Wednesday, August 20, 2014

MOOCs not just in the keynote at #wlic2014

Pierre Dillenbourg was today's keynote at the World Library and Information Conference (IFLA) 2014 in Lyon, France. Academic director of the EPFL Center for Digital Education at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), he's talked about Ten surprises in our MOOC experience. Since I've now gone through the process of preparing material for a MOOC (the Play MOOC offered by Futurelearn) and have read a good deal about them I didn't find so many surprises, but it was interesting to hear from someone from outside the English-speaking sphere and he is an entertaining speaker. Just to remind you, MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Course. This will find my previous posts about MOOCs
Just to pick out a few things that struck me:
- One of his messages was that MOOCs can enable a smaller university to punch above its weight, reaching a huge audience internationally (e.g. they have many students from the USA, France and the UK).
- Dillenbourg said that "MOOCs save Books" i.e. the MOOC may stimulate book buying particularly if the video is attached to an academic or a course that has produced the book-of-the-course.
- Students may use a MOOC as the "textbook" for the credit-bearing course they are studying at university, and the speaker positioned this as part of a flipped classroom approach.
- Learners may be "watching MOOCs in teams" (the MOOC platforms that his university uses are Cousera and EdX i.e. what are termed xMOOCs, taking a less social/constructivist approach, so "watching", the word he used, may be appropriate)
- amusing soundbite "Good MOOCs are (in general) better than bad MOOCs"
- I was surprised, but not in a good way, by the statement that "MOOCs turned teaching into a high stakes activity" (surely it should be high-stakes anyway - it certainly is high stakes for the learners!), though it may just present the reality that teaching is seen as less important than research even now (in terms of getting promotion etc.)

Also rather surprisingly, considering he'd been invited to a library conference, the speaker evidently hadn't done much googling of "moocs librarians" or "moocs bibliothécaires" as when asked about the role of librarians he did not seem to feel there was one. I did feel compelled to make a comment on that e.g. mentioning the Futurelearn librarians' group.

A quick google turned up other presentations on MOOCs in which this speaker was an author e.g. this one which makes some of the same points.

Last year at IFLA there was this paper:
CALTER, Mariellen (2013) MOOCs and the library: engaging with evolving pedagogy. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2013 — Singapore — "Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities" in Session 98 - Knowledge Management with Academic and Research Libraries.

There was a whole session on MOOCs this year, but unfortunately none of the papers from that session are in the IFLA library yet (and I couldn't go to it as it clashed with the session in which I was givinga paper). I will link to them when they appear. There is a paper in another session that also focuses on the librarian's role in MOOCs:

Eisenberger-Pabst, D. et al. (2014) The academic library – a hidden stakeholder - in the age of MOOCs. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 – Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 210 - Information Technology. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.
Photo by Sheila Webber: cakes at teh reception last night

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