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MOOCs, Information Literacy and the role of the librarian


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Presented by Sheila Webber, Information School, University of Sheffield at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, on 12 January 2014

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MOOCs, Information Literacy and the role of the librarian

  1. 1. MOOCs, Information Literacy and the role of the librarian Sheila Webber Information School, University of Sheffield University of Edinburgh, Scotland, January 2015
  2. 2. Outline • Introduction • MOOCs and pedagogy • Types of MOOC • Information behaviour in a MOOC • Library and information professional roles
  3. 3. MOOC • Massive i.e many learners (often, thousands) • Open i.e. (freely) available to anyone (although many MOOCs only accessible to those who register): also open-access issue • Online • Course i.e. some aim and structure to the learning Sheila Webber, 2015
  4. 4. Me & MOOCs • An Educator on the Futurelearn Play MOOC • Dipped into other MOOCs as learner • I am in the Futurelearn Academic Network (focused on MOOC research) • Some contact with the Futurelearn librarians group • Two of my students interviewed the MOOC coordinator & the educator for the Dentistry MOOC about information literacy in the MOOC (2014) • One of my Masters students has done (2014) a study of a Futurelearn MOOC (learning analytics and interviews with the educator & designer) Sheila Webber, 2015 Futurelearn is a MOOC platform/consortium, started in the UK
  5. 5. Naomi Colhoun’s research • Case study of Univ of Birmingham’s “Good Brain Bad brain: drug origins” MOOC • Aim to identify use of learning analytics to inform course design & give feedback to educator on learning aims • Interview with academic & technical developer • Observation of MOOC and documents • Learning analytics: Quantitative (word frequency; Topic modelling; N-grams; Social Network analysis; using R, Gephi, Rweka, Slam, Mallet, SPSS, Excel) & Qualitative (learner comments) • I will refer to this research at a few points in this presentation Sheila Webber, 2015
  6. 6. Some 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 • Learners external to the institution • Not always integrated as normal part of learning & teaching but possibly becoming “tamed*” • Different platform from institutional VLE • High attrition rate • 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, 2015 *Tamed = not disruptive, but rather appropriated by mainstream institutions
  7. 7. The “R’s” of MOOC success (Wright, 2015) • Revenue • Recruitment (of students) including “try before you buy” • Retention (of students) • Research • Reputation • Reuse • + Philanthropy and Social Policy
  8. 8. MOOCs, pedagogy & types of MOOC
  9. 9. 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, 2015
  10. 10. 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, 2015
  11. 11. The Teaching- Learning Environment Entwistle et al. (2004: 3) However, a further key influence may be the MOOC platform provider in specifying design & quality e.g. Futurelearn Sheila Webber, 2015
  12. 12. All these elements combine to influence to nature of information literacy & what information literacy is required/ enabled by the course, as well as whether the educator(s) are likely to see the value of information literacy
  13. 13. 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, 2015 I would say some of this is determined by the MOOC platform, as also noted by Colhoun (2014)
  14. 14. 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, 2015
  15. 15. “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, 2015
  16. 16. Conole’s (2014) MOOC dimensions (to be rated as low, medium and high) • (How) Open • (How) Massive • Diversity (of participants) • Use of (varied) multimedia • Degree of (forms of) communication • Degree of collaboration • Amount of reflection • (Nature of) Learning pathway • (Form of) Quality assurance • Certification • (Link to) Formal Learning • (Degree of learner) Autonomy Sheila Webber, 2015
  17. 17. Inside or outside the MOOC? • Draper and Honeychurch noted last week at the FLAN meeting – peer interaction may take place almost entirely outside MOOC platform • Colhoun noted “Remember that all that is visible is not all that there is”: learning analytics do not reveal everything and also need interpretation in light of educator’s goals • Lurking (e.g. in Futurelearn, scanning comments) may be satisfying the learner’s own goals, but is not tracked
  18. 18. Play MOOC, Sep-Nov 14 • 17,000 learners registered • In week 1 “Your play history” had over 5700 comments • Cross departmental team: I led week 6 of 7 Learners asked to remember, reflect, carry out observations and activities Use of a few tools outside the platform, but mostly interactions inside
  19. 19. Play MOOC dimensions (first thoughts) • Open - medium (free to join, open access material, but can’t view unless registered) • Massive - high (17,000 registered etc.) • Diversity of participants - ? Medium (many early years professionals) • Use of (varied) multimedia – medium/ high (few extra tools, but varied) • Degree of (forms of) communication - medium • Degree of collaboration – low (at least, inside MOOC) • Amount of reflection - medium (reflective exercises) • (Nature of) Learning pathway – low (one route, some optional items) • (Form of) Quality assurance - medium (assurance by central team + Futurelearn) • Certification - medium (could get completion certificate) • (Link to) Formal Learning - low (no link with formal course) • (Degree of learner) Autonomy – high (little tutor support, although some support/scaffolding designed in) Sheila Webber, 2015
  20. 20. Exercise on information behaviour • Exercise during my week of the Play MOOC • Asked how acquired information & whether searched, browsed or encountered (bumped into) it • Asked them to think about people as well as other information sources • 668 comments at this point • Following ideas from just an initial scan through some of the comments, intend to analyse them in coming months Sheila Webber, 2015
