MOOCs - Massive Online Open Courses
MOOCS are widely discussed in the academic world. Recognising the potential in the context key issues like digital inclusion (MOOCS are open to anyone-no formal qualification are required -and they are free), some (US at the moment) public libraries are beginning to realise and act open the opportunity too ( eg see article cited below
Massive Open Opportunity: Supporting MOOCs in Public and Academic Libraries.)
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) is “currently working in partnership on a number of initiatives which use or promote technology. These include exploration of a partnership role for public libraries in the delivery of MOOCs massive open online learning courses)”
(this information is taken from theFuturelearn website
“MOOCs (or Massive Open Online Courses) have become increasingly popular since they first emerged in 2008. Free and easily accessible online MOOCs offer large numbers of students the opportunity to study high quality courses with prestigious universities. Whilst MOOCs don’t always lead to formal qualifications, they allow students to gain invaluable knowledge to support their careers, or their own personal learning goals. There are no entry requirements and students can take part in the courses regardless of where they live in the world or their financial circumstances.Because they are online, MOOCs are highly scalable and thousands of students can take part in any one course. MOOCs offer large numbers of students the opportunity to study high quality courses with prestigious universities.
MOOCs are a direct response to the digital, networked world where people have access to huge amounts of information online and where they form virtual communities with people who share their interests. MOOCs use these networks to enable students to connect share and collaborate with virtual ‘classmates’ across geographical and cultural boundaries.
So far, the US has been the main hub for MOOCs, with a variety of universities contributing courses and developing online platforms to host them. However, the concept of learning online isn’t new. The Open University has been offering open educational resources for years through its highly successful OpenLearn website, and via its courses on iTunes U. Futurelearn is building on this expertise to provide courses from a range of the UK’s top universities to learners across the globe.
Most existing MOOCs have a specific start and finish date and students sign up online. The courses are usually offered two to three times a year and tend to last for weeks rather than months. A student can use a wide range of media and interactive online tools to engage with other participants and learn alongside them. These might include video lectures, online discussion boards, blogs, wikis and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition to this online engagement some courses also include opportunities for students to meet each other face to face.
Due to the large number of students studying MOOCs, learning support comes from the online learning community rather than academic staff. Equally, assessment of MOOC courses includes peer-assessed written assignments and computer marked tests.
MOOCs attempt to encourage students to be independent and self-motivating. Students that really embrace the course are rewarded with authentic online networks and peer relationships that can continue beyond the end of the course.A student can use a wide range of media and interactive online tools to engage with other participants and learn alongside them.
“Futurelearn is the first UK-led, multi-institutional platform for free, open, online courses. We will increase access to higher education for students in the UK and around the world by offering a diverse range of high quality courses through a single website. We are partnering with the British Library, British Council and 17 of the UK’s top universities and will launch our first courses later this year.”
Futurelearn is a private company solely owned by the Open University.
Futurelearn is working in partnership with the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum and the following universities:
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of East Anglia (UEA)
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
King’s College London
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Nottingham
The Open University
Queen’s University, Belfast
University of Reading
The University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
University of Strathclyde
University of Warwick
What Effectiveness and Sustainability Means for Libraries’ Impact on Open Education. Environmental Scan and Assessment of OERs, MOOCs and Libraries. By Carmen Kazakoff-Lane. ALA -ACRLwhite paper: February (?) 2014
“Libraries can and should support open education. It fits with librarians’ professional support for access to information as a public good……and the *professional obligations of librarians in public libraries* to support continuing education”.
MOOCs and Libraries:Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge? Event March 2013
“This meeting featured thoughtful and provocative presentations about how libraries are already getting involved with MOOCs, and engaged attendees in discussions about strategic opportunities and challenges going forward. Tweet: #mooclib.
Live stream of the event and other resources are available
MOOCs and Libraries: the good, the bad and the ugly. First European MOOCs and Libraries Conference. London July 2013. Pullman Hotel, Central London
This one day event hosted by the Open University Library in partnership with OCLC Research and Jisc will focus on the challenges MOOCs pose to the traditional delivery of library services, and the opportunities they offer for libraries to rethink and revitalise their proposition. Participants will be brought up to speed with the latest MOOC developments around the world, but with a particular emphasis on developments in the UK. Speakers will share their experience of or thoughts about the impact MOOCs are having on library services across many sectors, on publishers, and on the higher education landscape.The event builds on a highly successful workshop held in Philadelphia in March, sponsored by OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania at which the Open University was the only institution from outside North America.
