Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MOOCs: librarians, online event, information use, teaching

A few links concerning MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). On the right I have embedded a Youtube video from Dave Cormier, one of the originators of the MOOC concept (note that not all the current MOOCs are in the original spirit of MOOCs!)

Firstly, there is a (priced) online seminar 4-5 April 2013, from EDUCAUSE. It is in the afternoon (noon to 5pm) in US Eastern time. "Over the past year, the massive open online course (MOOC) has emerged as a significantly different course model. But how robust is the MOOC as a vehicle for learning? In this focus session, through presentations and discussions, the ELI will explore the MOOC and its viability as a new learning model." More information at http://www.educause.edu/eli/events/eli-online-spring-focus-session

Secondly, Eleni Zazani was one of the participants in the recent E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC run by people at Edinburgh University (I joined it and lurked: it seemed very well designed and run). She asked participants to answer a few questions about how they got hold of information, and you can find the results of her survey on her blog at http://zazani.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/our-edcmooc-paths-to-finding-information-results/

Thirdly, there is an article in the latest issue of D-Lib online journal: Wright, F. (2013) "What do Librarians Need to Know About MOOCs?" D-Lib, 19 (3/4). http://dlib.anu.edu.au/dlib/march13/wright/03wright.html This identifies some of the issues, most notably serving a population that does not have access to subscribed material, and the fact that the MOOC may be delivered using a learning environment that is not the same one normally used by your insitution. Taken in combination with Eleni's results it points up (to me) the value of developing information literacy which can cope with life outside the shelter of formal education and its subscribed resources.

Finally, an article which presents results of a survey of university lecturers teaching with MOOCs. As is no surprise to me, they spent ages preparing and supporting the MOOCs, but did not necessarily have it acknowledged as part of their workload.
Kolowich, S. (2013) "The Professors Who Make the MOOCs" Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 March. http://chronicle.com/article/The-Professors-Behind-the-MOOC/137905/#id=overview
As a sidenote, the survey asks whether respondents whether teaching a MOOC will lead them to change what they do in the "traditional classroom based" version of the course. I do find this assumption that whatever was being done was "traditional" very irritating. For example with the Edinburgh course, I'm sure one reason why it was well designed etc. was because the tutors had a well-designed, thoughtful, constructivist approach to the non-MOOC they already taught.

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