Earlier this week, I tweeted that we were discussing the role of libraries and librarians in the MOOC movement. We talk about technology a lot in SILS classes, and Science Information is no different.
A MOOC, or massive open online courses, is “a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance” (Educause). More specifically, a MOOC is a multi-session online tutorial geared toward community education for anyone with an Internet connection.
Speaking simply, the idea of the MOOC is totally in line with the mission of information professionals: to make knowledge freely available. The issue for the field of librarianship, however, is who supports the needs of individuals enrolled in a MOOC, especially at an institution, if it is free? Who owns the content hosted in a MOOC? There are countless issues at hand, and boy are we speaking up.
OCLC recently hosted a two-day seminar discussing MOOCs (see recorded broadcasts here), while ARL started a dialogue about issues of legality in content. A quick Google search turns up thousands of results, and the craze is just beginning. In the fall many universities including my own UNC will be piloting their first MOOCs, joining the ranks of other prestigious universities and contributing to the chaos.
In the interest of joining the conversation, I would say that MOOCs present exciting opportunities for public libraries. At least in the United States, any MOOC enrollee (ideally) has a public library to support research needs. What do you think?
Note | Interested in enrolling in a MOOC? I recommend checking out Coursera, Class Central, or MOOC List. Additionally, a shameless plug for the MOOC coming out of SILS this Fall: I’m enrolling in my first MOOC! Check out the MOOC on Metadata coming from SILS’ own Jeff Pomerantz.