MOOCs - Massive Online Open Courses

Introduction

(the information in this introduction was taken from the Futurelearn website

What is a MOOC?

"MOOCs (or Massive Open Online Courses) have become increasingly popular since they first emerged in 2008. Free and easily accessible online MOOCs offer large numbers of students the opportunity to study high quality courses with prestigious universities. Whilst MOOCs don’t always lead to formal qualifications, they allow students
to gain invaluable knowledge to support their careers, or their own personal learning goals. There are no entry requirements and students can take part in the courses regardless of where they live
in the world or their financial circumstances.Because they are online, MOOCs are highly scalable and thousands of students can take part in any one course. MOOCs offer large


numbers of students the opportunity to study high quality courses with prestigious universities.

How did MOOCs start?

MOOCs are a direct response to the digital, networked world where people have access to huge amounts of information online and where they form virtual communities with people who share their interests. MOOCs use these networks to enable students to connect share and collaborate with virtual ‘classmates’ across geographical and cultural boundaries.
So far, the US has been the main hub for MOOCs, with a variety of universities contributing courses and developing online platforms to host them. However, the concept of learning online isn’t new. The Open University has been offering open educational resources for years through its highly successful OpenLearn website, and via its courses on iTunes U. Futurelearn is building on this expertise to provide courses from a range of the UK’s top universities to learners across the globe.

How do MOOCs work?

Most existing MOOCs have a specific start and finish date and students sign up online. The courses are usually offered two to three times a year and tend to last for weeks rather than months. A student can use a wide range of media and interactive online tools to engage with other participants and learn alongside them. These might include video lectures, online discussion boards, blogs, wikis and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition to this online engagement some courses also include opportunities for students to meet each other face to face.
Due to the large number of students studying MOOCs, learning support comes from the online learning community rather than academic staff. Equally, assessment of MOOC courses includes peer-assessed written assignments and computer marked tests.

MOOCs attempt to encourage students to be independent and self-motivating. Students that really embrace the course are rewarded with authentic online networks and peer relationships that can continue beyond the end of the course.A student can use a wide range of media and interactive online tools to engage with other participants and learn alongside them.

A UK MOOC -Futurelearn

"Futurelearn is the first UK-led, multi-institutional platform for free, open, online courses. We will increase access to higher education for students in the UK and around the world by offering a diverse range of high quality courses through a single website. We are partnering with the British Library, British Council and 17 of the UK’s top universities and will launch our first courses later this year."
Futurelearn is a private company solely owned by the Open University.
Futurelearn is working in partnership with the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum and the following universities:
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
Bristol University
Cardiff University
University of East Anglia (UEA)
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
King’s College London
Lancaster University
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
Loughborough University
University of Nottingham
The Open University
Queen’s University, Belfast
University of Reading
The University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
University of Strathclyde
University of Warwick

Resources, Articles etc

What Effectiveness and Sustainability Means for Libraries’ Impact on Open Education
Environmental Scan and Assessment of OERs, MOOCs and Libraries: Carmen Kazakoff-Lane ACRL White Paper March 2014
"Libraries can and should support open education. It fits with librarians’ professional support for access to information as a public good, the institutional mandate of academic libraries to support teaching and research, and the professional obligations of librarians in public libraries to support continuing education".

MOOCs and Libraries [blog]
MOOCs and Libraries is devoted to documenting librarian and library involvement in Massive Open Online Courses

McKienan, Gerry. "Open Sesame: Strategies for Promoting Open Educational Resources for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)." Panibus Magazine 28 (Summer 2013): 10-11. Available via: http://moocsandlibraries.blogspot.com/2013/06/strategies-for-promoting-open.html

McKiernan, Gerry. “Open Online Courses (MOOCs).” Virtual presentation given at MOOCs, Mobile Technologies –
Their Impact on Reference Service, Amigos Library Services Online Conference, November 7, 2013.
Available via http://open-resources-librarian.blogspot.com/2013/11/open-sesame-strategies-for-promoting.html

MOOC Platforms : a primer - biggies, newbies & freebooters'. By Donald Clark [blog]. 3 December 2013
Useful summary and comparison of MOCCs and related platforms. From the blog:-
"As the MOOCosphere expanded, more and more platforms sprung into action. Some have already delivered large numbers of MOOCs, such as the open source platform EdX and the Coursera. The other big ticket platform is Udacity which has now morphed into a specific market – corporate training. Although the wellspring was in the US, the UK, Europe, India, Russia, Brazil and many others have joined the party. The global LMS/VLE vendors (Blackboard, Desire2learn, SAP) and Moodle have jumped on the bandwagon. Some so-called MOOC platforms aren’t really platforms at all – they’re aggregators. Using the word ‘platform’ to mean ‘place or URL’ on the web. There’s also the ‘let’s call it a MOOC even though it is not’ mob. Apart from this last category, it’s all good. We need a pluralistic landscape. The internet may like ‘ones’ but education likes ‘many’. We also have to get away from the hopelessly simplistic xMOOC v cMOOC dualism. The MOOC landscape and taxonomy is way more complicated than this rather historic distinction suggests"

' Libraries in the Time of MOOCs' by Curtis Kendrick and Irene Gashurov, EDUCAUSE Review. 4 November 2013
from the article: "MOOCs give librarians new opportunities to help shape the conversation about changes in higher education and to guide administrators, faculty, and students through these changes. To assume this role, librarians must understand the MOOCs landscape. Numerous stakeholders will have an interest in the massive intellectual property that ultimately resides in libraries' owned and licensed digital repositories. Studying and adopting technologies to manage and monitor MOOC usage of library resources will be essential to controlling access and tightening Internet safeguards". and later.....
MOOCs and Library Resources, MOOCs will require drawing up a new licensing model................