  21. 21. Reported Information behaviour • Information in course: videos; core articles, links; comments from learners; additional reading & links • Information outside the course: – Non-human: Internet (Google, websites, Youtube) mentioned most; also learner’s own books, TV, radio, educational magazines, museum – Human: family, friends, work colleagues, gamers; including some examples of friends taking MOOC at same time; some mention getting contrasting perspectives • Information from self: Memories (prompted by discussion or MOOC); Observation; Experience; Info/understanding from current or previous courses/education /training Sheila Webber, 2015
  22. 22. Not just acquiring & combining information! • Saving and managing information for later use • A lot of sharing information – mostly face to face but also digitally e.g. via Facebook as well as in the MOOC • Creating information, inside and outside MOOC • Applying information and understanding in work, at home; to educate others, in own practice, as self- development Sheila Webber, 2015
  23. 23. Conole (2014) says that “there is a need to shift from knowledge recall to development of skills to find and use information effectively. In this respect, there is a need to enable learners to develop 21st Century digital literacy skills (Jenkins 2009) to equip them for an increasingly complex and changing societal context.” However, digital literacy is certainly not the only skillset needed or exercised by learners in working with information and developing understanding Sheila Webber, 2015
  24. 24. Library and Information Professionals and MOOCs Sheila Webber, 2015
  25. 25. “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 (2013) Hygiene approach to MOOCs Sheila Webber, 2015
  26. 26. “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) *e-Learning Librarian, Wake Forest University, USA See also Opportunity spotting approach to MOOCs? Sheila Webber, 2015
  27. 27. “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) Sheila Webber, 201
  28. 28. “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, 2015
  29. 29. 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, 2015
  30. 30. 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 • Using and evaluating a range of channels and tools to communicate with learners, educators and librarians • Could argue also supports “showcase” element: demonstrating quality of the student experience with some development of information literacy, within and outside the MOOC, designed into the course Sheila Webber, 2015
  31. 31. Issues identfied in the literature include • 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, 2015
  32. 32. 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 literacy in using applications and people to create/share/apply/present information/media associated with tasks and activities • Information literacy in managing, storing, sharing, creating, applying information (for use outside the course) A MOOC lens on the SCONUL 7 Pillars of Information Literacy? Sheila Webber, 2015
  33. 33. Library & Infgormation Professional roles identified by Masters students in KISK, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, November 2014 Sheila Webber, 2015
  34. 34. • Active student creating local community of learners • Authoring MOOC materials • Creating new MOOCs • Developer of MOOC systems • Supporting MOOC use – supporting learners (in use of MOOC) – supporting educators – supporting designers (in creation and location of materials) – reference librarian support (for everyone) • Teacher or teaching assistant on a MOOC • Information architect (for structure, organisation etc. of MOOC) • Promotional role (propagator and mediator of MOOCs) e.g. to new students • Evaluator of MOOCs (content, goals, design etc.) • Quality management, control or assurance of MOOCs Roles Sheila Webber, 2015
  35. 35. Concluding thoughts Sheila Webber, 2015
  36. 36. The “R’s” of MOOC success (Wright, 2015) • Revenue • Recruitment (of students) including “try before you buy” • Retention (of students) • Research • Reputation • Reuse • + Philanthropy and Social Policy Librarian contribution to each? Demonstrable contributions here could justify resources Sheila Webber, 2015
  37. 37. Types of MOOC • Useful to analyse to identify what type of MOOC you are engaging with • Then can identify which role or intervention will be most valuable / valued Sheila Webber, 2015
  38. 38. Conclusions • Many roles available! • Also recognise challenges – Time – Getting recognised as having contribution to make • Whether tame or wild, MOOCs are fascinating to engage with and provide opportunities Sheila Webber, 2015
  39. 39. Sheila Webber Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa Title picture by Sheila Webber, taken in Second Life
  40. 40. References • Andrews, P. and Witham, B. (2014). Attitudes and practice of educators and developers of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) to information literacy of MOOC learners. Unpublished essay, University of Sheffield Information School. • Bayne, G. (2013, September 16). CNI 2013 Podcast: Information Literacy MOOCs at Wake Forest University. Coalition for Networked Information. information-literacy-moocs-wake-forest-university • 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. • Conole, G. (2014). A 12-Dimensional classification schema for MOOCs. • 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. Sheila Webber, 2015
  41. 41. References • 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. • Scardillli, (2013) MOOCs: Classes for the masses. Information today, 30 (8). for-the-Masses.shtml • Wright, A. (2015) Good MOOC, bad MOOC 2: return of the MOOC Turtle. • Wright, F. (2013) What do librarians need to know about MOOCs? D-Lib magazine, 19 (3/4) Sheila Webber, 2015
  42. 42. Further reading • Conole, G. (2013) MOOCs as disruptive technologies: strategies for enhancing the learner experience and quality of MOOCs. • Hay. L. and Damron, N. (2014) . Information literacy in open courses. Practical academic librarianship, 4 (1). • Krause, S. and Lowe, C. (Eds) (2014). Invasion of the MOOCs: the promises and perils of massive open online courses. Parlor Press. • MERLOT Journal of online learning and teaching, 2014, 10 (1) - special issue on MOOC learning. • Stephens, M. and Jones, K. (2014) Emerging roles: key insights from librarians in a Massive Open Online Course. preprint (to appear in Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Learning in 2015) • Wu, K. (2013). Academic libraries in the age of MOOCs. Reference services review, 41 (3), 576-587. Sheila Webber, 2015