Monday, June 10, 2013

MOOCs and libraries European Conference

Last month I mentioned the MOOCS and libraries conference organized in March by OCLC Research.

Next month, July 12, the UK Open University is hosting the European version of this conference in London.

More information is available at the UK OU website.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MOOCs and libraries

This month’s Library Journal has a very interesting article - Massive Open Opportunity: Supporting MOOCs in Public and Academic Libraries

The article extensively explores the opportunities that are presented by MOOCs and is well worth a read.

Much of the inspiration for the article seems to have come from an OCLC event that took place on March 18 - MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?

The videos of the talks are available at OCLC's YouTube Channel.

Below is the video of the summary and next steps discussion from the event.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The cloud is the library, according to a Dutch think tank

Every four years, the scientific technical council of the Dutch SURF foundation publishes a trend report. Aim of this report is to chart the main trends in IT that will affect institutions of higher education over the near future. Main themes of this year’s report are the cloud and the trend that users are increasingly looking for and creating their own solutions with what’s available on the web itself.

The report is, unfortunately, only available in Dutch at this page.

I was particularly interested in the chapter on academic libraries written by John Mackenzie Owen and Leo Plugge.

Their basic premise is that scholarly information has increasingly moved to the cloud and that the Open Access share of that scholarly information is increasing. Combined, these two trends have profound consequences for academic libraries.

At the same time, there are some interesting challenges for students and scholars in this new world in the cloud. Search skills are becoming more and more important. There is not yet a clear solution for OA author fees. New forms of publishing are emerging, so called enhanced publications that also call for new skills, among which legal skills when it comes to reuse of objects. The uncontrolled proliferation in available data sets that is a chaos at the moment.

Collections, that were at the core of the academic library, have moved to the cloud and, with OA on the rise, increasingly open available. The library, nor the library web site is no longer the first stop in students’ and scholars’ quests for information. Libraries will have a role when it comes to curating historical print material, in supporting subject fields that are only slowly digitizing like humanities (although I think digital humanities initiatives are building up critical mass very fast now), and, thirdly, as a ‘living room’ for undergraduate students.

Examples of users taking the lead in finding their own solutions are ArXive, the Web, Google, PLoS, and Mendeley. And it is true that all these initiatives started in research institutions and universities. A far more important trend, I think, is that students and scholars are no longer dependent on their institution when it comes to creating and publishing content collaboratively. Hardware is becoming cheaper and cheaper, internet access is ubiquitous and the web is rife with free services that can act as an alternative to solutions traditionally offered by the IT department, like a learning management system.

An interesting observation is that Dutch universities spend proportionally more on their libraries (+3 percent of their budget) that US universities (-2 percent). I am not sure whether it is possible to make such a sweeping statement, but the implication seems to be that there’s an opportunity for Dutch universities to save money. Money that could be used to support scholars in OA publishing, for instance.

The chapter concludes with stating that the cloud is the new library. It is also recommended that SURF organizes a vision group, in which (advanced) users are strongly represented, to see how a Dutch node in this cloud could be built. The cloud though, I'd guess, doesn’t stop at borders.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ARL white paper on research libraries and MOOCs

ARL has released a 15 page white paper on “Massive Open Online Courses: Legal and Policy Issues for Research Libraries

The executive summary is rather concise:

“Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) raise significant legal and policy questions forresearch libraries, which are often asked to support the development of MOOC courses.These questions involve information policy concerns that are central to researchlibraries, including the proper application of fair use, the transition to open access as thedefault mode of scholarly publishing, and the provision of equal access to learningmaterials for students with and without disabilities. Where possible, research librariesshould engage in conversations around MOOCs and promote their core values. Bydoing so, they will also promote the continuing vitality of libraries as partners in theeducational mission.”
Hopefully, all these legal issues will not put libraries in the role of road block in the development of MOOCs.

Also, I think it would be interesting to consider how MOOCs could play a role in further education for library staff. Especially so called cMOOCs seem highly fit for developing staff skills in fast changing environments. But then the ARL white paper only seems to know about xMOOCs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yesterday a badge, today a certificate

The certificate is for finishing the Google Power Search Course. Actually I finished it last week but assessments could be taken until a few days ago. It was Google first attempt at a MOOC and they did quite a nice job. You can still view all the material and browse the forums and view some Google+ hangouts with search experts that were recorded but it's no longer possible to do the assessments anymore and, thereby, earning the certificate. I suggested in the final evaluation that Google should consider making the course anytime, anywhere available.

The certificate looks nice:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Got my self a badge!

And it really was for looking at an extended commercial for Google Apps for business - and, of course, answering some questions about that commercial.

Nevertheless, ALISON has an interesting approach when it comes to e-learning.

Sunday, July 15, 2012