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MOOCs and Information Literacy


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Presentation given by Sheila Webber as part of a workshop for Masters students at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, 27 November 2014.

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MOOCs and Information Literacy

  1. 1. MOOCs and Information Literacy Sheila Webber Information School, University of Sheffield Workshop at KISK, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, November 2014
  2. 2. MOOC •Massive i.e many learners (often, thousands) •Open i.e. (freely) available to anyone (although many MOOCs only accessible to those who register) •Online •Course i.e. some aim and structure to the learning Sheila Webber, 2014
  3. 3. Me & MOOCs •Futurelearn Play MOOC was first time as Educator •Dipped into other MOOCs as learner •I am in the Futurelearn Academic Network (focused on MOOC research) •One of my Masters students has done a study of a Futurelearn MOOC (learning analytics and interviews with the educator & designer) •Two of my students interviewed the MOOC coordinator & the educator for the Dentistry MOOC about information literacy in the MOOC •Some contact with the Futurelearn librarians group Sheila Webber, 2014
  4. 4. Futurelearn • •Started as MOOC partnership for UK universities, now have some partners from other countries •Developed its own learning platform •Started offering courses in 2013 •A private company wholly owned by the Open University (UK university set up for distance learning in 1969) Sheila Webber, 2014
  5. 5. MOOC characteristics •Strong marketing/ showcase element •Profile of early adopting educators different from some other types of e-learning early adopters? (e.g. higher profile?) •(Potentially) more diverse learners •Most learners external to the institution •Not yet integrated as normal part of educators’ & universities’ teaching •Different platform from usual VLE •Learners not necessarily aiming to complete but still want to enjoy experience they have “We want people to think about Web Science and think about doing a degree in Web Science” Professor Dame Wendy Hall, trailer for University of Southampton’s Futurelearn Web Science MOOC Sheila Webber, 2014
  6. 6. “Valerie Hill* ... says one of the biggest draws for the courses is that she gets to decide what she wants to learn and how much. ‘With the rise in opportunities for user-generated content (Web 2.0) online, individuals are embracing the ‘information should be free’ attitude. Constructivist learning and collaboration are becoming recognized as learning opportunities across the globe’ ” Scardillli, B. (2013) MOOCs: Classes for the Masses. Information today, 30 (8). Classes-for-the-Masses.shtml *librarian at Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies See also online-courses-the-future-of-learning-24073209 Sheila Webber, 2014
  7. 7. MOOCs and pedagogy
  8. 8. Continuing factors •Teachers’ varied approaches to teaching •Learners’ varied approaches to learning •Variation between disciplines in teaching, learning, use of information & technology •Issues specific to non f2f learning •Variation between university culture, norms and practice a good deal already known about these issues! “one item that really hits me [in a research report] is that however different the scaling model is for MOOCs, they are still online courses and have similar success factors” Hill, P. (2013, September 12). SJSU research report confirms MOOCs are online courses. e-literate. confirms-moocs-online-courses/ Sheila Webber, 2014
  9. 9. The Teaching- Learning Environment Entwistle et al. (2004: 3) These elements still apply with MOOCs, with potentially great diversity in student characteristics and expectations Sheila Webber, 2014
  10. 10. Types of MOOC •cMOOC (connectivist/constructivist) vs. xMOOC (transmissive) – too simplistic? •Beaven et al. (2014) prefer Lane’s typology –Network-based: “goal is socially constructed knowledge developed through conversation” & exploration –Task-based: “emphasize skill development through the completion of tasks” –Content-based: focus on transmitting content, usually automated assessment, don’t have to be participatory Sheila Webber, 2014
  11. 11. Different types require/assume different skills •Beaven et al. (2014) refer to Participatory Literacy Skills – could break this down into –Information literate with Web 2.0 and social media tools (my interpretation) –Understand how to use them to interact with peers to exchange and co-create knowledge •Different types of MOOC require different levels of participatory literacy skills, motivation and self- determinism •Similarly Gore (2014: 7) identifies that skills needed for a cMOOC “far outweigh” those needed for an xMOOC Sheila Webber, 2014
  12. 12. “The results reported in this paper illustrate that MOOCs such as OT12, which are primarily task-based (Lane, 2012), assume more self-determination and a higher degree of participatory literacy than those with a content-based focus. They also indicate that participants who are not sufficiently motivated and do not know how to collaborate online as reflected, for example, in knowing how to trigger feedback and support from peers might feel let down by the learning experience” (Beaven at al., 2014: 41) Sheila Webber, 2014
  13. 13. Futurelearn Play MOOC type? •I would say it is task-based (and the other Futurelearn MOOCs I’ve seen are task-based or content-based) •I would say that the Futurelearn platform could not be used in a network-based way (on its own) – it does not have the functions •Before running the MOOC I found this very frustrating •But possibly it has some positive benefit in making the MOOC more accessible? •Some thoughts from Mike Sharples, Professor educational technology at the Open University at-scale-ectel Sheila Webber, 2014
