In 2020 major changes took place at Canadian colleges and universities in response to the pandemic, one of these being a shift toward offering all courses online. Before the pandemic, many higher education institutions were already on a clear trajectory to offer more online learning. According to a public report, by 2018, 80% of colleges and 90% of Canadian universities offered distance education, and 98% offered online courses. Changes to online learning have required changes for the roles of academic librarians – not the least of which are new pedagogies for online and open learning.
This paper describes findings from a survey of Canadian academic librarians capturing the realities of their online roles, including the pedagogical knowledge and technology skills required. Research findings indicate that academic librarians have varied online learning roles, working across a range of online learning environments and teaching with technology, which requires significant technology and pedagogy competencies. This research has led to the development of a competency framework for academic librarians which indicates that librarians needed blended skills to teach on a continuum from physically co-present to fully online environments. This research identifies key pedagogical and instructional design skills needed as online learning alternatives in post-secondary institutions expand.