS was originally designed for librarians to use to create online research guides to replace paper “pathfinders” without the need to write HTML.  A traditional pathfinder is a bibliography designed to assist the user with basic research on a particular topic. With LibGuides, the library can move beyond the traditional pathfinder by embedding search widgets, video tutorials, and other technology content not possible with a paper handout.  The innovative features of the LibGuides CMS enable the University Library team to better support online learners than they had been able to do with the earlier system.

LibGuides CMS (Content Management System) is an expansion of the original LibGuides product. It has added functionality that makes it easier for libraries to use the product to run an entire library website in addition to creating research guides.  The updates to the guides include the ability to provide real-time updates and a “one location” update to change multiple content area guides. It also includes the capacity to password protect individual guides and to place individual guides or groups of guides behind the university firewall or proxy server.  The product enables libraries to use LibGuides to create internal process documents and to create assignment specific guides that are only accessible to current students.  Content can be placed at the point of need supporting online students who may be trying to find assistance with research. 

This presentation will demonstrate the new University Library website created using LibGuides CMS and discuss how this site can support online learners.  We will explain the development process the library went through in creating the site, including customizations made following usability tests and additional changes made to meet accessibility standards. We will discuss the learning theories that were used in the creation of assets that are housed on the LibGuides pages.  Special focus will be paid to the “Research Guides” portion of the site which includes guides focused on research for specific topics and a group of “How do I…?” guides that provide strategies and/or step-by-step instructions for activities that students frequently struggle with such as how to find specific publications and strategies for how to develop a search strategy. 

Throughout the demonstration, best practices for online learning and student engagement with the online guides will be discussed.  We will also explore how LibGuides resources can be used for instruction beyond information literacy education.  We will encourage session audience members to ask questions and to contribute to the discussion around the innovative strategies implemented by university libraries to support online student learning. 

Conference Session: 
Concurrent Session 7
Session Type: 
Education Session - Panel Discussion


Online Learning Consortium
Laura Brewer
Karen Grondin
Holly Rick
Presentation Date: 
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Event or Conference: 
OLC Accelerate
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Location: 
Orlando, FL
United States
The University of Phoenix Library will demonstrate their newly redesigned website created using LibGuides CMS. We will discuss how the Library website supports online learning with a focus on a group of “How do I…?” guides designed to assist with particular library related tasks such as developing a search strategy.