  14. 14. Library and Information Professionals and MOOCs Sheila Webber, 2014 Sheila Webber, 2014
  15. 15. “the first step towards that end is making the student aware of their available resources. The next step should be to provide the faculty member with links to the "tutorials" and "research guides" sections of their affiliated library's website. .” Wright, F. (2013) What do Librarians Need to Know About MOOCs? D-Lib Magazine 19 (3/4) Hygiene approach to MOOCs Sheila Webber, 2014
  16. 16. “Denlinger* and his team decided to offer a course for the alumni and parents of Wake Forest University [ZSRx was a 4 week MOOC ] so they could interact with library staff and fellow patrons while learning more about the web. ‘Think of this less as a traditional class with deadlines and boundaries and more as a starting point for learning and connecting to a larger community of learners’ ” Scardillli, (2013) MOOCs: Classes for the Masses. Information today, 30 (8). Masses.shtml *e-Learning Librarian, Wake Forest University, USA See also Opportunity spotting approach to MOOCs? Sheila Webber, 2014
  17. 17. “they [Office of Parent programs] now see the library as a place where these kinds of courses can take shape .. we have the expertise to make these courses happen, we know how to find resources, we know how to pull people together from across campus and the library has become a kind of platform for online learning” “no-one had expected the library to develop a course like this and I think it helped the people we were trying to reach to reimagine what the library is used for and what we can provide” Interview with Kyle Denlinger Bayne, G. (2013, September 16) CNI 2013 Podcast: Information Literacy MOOCs at Wake Forest University. Coalition for Networked Information. forest-university Sheila Webber, 2014
  18. 18. “Academic librarians can help instructors with MOOC materials, offer embedded services, and serve as a resource when students have research questions; public librarians may help patrons ‘research a topic using resources the library already provides, or trying to find items via interlibrary loan for the customer,’ according to Rayl. Public libraries can also be a place where MOOC participants meet as a group informally or as part of the course.” Scardillli (2013) Sheila Webber, 2014
  19. 19. Other examples •Contributing to a MOOC “Discover the island of research” by introducing the “Bay of literature”: also proposing roles in archiving, cataloguing and hosting retrieval of the educational materials (Eisengraber-Pabst, Vogt and Deimann, 2014) •Embedded librarian in the “Dentistry” MOOC at Sheffield University (Andrews and Witham, 2014) Sheila Webber, 2014
  20. 20. Types of literacy/support? •Information literacy in finding and engaging with in information within the MOOC (course information, embedded information resources etc.) •Information literacy with resources outside the MOOC; would suggest importance of: –IL using social media; –good Google skills; –good browsing skills; –ways of selecting, sharing and managing information ethically and effectively •Information & digital literacies in using applications that enable aspects of the course (e.g. Google hangouts; discussion fora) •Information & digital literacies in using applications to create/share/apply/present information/media associated with tasks and activities A MOOC lens on the SCONUL 7 Pillars of Information Literacy? Sheila Webber, 2014
  21. 21. Selective, deeper engagement •Demonstrating that you can run a MOOC builds confidence that you are worth collaborating with •Opportunity spotting educators who have a more collaborative, and constructivist or connectivist approach to teaching •Collaboration vs. cooperation •Could argue also supports “showcase” element: demonstrating quality of the student experience •Using and evaluating a range of channels and tools to communicate with learners, educators and librarians •Decisions about what appropriate for central hub, what for local? with some development of information literacy, within and outside the MOOC, designed into the course Sheila Webber, 2014
  22. 22. Issues identfied by librarians •Managing expectations of MOOC learners (who may expect access to academic library services) •Extent to which and how you support and develop information literacy •Accessibility issues (different first languages, educational/literacy levels, different timezones, disabilities etc.) •A support role, consultancy role, or a teaching role? Sheila Webber, 2014
  23. 23. Sheila Webber Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa Title picture by Sheila Webber, taken in Second Life, using one of the statements in the Manifesto for Teaching Online:
  24. 24. References •Andrews, P. and Witham, B. (2014) Attitides and practice of educators and developers of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) to informatoion literacy of MOOC learners. Unpublished essay, University of Sheffield Information School. •Beaven, T. et al. (2014). MOOCs: striking the right balance between facilitation and self-determination. MERLOTJournal of online learning and teaching, 10 (1), 31-43. •Eisengraber-Pabst, D., Vogt, S. and Deimann, M. (2014). The academic library: a hidden stakeholder: in the age of MOOCs. Paper presented at World Library and Information Conference (IFLA) 2014 Lyon. •Entwistle, N., Nisbet, J. and Bromage, A. (2004). Teaching-learning environments and student learning in electronic engineering: paper presented at Third Workshop of the European Network on Powerful Learning Environments, in Brugge, September 30 – October 2, 2004. •Gore, H. (2014). Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their impact on academic library services: exploring the issues and challenges. New review of academic librarianship, 20 (1), 4-28. Sheila Webber, 2014