10 + 2 useful reports on MOOCs and online education

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) published a digest of useful reports about MOOCs and online learning three days ago (25 June).

In this post, I look at these reports closely, to identify whether Library services and librarians’ involvement were included and to also take the opportunity to add two more recent reports to the ICDE’s list. If you manage to read up to the end of this post you will find some of my concluding thoughts and a call for adding your views.

 The new reports:

TechNavio, 2014. Global Massive Open Online Courses Market 2014-2018. Infiniti Research Limited. Available at: http://www.technavio.com/report/global-massive-open-online-courses-market-2014-2018 [Accessed July 27, 2014].

This report is the most recently published report (July 07 2014) covering a global forecast about the growth of MOOCs. The 56-pages report envisages that MOOCs will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56.61 percent between 2013-2018.

Unfortunately, I cannot have access to the report due to its cost – being $2,500, for personal use – and therefore I can’t say with certainty whether TechNavio’s analysts considered the impact and challenges for academic libraries in their respective section.

It’s worth having a look at the table of contents and the snippets they reveal, such as the fact that learning analytics and management of big data are a major trend. As it was published in the press release “Big data tools and analytics are increasingly contributing to the increasing popularity of MOOCs. Universities are turning to MOOC providers for large student data analyses. Examination outcomes and assignment grading are made easy with MOOCs because of the online nature, which is otherwise a slow and tedious procedure with traditional data gathering techniques. The records are easily managed with big data tools, giving educators the advantage of real-time data management” (Sandler Research, 2014, para. 2).

Gordon, L., Peters, M.A. & Besley, T., 2014. The Development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in New Zealand, Hamilton, NZ. Available at: https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/development-of-moocs [Accessed July 26, 2014].

The report aims to provide a baseline account (pp. 1, 5) and raise awareness of MOOC-related developments in New Zealand to a mix of educational stakeholders. Although I found the report highly enlightening, the only reference to libraries was made during a discussion with the study’s participants (from which this report arose) on whether a New Zealand MOOC platform should be created, where the National Library Te Papa would be one of the partners, imitating the FutureLearn model.

From ICDE’s list

Hollands, F.M. & Tirthali, D., 2014. MOOCs: expectations and reality, Available at: http://cbcse.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/MOOCs_Expectations_and_Reality.pdf [Accessed July 12, 2014].

Hersh pointed out that it would be prohibitively expensive to provide student services including academic counselling, library services, tutoring, and proctoring to thousands of MOOC participants (2014, p. 61).

Kelly, A.P., 2014. Disruptor, Distracter, or What?: A policymaker’s guide to massive open online courses (MOOCs), Available at: http://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/BW_MOOC_Final.pdf [Accessed July 26, 2014].

MOOCs clearly provide new opportunities to learn. But so do public libraries. (2014, p. 16)

Gaebel, M., 2014. MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses. European University Association Occasional Paper An update on developments in first paper published January 2013, Available at: http://www.eua.be/Libraries/Publication/MOOCs_Update_January_2014.sflb.ashx [Accessed July 26, 2014].

No mention of any library-related issues except for a brief reference to the British Library as part of the UK FutureLearn partnership.

Grainger, B., 2013. Introduction to MOOCs: Avalanche, Illusion or Augmentation?, Moscow. Available at: http://iite.unesco.org/publications/3214722/ [Accessed July 26, 2014].

 This policy brief does not mention any library-related implication.

Van der Vaart, L., 2013. e-InfraNet: “Open” as the default modus operandi for research and higher education M. van Berchum et al., eds., Netherlands: e-InfraNet. Available at: http://e-infranet.eu/output/e-infranet-open-as-the-default-modus-operandi-for-research-and-higher-education [Accessed September 4, 2013].

This paper takes a broader view of openness and discusses some of the institutional implications potentially affecting Libraries as well. For instance, it refers to the preservation of digital assets using as an example the library-led open source LOCKSS system and the importance of up-skilling librarians to be able to proactively assist researchers with OA topics and in managing Research Data.

Finally it refers to the aims of EUDAT (European Data Infrastructure), one of which is to engage libraries in defining and shaping a platform for shared services that makes it possible for data-intensive research to span all the scientific disciplines .(2013, p. 70)

Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, 2013. 2013 Survey on Technology and Instruction: Taking the Board to School on Educational Technology, Washington, D.C. Available at: http://agb.org/reports/2013/2013-survey-technology-and-instruction-taking-board-school-educational-technology [Accessed July 26, 2014].

This survey does not touch upon any library-related implications.

Mor, Y. & Koskinen, T. eds., 2013. MOOCs and Beyond: eLearning Papers 33.European Commission, p. 7. Available at: http://elearningeuropa.info/en/news/moocs-and-beyond-elearning-papers-33-released [Accessed August 27, 2013].

This issue is dedicated to MOOC case studies including ten papers.  Visibility of Librarians is found in the issue’s last article where the authors McCallum, Thomas & Libarkin suggest that Librarians (among other specialties) need to be part of multidisciplinary teams.

