What is a MOOC?


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an evolutionary step further than Open Content. A few faculty have begun using online platforms to teach courses to large numbers of students, occasionally reaching above 100,000 enrollments in a single course offering. These courses are offered for free to anyone who chooses to access them. In the majority of cases, course credits are not offered for completing a MOOC. While one-off MOOCs have been taught since at least 2008, they are rapidly gaining momentum, largely due to companies and collaborative projects such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015As I mentioned in the Online Learning section of our wiki, I see MOOCs (particularly connectivist MOOCs, where learner engagement can be wonderfully high) as an important part of the evolving learning landscape supported by libraries. This doesn't mean library staff needs to be responsible for designing and facilitating MOOCs start to finish, but it does suggest that there are plenty of roles library staff can play in supporting the creation and delivery of MOOCs. Repeating a resource I cited in the Online Learning section of this wiki: Carmen Kazakoff-Lane's Environmental Scan and Assessment of OERs, MOOCs, and Libraries, published under the auspices of the Association of College and Research Libraries (summary and link to the report available a thttps://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/scanning-the-mooc-and-open-educational-resources-environment-in-librariesand-beyond/).
  • MOOC's (1) offer libraries the ability to develop information literacy and other training that has a much broader reach and impact; (2) substantially increases the importance and reuse potential of digital assets created as part of MOOC instructional content -- creating an opportunity for libraries to assist with preservation and data management; (3) generate significant amounts of usage data that require management -- another library opportunity; (4) generate user-facing content -- such as FAQ's and discussion list that become part of the educational supports, and need to be managed; (5) create the need to identify, select and preserve openly accessible course readings - escience escience Apr 27, 2015
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015Might be helpful to differentiate between xMOOCs and cMOOCs, and to address the idea that judging the success or failure of MOOCs goes far beyond simply looking at completion rates; the whole idea of "completion" needs to be viewed in the context of MOOCs, where learners might "complete" their learning goals without needing to formally complete every module of a course.
  • Educational institutions are in the MOOC space for a variety of different reasons. (1) Enabling access to education to a much wider set of people -- e.g. the 80% of adults in the US w/out a BA; (2) engaging new scholarly community and attracting the best students globally to be part of the research community -- EdX is about this, in part; (3) creating a platform for fine grained, iterated, massive educational research. - escience escience Apr 27, 2015
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015The potential impacts of MOOCs on academic and research libraries include the need for staff members to become more familiar with the benefits and challenges MOOCs provide, the ability to provide yet another type of learning resource for library users, and the possibility of acquiring new tools and techniques that can be applied to other learning opportunities, e.g., carrying teaching-training-learning techniques observed in MOOCs into other learning environments.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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