“The Library”: Surrounding Students with a Wealth of Information

(This post is part of a series on online learning communities called “The Connected Class Community”). The purpose of these posts is to explore the vital components of an online learning community using abstract, timeless qualities. 

A panorama of a research room taken at the New...

For most of human history, information was stored in books, copied by hand, guarded by a tiny few literate scholars, and inaccessible for those who could not afford the time or expense of formal education. Before the written word, important facts were memorized as poems, songs, and parables, and those who had mastered these arts were considered to have almost magical powers.

Our education system grew up in this world of scarce information– and it adapted to information scarcity by teaching us to memorize facts, read canonical literature, and master skills in school that we would likely need in later life.

We are living through the first time in human history where information is no longer a scarce commodity. The Internet has made it possible to call forth almost any information instantly– and it has changed us from a state of information scarcity to attention scarcity. Now more than ever, instructors need to teach students how to access the vast ocean of data in efficient, structured, and flexible ways. They also need to act like curators of a great library, continuously organizing this overwhelming ocean of data into sequenced, coherent, stimulating journeys.



The Library in a Connected Class Community is a shorthand way of saying “An easily accessed wealth of rich, relevant materials curated to support learning”. It represents the trusted, existing knowledge that class stakeholders preserve and share to make sure they are working with accurate, relevant data.

This can include

  • Carefully chosen textbooks and source documents
  • Instructor-created guides, tutorials, and lectures
  • Shared bookmarks of relevant sites with curated comments
  • An FAQ/Knowledge Base where community members can benefit from previous questions and answers



  • LMS or Blog Page with embedded items or GDocs folder
    • PDF of exemplary source materials
    • Presentations and Tutorials
    • collaborative docs
  • Links to course reserve materials
  • Embedded video, audio, and flash in context
  • Knowledge base wiki
  • Shared/Annotated bookmarks
  • When in doubt, give learners “firehose” access to high quality information
    • I had a Google Notebook for each course
      • Clipped & explained relevant sites as I researched.
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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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1 Response

  1. April 11, 2011

    […] The Library– An easily accessed wealth of rich, relevant materials curated to support learning. […]


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