Taking as example the delivery of the FoS (Foundations of Science) MOOC in the University of Michigan, the librarians were part of the interdisciplinary teams.

Yuan, L. & Powell, S., 2013. MOOCs and disruptive innovation: Implications for higher education. eLearning Papers, 33. Available at: http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/article/MOOCs-and-disruptive-innovation%3A-Implications-for-higher-education [Accessed July 26, 2014].

The ICDE showcases only this article from the eLearning Papers as part of the ten recommended MOOC reports mentioned directly above it. While it is not clear why this particular article is more significant than the remaining nine, it doesn’t bring any special focus to librarians and any potential disruption to Libraries.

Voss, B.D., 2013. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): A Primer for University and College Board Members, Washington, D.C. Available at: http://agb.org/reports/2013/massive-open-online-courses-moocs-primer-university-and-college-board-members [Accessed July 26, 2014].

It makes two references; the first compares the participating mode in MOOCs as opposed to “older forms of online learning” (2013, p. 4) (synchronous vs. asynchronous delivery and participation where learners used to listen to the lectures using Library facilities)  and the second refers to the Institutional readiness mentioning essential Library services such as “resource discovery, copyright clearance” (2013, p. 19).

Some thoughts:

Interestingly, the reports that broadly discuss openness acknowledge the Librarians ‘emerging role, while in the MOOC-related reports the visibility of Librarians is sparse.

I noticed a similar pattern during my research, while comparing the growing number of Higher Education Institutions offering MOOCs in contrast to the low volume of articles being published by Librarians discussing their contributions in MOOC planning and delivery.

The New Zealand report discussed above raises an interesting point regarding how much Institutions are willing to reveal about their MOOC-related plans. In particular Gordon, Peters and Besley noticed the paradox between the notion of openness and the fact that “some organisations were keen to control the message about MOOCs in their organisations” (2014, p. 6).

It is not clear whether Academic Librarians are bound by a similar code-of-silence-principle as an extension of their Institutional culture or their involvement is not considered significant to be mentioned.  The literature available along with empirical evidence does not necessarily support the latter argument. Librarians do play important role in online delivery of courses and certainly have a strong interest in how MOOCs are affecting their current workloads and roles.

I would be very interested to hear any views in these thoughts that perhaps can shed some light to the lack of discourse involving the Academic Library in the majority of the reports. You can either comment below the post or contribute your view anonymously in the box below.

Reference list (other than the above)

McCallum, C.M., Thomas, S. & Libarkin, J., 2013. The AlphaMOOC: Building a Massive Open Online Course One Graduate Student at a Time. eLearning Papers, 33. Available at: http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/article/The-AlphaMOOC:-Building-a-Massive-Open-Online-Course-One-Graduate-Student-at-a-Time?paper=124335 [Accessed July 26, 2014].

Sandler Research, 2014. Global Massive Open Online Courses Market 2014-2018. SandlerResearch.org. Available at: http://www.sandlerresearch.org/global-massive-open-online-courses-market-2014-2018.html [Accessed July 28, 2014].

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), 2014. Ten useful reports on MOOCs and online education. ICDE. Available at: http://www.webcitation.org/6RM0YPkiL [Accessed July 26, 2014].

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Librarians and Open Educational Resources: Survey Results

Around late October 2013, I had posted an invitation to participate in a survey circulated by the OER Research Hub (OERRH) in collaboration with the Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching (CoPILOT).

The OERRH researcher Beck Pitt started reporting on preliminary results from both questionnaires that targeted Librarians’ views, challenges and practices on creating and using OER, on licensing-related issues, and whether they measure the impact of those efforts.


The 312 respondents contributed to great deal of insight but they also brought to the surface new research questions, for instance,

  • To what extend are librarians making a decision in distributing to students compulsory/optional OER material?

Beck will report on more granular and comparative results in spring 2014. Until then have a look in her detailed preliminary results in her blog, feel free to comment below the post and stay tuned with the OER14 conference where these results will be the focus of our paper.


The image was created with Big Huge Labs (Flickr Toys) http://bighugelabs.com/jigsaw.php

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Celebrating Continuing Development and Open Practice

It took me a while but I finally got there… I can know consider myself a Chartered Librarian!

Celebrating the completion of my Chartership came as a surprise to me; I hadn’t thought it would give me such joy! Possibly because I tend to take as granted the fact that learning is a lifelong process and it makes sense when we spent some time to critically reflect on it.


Click on the image to download the portfolio.

Peter Elbow (1998) worked on the concept of “free writing” as a technique to overcome the writing block, as well as capturing an idea as it occurs without worrying about the rules of good/bad writing. Especially during my Chartership process, it was worth engaging in a 5min activity of reflecting on new ideas which enabled me to observe my growth when new meaning was becoming part of me.

The good habit of taking action on my learning and see it via a reflective lens was perhaps the most valuable outcome of my Chartership.

