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Supporting information literacy in MOOCs


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Presentation by Sheila Webber given at the European Conference on Information Literacy ECIL2015 as part of a workshop on 21st October 2015

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Supporting information literacy in MOOCs

  1. 1. ECIL ,October 2015 Supporting information literacy in MOOC learning Sheila Webber Information School University of Sheffield
  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): also open-access issue • Online • Course i.e. some aim and structure to the learning Sheila Webber, 2015
  3. 3. 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
  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 did (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. Librarians’ roles MOOC educator Asset management Dealing with intellectual property Course design Content creation Delivery Metadata Storage Retrieval Distribution Copyright clearance Advice to educators Marketing MOOCs Proactive learner Quality assurance, evaluation Educating for information literacy Virtual reference e.g. promoting to new students Including learning analytics Advice Support Developing system and applications Connecting with learners Modelling good MOOC learning Information architect Teaching assistant Facilitating, interacting See e.g. Bond (2015), Eisengraber-Papst et al. (2014), Elliott and Fabro (2015), Gore (2015), O’Brien et al. (2014) Exercises, tutorials, resources etc. Institutional factors affecting the library's engagement with MOOCs were: Nature of MOOCs offered by the institution; Institutional coordination of MOOCs; Models of MOOC support; Structure of existing [library] services; [library] Staff and budget. (O’Brien et al., 2014) Sheila Webber, 2015
  6. 6. Your involvement in MOOCs • What roles have you experienced, if any? • If you are not a librarian, may be roles not on the diagram • Are there roles you plan to have or aspire to? • Discuss in groups of 2/ 3 • Quick feedback
  7. 7. What is the nature of the teaching- Learning Environment for the MOOC learners?
  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! Sheila Webber, 2015
  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, 2015
  10. 10. The Teaching-Learning Environment Entwistle et al. (2004: 3) A further key influence in specifying design & quality is the MOOC platform provider and the MOOC platform itself Sheila Webber, 2015 These elements may be less important in MOOCs’ learning design
  11. 11. “The most surprising insight that emerged from the interview accounts was just how significant a role the FutureLearn platform played in the course development process. Firstly, the platformʼs available activity formats largely dictated design..... Secondly, FutureLearn exercised tight control over course content and communications ... A rigorous ʻquality assuranceʼ process described by the technical developer involved editing of course content and emails to learners.” Colhoun (2014: 54, 56)
  12. 12. Who are the learners?
  13. 13. Demographics e.g. • Nationality • Gender • Age • Occupation • Educational level • Whether have previously engaged with MOOCs
  14. 14. Motivation/ Intention • Active; Passive; Lurking [though may just lurk inside the MOOC] (Milligan et al., 2013) • Fulfilling current needs; Preparing for the future; Satisfying curiosity; Connecting with people (Zheng et al., 2015) • Completing; Auditing [don’t do assessments]; Disengaging; Sampling (Kizilcec et al., 2013)
  15. 15. What kind of MOOC is it?
  16. 16. Conole’s (2014) MOOC dimensions (to be rated as low, medium and high) • How Open? • How Massive? • How great a diversity of participants? • Is there use of varied multimedia • What is the degree of (forms of) communication • What degree of collaboration is enabled/ required? • Amount of reflection demanded/ encouraged in the MOOC? • Nature of Learning pathway: is it linear or more flexible? • What form of Quality assurance? • Is there certification of learning? • Is there a link to Formal Learning? • What is the degree of learner Autonomy? Sheila Webber, 2015
  17. 17. Sharpe et al’s (2006) Dimensions of blended learning • Delivery: different modes (face-to-face and distance education) • Technology: what mix of technologies or applications is used? • Chronology: synchronous or asynchronous interventions • Locus: practice-based or class-room based learning • Roles: are people with different roles involved in delivery? multi-disciplinary or professional groupings? • Pedagogy: what kind of pedagogical approach? • Focus: does it acknowledge the different aims of different learners? • Direction: is it instructor-directed vs. autonomous or learner- directed learning? Sheila Webber, 2015
  18. 18. How do people engage with information in a MOOC?
  19. 19. Literature (not research) on information literacy and MOOCs • Focus on enabling access to resources (linking, open access, copyright cleared) and supporting/ developing academic-type information literacy • Linking to resources & creating search guides (e.g. Wright, 2013) • Teaching information literacy within a MOOC (e.g. Bayne, 2013; Eisengraber-Pabst, Vogt and Deimann, 2014) • Mapping connectivist activities of aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed forward onto ACRL (2000) standards (Bond, 2015)
  20. 20. • “Strong critical thinking, evaluation and analysis skills are essential in navigating the plethora of information sources available, and given the wide range of locations that open resources can be found, so are strong searching skills.” (Elliott and Fabbro, 2015:137) • “Advice can be given to the faculties as to what fundamental information literacy learning materials can be provided to the student upon enrolment on the MOOC to “teach students to become critical thinkers capable of being independent learners” (Franklin and Stephen 2010, 36–37); this can only be achieved if the MOOC can “teach students to become responsible users of information, this requires time spent reviewing how to take information from a source, to select only the most important pieces of information, and to paraphrase, summarise, or quote the source correctly” (Vent 2010, 28–30).” (Gore, 2014: 8)