MOOCs: Google and EdX Announce Partnership, Will Launch New Site Next Year
By Gary Price. Infodocket (Library Journal). 10 September 2013

"EdX today announced its partnership with Google to jointly develop the edX open source learning platform, Open edX, and expand the availability of the platform and its learning tools to individuals and institutions around the world.In collaboration with Google, edX will build out and operate MOOC.org [launching in early 2014], a new site for non-xConsortium universities, institutions, businesses, governments and teachers to build and host their courses for a global audience. This site will be powered by the jointly developed Open edX platform. Google will work on the core platform development with leading experts from many edX partner institutions, including MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland, and Tsinghua University. In addition, edX and Google will collaborate on research into how students learn and how technology can transform learning and teaching on campus and beyond."

MOOCs and Libraries: the good, the bad and the ugly. First European MOOCs and Libraries Conference. London July 2013. Pullman Hotel, Central London
This one day event hosted by the Open University Library in partnership with OCLC Research and Jisc will focus on the challenges MOOCs pose to the traditional delivery of library services, and the opportunities they offer for libraries to rethink and revitalise their proposition. Participants will be brought up to speed with the latest MOOC developments around the world, but with a particular emphasis on developments in the UK. Speakers will share their experience of or thoughts about the impact MOOCs are having on library services across many sectors, on publishers, and on the higher education landscape.The event builds on a highly successful workshop held in Philadelphia in March, sponsored by OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania at which the Open University was the only institution from outside North America.

Blogs on the event
The event was live blogged by Sheila Webber Information Literacy Weblog
Why do I MOOC, the experiences of a MOOC learner
Challenges for Libraries, a US Case Study
An overview of MOOCs and Libraries to date, based on OCLC Research
MOOCs and libraries

There is also a short summary (guest post) on the Libfocus blog by Laura Connaughton, Assistant Librarian, NUI Maynooth
The aim of the day was to “focus on the challenges MOOCs pose to the traditional delivery of library services, and the opportunities they offer for libraries to rethink and revitalise their proposition”.

Massive and Open - MOOCs and the transformation of HE. Ian Clark explores how MOOCs could transform higher education and how the role of librarians might change. Ian Clark. Information Today10 May 2013
"In the UK, concerns about the uncertain future of higher education seem to have been dominating the narrative around the sector for some time. From the abolition of student grants, to the introduction of tuition fees, to the Browne review and the shockwaves sent across the sector that we are still attempting to grapple with. Whilst the ramifications of the Browne review are still not totally clear, a new challenge has already reared its head, posing questions about where the sector will be five, ten or twenty years from now.
The growth of massive online open courses (or MOOCs) has certainly given the sector much to ponder. MOOCs first emerged in 2008, offering students a unique opportunity to study courses with prestigious universities across the globe. Hosted online, these courses enable thousands of students to take part in any course and encourage them to engage with a broad range of online tools to support their studies and broaden their learning. Furthermore, they empower students to engage in independent study, whilst garnering support from the online learning community rather than academic staff. It’s not difficult to see why they present a challenge for the HE sector."

MOOCs and Libraries: Introduction.by Merrilee. Hangingtogether.org [OCLC Research blog]. 9th April 2013.
‘where is the library? .... libraries are engaging in issues around copyright and IP, and are actively looking to see how to appropriately embed library services and research skills into these new and evolving environments. Encouragingly, some libraries are part of the core teams being formed on campus which are planning and executing on MOOCs — these partnerships are vital, especially if MOOCs are seen as important to the campus. To be blunt, if it’s politically important, libraries need to be there.’

MOOCs and Libraries:Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge? Event March 2013
"This meeting featured thoughtful and provocative presentations about how libraries are already getting involved with MOOCs, and engaged attendees in discussions about strategic opportunities and challenges going forward. Tweet: #mooclib.
Live stream of the event and other resources are available

[Higher education] Not what it used to be. American universities represent declining value for money to their students. Economist 1st Dec 2012
'The broader significance of MOOCs is that they are part of a trend towards the unbundling of higher education. ... universities will come under pressure to move to something more like a “buffet” arrangement, under which they will accept credits from each other—and from students who take courses at home or even at high school, spending much less time on campus. StraighterLine, a start-up based in Baltimore, is already selling courses that gain students credits for a few hundred dollars.'


‘where is the library? .... libraries are engaging in issues around copyright and IP, and are actively looking to see how to appropriately embed library services and research skills into these new and evolving environments. Encouragingly, some libraries are part of the core teams being formed on campus which are planning and executing on MOOCs — these partnerships are vital, especially if MOOCs are seen as important to the campus. To be blunt, if it’s politically important, libraries need to be there.’
MOOCs and Libraries: Introduction. by Merrilee. Hangingtogether.org [OCLC Research blog]. 9th April 2013. http://hangingtogether.org/?p=2666