Librarians as Public Thinkers, Public Learners
So where do librarians fit in? My hack-force and I are going to participate in MOOCs this fall, purely from a learner prescriptive. We probably won’t finish the courses, but that’s not our objective—the intention is to soak up the community practices, observe the process, and participate when fitting.
I see MOOCs as a way to expand and redefine what a librarian is/does. We don’t break away from the stereotype of “book people” by talking about it on panels or writing books/articles about how our profession has transformed. We change the way people think through out actions, or more specifically, our interactions.
I imagine librarians joining MOOCs and not just serving a traditional role (let me guide you to some info) but genuinely becoming a part of the course (let’s build and learn together.) This is a chance for us to present ourselves as public thinkers, public learners, public instructors, and public knowledge makers. This is an opportunity to fully participate in the total learning process—or at least a greater share of it. I want students, faculty, and others seeing librarians as partners, collaborators, experts, and fellow learners. Not just the keepers of the proxy.
MOOCs might not replace higher ed, but higher ed will definitely absorb some of the MOOC elements. Librarians who are fluent in MOOCs will only enhance our involvement with the teaching and learning experience. MOOC-style platforms seem to be the next step for learning management systems, so invest time now in understanding how they operate. Instead of reading about them, join one. We talk a lot about a commitment to lifelong learning—MOOCs are a way for us to actually back that up.
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