What is the connection between MOOCs and libraries? What’s happening now and where are the opportunities?
To answer my question, I reached out to members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership. This group comprises 20 of 32 Coursera institutions; 3 of 6 edX institutions; and 4 of 12 FutureLearn institutions. I was fortunate to have either an email exchange or (even better) a phone call with nearly everyone I contacted. This information from those in the trenches has been invaluable. In these exchanges, I asked my basic questions: what are you doing now? what do you think the next steps are?
As expected, a number of themes have emerged, along with a wide variety of attitudes (from white knuckle fear to excitement, and everything in between ). Below is a summary of what I’ve learned so far.
FutureLearn has not quite fully launched yet, but the libraries at those institutions are planning to work with one another (good news). Within edX, the librarians have also formed an informal network (more good news). Within the larger Coursera network of institutions, there is no similar alliance of librarians.
Here are some some of the themes that have emerged:
- On the content side, most institutions are engaging with some sort of copyright or licensing negotiations, or are ensuring that materials used in courses are cleared for use in that context (this does not necessarily add up to making materials open access). [snip
- In that vein, I spoke to a few people who are cautiously optimistic about MOOC implementation being a great opportunity to have an impactful conversation about open access publications or learning objects with faculty.
- Most of those I spoke with acknowledged that MOOCs could be a great opportunity for their campus to rethink teaching on campus — MOOCs provide a sandbox for experimentation, a place to test what works, what doesn’t, and an environment where findings can be driven back into the next iteration. [snip]
- Along with this, there’s an opportunity for libraries to think anew about library instruction and the role that library research plays in a MOOC or “flipped” environment.
- There are also opportunities for partnerships. Some libraries may use the MOOC experiment as an opportunity to work with other units on campus, and to draw attention to what the library brings to the campus “team.”. [snip]
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