Support for Distance Learning Classes

An increasing number of faculty offer distance learning courses through the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) or the World Wide Web. Library support for such courses is available to provide students with resources adequate for completion of course requirements. UNI students are able to search both UNISTAR and licensed library databases from their homes or offices. Some information is available full-text through library databases and can be directly accessed and printed by students free of charge.  For information that is not available full-text via library databases, distance learners can receive extra document delivery services. Rod Library will supply photocopies of articles as well as books from our collections. In-house articles are photocopied, scanned, and sent to the requestor’s email account. UNI distance learners may also obtain articles not owned by Rod Library through interlibrary loan. For interlibrary loan services, distance students should go through the library’s distance learning services to ensure that requested articles are sent to the student. Rod Library complies with federal U.S. Copyright Law when photocopying or obtaining articles for students. The full spectrum of reference assistance is available to distance learners.  A toll-free number makes it easier for students to access the library without incurring heavy costs.  Reference librarians can address research needs by helping students access library resources and develop search strategies. Library instruction by reference librarians is available upon request over the Iowa Communications Network (ICN).

At the beginning of each semester, students newly enrolled in distance learning courses offered through the Division of Continuing Education and Special Programs are sent a brochure outlining distance library services. Faculty teaching such courses are given the same brochure. Faculty who have questions can contact Rod Library’s coordinator for distance learning services, Ellen Neuhaus.

There are a couple of items to keep in mind about the use of library resources by distance learners. The first is that it may take a little more time than usual for students to obtain books and videos because materials are sent through the mail. In-house articles are no longer sent through the mail but are now scanned and sent to the requestor’s email account enabling a quicker delivery. The second is that Rod Library and the Division of Continuing Education and Special Programs subsidize the provision of library support to distance learners but such students are required to pay for some of the costs themselves. These costs are primarily for copying paper or microforms materials and for the return postage and insurance for materials borrowed from the library.

For more information visit the Distance Learners web page at:

Contact Information:
Ellen Neuhaus
Email: ellen.neuhaus@uni.ed