Opening Up | Next Steps for MOOCs and Libraries

Ian Chant, Dec 13, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I've never really looked at libraries as being a useful resource for MOOCs because, ironically, libraries have in the digital age collaborated with closed-access publishers to implement barriers to access to digital materials. But this article poinst to some of the ways libraries support MOOCs. One way is through access to the internet itself. "For MOOC students who may have limited access to the Internet at home, public library resources make online learning a viable option." Other libraries have developed their own MOOCs in order to, for example, "create a bridge between the program and the ­collection." Of course, this depends on access to the collection, which may be limited. And offering a "guided MOOC," the third option suggested, regresses back into the world of traditional e-learning. What we really don't have in this article is a description of how libraries can make resources available.I'd love to see libraries support MOOCs more by enabling free and open digital access to collections, where students can do more than just look, but take digital copies and use them in their own work. In time, perhaps.

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