Friday, July 12, 2013

An overview of MOOCs and Libraries to date, based on OCLC Research #mooclib

Next up in my liveblogging at the MOOCs and libraries event #mooclib is An overview of MOOCs and Libraries to date, based on OCLC Research: from Merrilee Proffit, Senior Program Office, OCLC Research.
Proffit was reporting on information gathered (via email or phone call) from partners in the OCLC network. They also hosted an event in the USA in March. There is a lot of information, on the OCLC research blog, at
Those libraries that WERE involved were either entrepreneurial or had strengths/ services that evidently matched with the needs of MOOCs (e.g. dealing with rights issues)
Themes that emerged were as follows. Most emphasis (in existing practice reported) was on this use of resources (e.g. fair use, permissions/licensing, linking, questions on who owns new MOOC content, open access issues). This may involve being hands-on, or taking on an advice role. Although obviously important, Profit identified this as "the intellectual property cul-de-sac", indicating that there can be a less restricted area for library involvement. This isn't to underestimate the intellectual role, as the expert librarian in this field can become "the most important person in the building".
Also librarians thought this was a great opportunity for faculty to rethink teaching on-campus e.g. providing a sandbox for experimentation (for staff and students). It gives librarians an opportunity to rethink how what she called library instruction (ie information literacy) connects and supports this form of learning and teaching. There may be opportunities for new ways of working with teachers and learners. It is more challenging because there is no one way of delivering MOOCS (although I will throw in the observation that this goes for face to face teaching too!)
Proffit mentioned Eleni Zazani's small scale survey of MOOC members about their use of information for the MOOC. You can find this linked from a post I did about MOOCs  at
Like Bayne, Proffit mentioned the large amount of social media around the MOOC (learner or teacher initiated) - this is an area where librarians could get involved. In general Proffit recommended signing up to or getting to know the MOOCs being offered, to learn how they work and work out how the library could get involved. You can also develop relevant skills (e.g. in video making) and tap into conversations and learning opportunities (like this conference ;-)
Proffit said that the increasing amount that US students/ their parents are paying for higher education is one of the key concerns (an "ugly" in terms of good/bad/ugly) that is driving interest in things like MOOCs.

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