  21. 21. Thus strong focus on academic IL, and particularly searching and evaluating
  22. 22. Study in information behaviour in the Exploring Play MOOC
  23. 23. Exploring Play MOOC, Sep-Nov 14 • Cross faculty team: I led week 6 of 7 on “virtual play” • Each week has steps; with videos, articles, comment- based discussion and a quiz • Each step has a comment thread • Use of a few tools outside the platform, but mostly interactions inside • Learners asked to remember, reflect, carry out observations and playful activities Sheila Webber, 2015
  24. 24. 17,000 learners registered, 8,954 did at least one step, 1,391 completed; 70,000 comments Sheila Webber, 2015
  25. 25. Demographics • No demographics for total populations: profile is short and no obligation to give age, gender, location Sheila Webber, 2015 My profile and my avatar tweets a toy selfie
  26. 26. MOOC demographics in 2014 • 5,515 respondents to pre-course questionnaire • 93% female; 61% aged 26-45; 54% from UK • 75% working either full or part time • 78% first degree or above • 60% wished to add a fresh perspective to current work Sheila Webber, 2015
  27. 27. So could say that • Majority in work; from comments evident many working professionally with children • Therefore relevance of workplace, rather than academic, information literacy? • Age profile (and comments) indicate many have families • Thus likely to have developed work and family networks • In contrast platform does not enable forming of groups, and is an enormous cohort, so links less likely to develop Sheila Webber, 2015
  28. 28. Exercise on information behaviour • Exercise during my week of the Play MOOC, on virtual play • A short video, presented by my Second Life avatar, described information behaviour, and gave examples of acquiring information inside and outside SL • 673 comments • Following are impressions from an initial scan through comments, not a formal analysis Sheila Webber, 2015
  29. 29. • Now, think about how you discovered any information you needed for this course and post a comment below. • Did you stay inside the course? For example scanning the videos to find what you wanted, reading the educators’ articles, asking questions in discussion threads. • Did you search for material outside the course? If so, what did you do - for example did you search Google, ask friends and family, use books, journals or magazines? • Did you tend to go searching for information, browse round for it (e.g. reading through a lot of discussion posts) or bump into information by chance? • Do you think you’ve learnt things through play that you’ve used in other parts of your life? Sheila mentioned things such as learning leadership or teamwork skills, through using games like World of Warcraft, but you needn’t restrict the discussion to computer games My introductory questions for the discussion in comments
  30. 30. 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
  31. 31. • 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
  32. 32. Exercise • Work in groups of 2 or 3 • Pick a MOOC to examine: one that one of you is/ will be engaged with • If don’t have a MOOC in mind: use the “Exploring Play” MOOC • Map the teaching-learning environment as far as you can (some aspects may be unknown) • Look at the MOOC – the platform and the specific MOOC – see if you can categorise it using Conole’s and/ or Sharpe’s dimensions • Think about the learners and their characteristics and intentions
  33. 33. What are the implications for the IL support and education that learners will need? • You might want to think about the whole MOOC or one part of the MOOC • Focus more on what learners’ needs and your aims might be, rather than how you might meet/achieve them • Record your ideas however you want (document, powerpoint, on paper) • Prepare to share them
  34. 34. Sheila Webber Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa SL: Sheila Yoshikawa Orcid ID 0000-0002-2280-9519 Pictures by Sheila Webber, taken in Second Life
  35. 35. References • Bayne, G. (2013, September 16) CNI 2013 Podcast: Information Literacy MOOCs at Wake Forest University. Coalition for Networked Information. moocs-wake-forest-university • Bond, P. (2015). Information Literacy in MOOCs. Current Issues in Emerging eLearning, 2(1), Article 6. • Colhoun, N. (2014). Learning from learning analytics: can data analysis of a futurelearn mooc usefully inform design for learning? MSc Dissertation. Sheffield: University of Sheffield. • 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. • 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. Sheila Webber, 2015
  36. 36. • Elliott, C. and Fabbro, E. (2015) The Open Library at AU (Athabasca University): supporting open access and open educational resources. Open Praxis, 7(2), 133–140 • 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. • Kizilcec, R. F., Piech, C., & Schneider, E. (2013). Deconstructing disengagement: analyzing learner subpopulations in massive open online courses. In Proceedings of the third international conference on learning analytics and knowledge (pp. 170-179). ACM. • Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A. and Margaryan, A. (2013) Patterns of engagement in Connectivist MOOCs. MERLOT journal of online learning and teaching, 9(2), 149-159. • O'Brien, L. et al (2014) Working Group on Models for Course Support and Library Engagement Report. edX Libraries Collaboration., S. (2013) "Blended information behaviour in Second Life." Journal of information science, 39(1), 85–100 • Sharpe, R. et al. (2006). The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. York: HEA. • Wright, F. (2013) What do librarians need to know about MOOCs? D-Lib magazine, 19 (3/4) • Zheng, S., Rosson, M., Shih, P. and Carroll, J. (2015). Understanding student motivation, behaviors, and perceptions in MOOCs. Motivation and Dynamics of the Open Classroom CSCW 2015, March 14-18, 2015. (pp.1882-1895). ACM. Sheila Webber, 2015