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Objective – To investigate whether there are any demographic trends affecting student engagement with online library instruction which might have implications for practice, the authors designed a case study to examine the relationship between student demographic characteristics and engagement with online library instruction modules in English 102 courses at a single university.

Methods – The authors recruited 181 students from English 102 (ENG 102), a research-based composition course, to participate in the study. ENG 102 instructors asked all participants to complete an online library instruction module embedded in the university’s course management system, either before in-person library instruction or in lieu of face-to-face library instruction. No external incentive was provided for online module completion. The research team measured levels of student engagement by recording the amount of time students spent on each page of the online module. In collaboration with the Office of Institutional Research, the authors then pulled demographic data on each participant using the university’s student information system. Pearson chi-square tests were performed to determine whether there were any notable associations between levels of student engagement and student age, grade point average, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Results – Observable trends tied age and higher grade point average to higher levels of engagement with online instruction. There was additionally a slight trend linking female participants to higher levels of engagement than their male peers. In the category of race/ethnicity, the two largest subgroups, Hispanic and Caucasian students, exhibited similar levels of engagement.

Conclusions – The authors conclude that there may be demographic implications for practice in designing online library instruction programs, especially when considering student age and academic performance indicators. They also conclude that, owing to this case study’s limited sample size, further study is warranted to investigate these conclusions, and to further examine the possible impact of gender and race/ethnicity on engagement with online library instruction modules.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

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