Massive Open Online Courses and Academic Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
In the fall of 2011, former Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun made headlines by offering a free online course in Artificial Intelligence that attracted nearly 150,000 participants. Since then, several companies have begun hosting free online courses taught by professors and other experts on a range of academic subjects. This format for learning, referred to as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), has received considerable media coverage with professors, administrators, and even politicians debating the merits of integrating these courses into the university curriculum.
The sudden rush to develop these courses, in conjunction with their considerable media attention, has created confusion among those who may not be paying close attention. Given my background and work with Thomson Reuters, I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize the essential characteristics of MOOCs for academic librarians, as their responsibilities may be affected by these courses in the near future.
My article in D-Lib Magazine (see the link below) also includes an evaluation of current library methods for engaging online courses, with suggestions for best practice for the unique requirements of a MOOC.
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