MOOCs and Libraries: an overview of the landscape, and how libraries can serve the “inside out” classroom.


Merrilee Proffitt

Slides available at SlideShare


MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, have become all the rage, with numerous institutions joining forces with both commercial and non profit partners: Udacity, Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, and others. The US-based Babson Survey Research Group recently found that although 55 percent of institutions said they were undecided about their plans for offering MOOCs, 9.4 percent said they were in the planning stages of offering one, and 2.6 percent have already taken the plunge;  the same survey showed the number of students taking at least one course online has reached an all-time high of 32 percent. With several European institutions signed on as Coursera partners and the launch of the Open University-backed FutureLearn in 2012, and the University of Amsterdam announcing plans to offer their own MOOC in early 2013, MOOCs will soon spread across and throughout Europe.

This presentation will address how libraries are engaged in MOOC efforts on campus, and how libraries are rethinking services with the prospect of an “inside out” classroom. We’ll report on how libraries are supporting early MOOC implementations  by engaging in discussions around copyright, licensing, and open access; how libraries are supporting course production; how librarians are becoming “embedded” in MOOC environments in order to provide evolved research services; and finally, what we know about the “massive” audiences for these online courses.

Merrilee Proffitt is a Senior Program Officer in OCLC Research. She provides project management skills and expert support to institutions represented within the OCLC Research Library Partnership. Her current projects and interests include: archival description, increasing access to special collections, the impact of copyright on primary source material, digital library initiatives, looking at developing better relationships between Wikipedia and cultural heritage institutions, and how Massively Open Online Courseware (MOOCs) may impact libraries.


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