Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Massive Open Online Courses

Guzman, Laura

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.

Descriptive Summary:
This article discusses the impact that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are having on academic library services.  MOOCs are unique because they are usually free, with no time boundaries or prerequisites, and have the ability to remix content to individual needs.  At one time a class could have hundreds of thousands of students. 

MOOCs began when the University of Manitoba, Canada launched an open course in 2008.  Shortly afterwards, Stanford University began free online courses which became a start-up called Udacity.  Now there are dozens of other organizations sponsoring MOOCs such as Coursera, Khan Academy, and edX.  Coursera has developed the largest peer-grading system to date with thousands of students reviewing each other’s work. 

Where does the librarian fit into these MOOCs?  Information literacy is crucial to the success of these courses.  The librarian needs to continue to connect people with information.  A newer role for librarians is to be an ambassador for collaboration between students, professors, and this online environment.  A librarian might help a professor by questioning sources, choosing a presentation medium, developing a search strategy, selecting relevant databases and resources, and formulating questions.  A few challenges might be influencing faculties, copyright, delivering remote services, and dealing with a very diverse group of students.  

It is not surprising that MOOCs are growing tremendously.  The idea of free education will appeal to so many people.  I have never taken a MOOC, but would like to try it to see how it differs from regular online courses.  MOOCs will be especially popular for those who would like enrichment learning after already completing a degree program.  MOOCs are definitely links that we can add to our research guides in the academic library.  


  1. Hi Laura, good topic. I have so many questions... why would a company sponsor a MOOC and how are they accredited, if they are? I enjoyed the history of these classes and can understand their future growth. Thanks, Toni

  2. Hi Tony. I have a lot of questions too...How can education be free? I guess there are some commercial providers and some non-profit providers. Either way, usually some fees are involved. To get certificates at the end, the user usually has a fee and to earn transfer credits, students usually have to pay to take a proctored exam. I don't think many MOOCs are officially accredited, but I know that they are working on it.