Scholarly Learning Commons

Scholarly Learning Commons

Jin Chen (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China), Xiaoyuan Lan (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China), Qinling Huang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China), Jue Dong (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China) and Chen Chen (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0550-1.ch006


First, this chapter analyzes the theoretical research on the effects of Scholarly Learning Commons (SLC) in China from the perspectives of concept, instance analysis, and ideas for construction. The results can be summarized in the following three stages of SLC development in China: preliminarily integrated stage, double fusion stage, and highly integrated stage. With this structure and the concept of being “user-centered,” this chapter concludes that Chinese academic libraries mainly adopt two methods of building an SLC: independent construction by libraries, and joint construction with other units of the university. Finally, this chapter demonstrates construction strategies, elements, and service in SLCs, and it shows five typical cases of SLC construction in Chinese academic libraries.
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Originating in European and American academic libraries, a commons is a user-centered service model which aims to provide a one-stop collaborative learning and research environment. Following the construction of the Information Arcade at the University of Iowa Libraries in 1992, China introduced the Information Commons (IC) (Ren & Sheng, 2008), which aims to cultivate information literacy and promote learning, communication, collaboration, and research (Xu, 2010).The Information Commons continued to develop into other models, such as Knowledge Commons (KC), Scholarly Commons (SC), Academic Commons (AC) (W. Wang& P. Wang, 2011), Learning Commons (LC), and Research Commons (RC), among others (Ren & Sheng, 2008).

The development and prevalence of all forms of commons owes to the popularity of constructivism in teaching and learning in higher education, and the rapid development of information technology in the 21st century (Ruan, 2013). Constructivism, put forward by Piaget, Kernberg, Sternberg, Katz, Vogotsgy, et al., emphasizes that knowledge does not objectively exist; instead, it is obtained in certain circumstances with help, by using necessary learning materials and meaning construction (Ren & Sheng, 2008). Scholars in China introduced constructivism to their own country and apply it in the educational field; they study the principles, procedures, and content of the teaching design, and the innovation of traditional teaching methods under the environment of constructivism (He, 1997a, 1997b, 1998). In this way, they aim to transform higher education teaching modes in China from a teacher-centered knowledge instruction model to a student-centered knowledge construction model. At the same time, with the thorough integration of information technology in higher education, great changes are taking place in the information acquisition and learning methods of library users, in addition to the evolution of their library service needs. Academic libraries in China have adapted to these changes by introducing the theory of the commons in the 21st century. These libraries actively change service mechanisms and functions, build commons, and develop and innovate the commons in practice, so as to satisfy diversified user demands of library resources and services and offer strong support for teaching, scientific research, and talent cultivation.

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