The event was live blogged by Sheila Webber Information Literacy Weblog
Massive Open Opportunity: Supporting MOOCs in Public and Academic Libraries. By Meredith Schwartz. Library Journal 10 May 2013
Here is an extract section of the article dealing with *public libraries*
MOOCs and the public library
….. Public libraries remain a key player in redressing the digital divide [PDF] in America. For would-be MOOC students who don’t have broadband and the fairly new computers necessary to use the courseware at home, the public library is where they’ll go to take the class—and that means they’ll need headphones or speakers in privacy, as the classes are presented as videos with sound, as well as the ability to reserve the computers for longer at a stretch than some libraries currently allow. Of course, they’ll need help operating that technology as well. “A MOOC student will probably go to the library that serves them,” SJSU’s Stephens told LJ. “I would hope they could go into a library and say, ‘I’m taking a course online, and I need to make a video, can you help me?’ It will probably be some technology support. I know some people bristle at that, but I think it is an absolutely viable question to be asked inside the library.”
Also, a few groundbreaking public libraries are experimenting with using MOOCs provided by others as the basis of programming. For example, Margaret Donellan Todd, county librarian, County of Los Angeles Public Library, said the library is incorporating MOOCs into the Center for Learning initiative of its new strategic plan, which also includes homework and literacy support, online tutoring, GED prep, and courses from Gale Cengage’s Ed2Go platform.
“When we added…Tutor.com about eight years ago, the response was amazing. It was clear that the public wanted to be able to be tutored online. We also saw strong response to the addition of résumé builders and other products. The idea of MOOCs seemed like the logical next step,” Todd told LJ. “We are also looking at collaborating with other organizations to share MOOC content, such as literacy classes or GED.”
“In the future, we see the library as becoming a local meeting place for people enrolled in specific MOOCs,” Todd added. “We also believe we may offer group MOOC viewing—perhaps for literacy-based classes.”
Such wraparound programming has the potential to beef up the library’s adult lifelong learning offerings at little expense and without limiting them to the pool of qualified local volunteers. From the MOOC perspective, it exposes the courses to a whole new audience, potentially drawing in students who wouldn’t have signed up to do a MOOC in isolation, as well as providing support to those who might otherwise have dropped out of one. Todd even said the library is considering collaborating with a local college to produce MOOCs in future. “Public libraries know how people learn and where they get stuck,” she explained.
Massive and Open - MOOCs and the transformation of HE. Ian Clark explores how MOOCs could transform higher education and how the role of librarians might change. Ian Clark. Information Today10 May 2013
“In the UK, concerns about the uncertain future of higher education seem to have been dominating the narrative around the sector for some time. From the abolition of student grants, to the introduction of tuition fees, to the Browne review and the shockwaves sent across the sector that we are still attempting to grapple with. Whilst the ramifications of the Browne review are still not totally clear, a new challenge has already reared its head, posing questions about where the sector will be five, ten or twenty years from now.
The growth of massive online open courses (or MOOCs) has certainly given the sector much to ponder. MOOCs first emerged in 2008, offering students a unique opportunity to study courses with prestigious universities across the globe. Hosted online, these courses enable thousands of students to take part in any course and encourage them to engage with a broad range of online tools to support their studies and broaden their learning. Furthermore, they empower students to engage in independent study, whilst garnering support from the online learning community rather than academic staff. It’s not difficult to see why they present a challenge for the HE sector.”
MOOCs and Libraries: Introduction.by Merrilee. Hangingtogether.org [OCLC Research blog].9th April 2013.
‘where is the library? …. libraries are engaging in issues around copyright and IP, and are actively looking to see how to appropriately embed library services and research skills into these new and evolving environments. Encouragingly, some libraries are part of the core teams being formed on campus which are planning and executing on MOOCs — these partnerships are vital, especially if MOOCs are seen as important to the campus. To be blunt, if it’s politically important, libraries need to be there.’
[Higher education] Not what it used to be. American universities represent declining value for money to their students. Economist 1st Dec 2012
'The broader significance of MOOCs is that they are part of a trend towards the unbundling of higher education. … universities will come under pressure to move to something more like a “buffet” arrangement, under which they will accept credits from each other—and from students who take courses at home or even at high school, spending much less time on campus. StraighterLine, a start-up based in Baltimore, is already selling courses that gain students credits for a few hundred dollars.'