I also seized the opportunity to engage with Open practices and therefore I licensed my portfolio with a Creative Commons Licence making it public in case other candidates can benefit from relevant examples the way I did.  Moreover, I wanted to reinforce the idea that everything on the web may be public but not free to use unless the creator has stated so.

Finally, having heard of the outcome of my application, it dawned on me how significant the mentor is to the mentee’s achievement.

I would like to thank my mentor, David Clover who helped me see the Chartership through and for his immense patience, as well as Elizabeth Charles and Maria Cotera for the rich conversations and multi-level support and guidance throughout the past three years.


Elbow, P., 1998. Writing without teachers 25th ed., New York: Oxford University Press.

Zazani, E. 2013. CILIP Chartership Portfolio. [CC BY NC-ND]

The 3D model of the portfolio was created with the 3D-box maker [http://www.3d-pack.com/]

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Librarians and Open Educational Resources

In one of my previous posts, I had mentioned the work that has been undertaken by the Open Educational Resources Research Hub  (for short, OER Research Hub or OERRH) and their ongoing research on “What the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices is”.

The COPILOT (Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching) collaborated with the researchers of the OERRH to develop a questionnaire and investigate how Librarians think about and use different types of online resources. 

COPILOT front side of flyer

The research data produced by the project will help people around the world make more informed decisions about online teaching and learning.

The COPILOT and the OER Research Hub would greatly value your participation in our research. To find out more about the project, and to take part in the questionnaire, please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OERRH_Librarian

If you have questions regarding this study, you may contact the OER Research Hub by email: oer-research-hub@open.ac.uk

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MOOCs and Librarians: Join the new #MOOCLib Mendeley Group

I set up a Mendeley group for librarians across all sectors to share literature and resources about the evolving nature of MOOCs and the role of the librarian. You don’t need to be directly involved with MOOCs to join. All are welcome! Members are also encouraged to share their experiences of participating in the MOOC provision in their Institutions. If you have any questions please add them in the comments below or send me a message via twitter to @EleniZazani

There is an ever-growing literature about MOOCs but which is this piece that influenced your thinking most? Let’s start adding content with the most influential for you text.

MOOCs & Librarians is a group in Computer and Information Science, Education on Mendeley

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MOOCs and Librarians: Keep the conversation live

Twitter escultura de arena - Twitter Sand sculpture by Rosaura Ochoa CC BY

Twitter escultura de arena – Twitter Sand sculpture by Rosaura Ochoa CC BY

On Twitter:

This is the second of the MOOCs and Librarians series of posts, following the one on opportunities for discussions via virtual forums and past conferences. Today’s post is focused on Twitter conversations including a poll on setting up a Twitter chat.

If you post MOOC-related news, comments, blog posts etc. try to use the #mooclib tag. I archive the tweets and have enabled open access to everyone who want to keep track of the conversation or see the raw data.

#moocLib Pie chartThe archive starts from the 13th of March 2013, from the first announcements of the Pennsylvania event,  to date. (21 Aug 2013). So far the discussion has generated 3,605 tweets and we have Shared 955 links.

Forthcoming Twitter Chat:

Would you like to chat on Twitter and share concerns? Take the quick poll.


Special thanks to Martin Hawksey for creating the Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet (TAGS) and keeps developing it for us to aggregate tweets. If you want to set up your own archive, start from Martin’s MESHe Blog.

Image credits:

Twitter escultura de arena” by Rosaura Ochoa is shared under a CC BY

“#moocLib Pie chart” by Eleni Zazani is shared under CC BY

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MOOCs and Librarians: Join the #MOOCLib conversation

Derivative work from Ed's Diary of a teaching machine shared with CC BY-NC-SA (see image credits)

Derivative work from Ed’s Diary of a teaching machine shared with CC BY-NC-SA (see image credits)

This is the first of a series of posts that explore and propose communication channels for librarians who are involved or interested in MOOCs.

A few months ago, in March to be exact, a new group was formed, namely, MOOCs and Librarianship, following the first event, “MOOCs and Libraries:
Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?”
, that took place in the University of Pennsylvania to explore challenges and opportunities that arise for Librarians as a result of MOOC provisions within their Institutions.

During this two-day meeting it became apparent that Librarians involved or to-be-involved in MOOCs enter an unexplored area and realised that communication on how to deal with challenges is vital.

Do you want to be part of the dialogue? See below some ways you can get involved.

Through Discussion Groups:

Google Group: MOOCs and Librarianship   – Free to join. Unlike its name the activity is not massive at the moment and therefore you will not be overwhelmed by the stream of conversations.

ACRL Group Discussion Group: Library Support for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Non-Librarian specific group

Association for Learning Technology. Special Interest Group on MOOCs.

Twitter account: @altmoocsig

Follow the outputs of two major Librarian-related Past MOOC events

18 & 19 March 2013
Title: MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?
Organisers: OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Download the presentations, watch the recorded talks and follow the outputs of the meeting.
Twitter conversations: #mooclib


Friday 12 July, 2013, First European MOOCs and Libraries Conference.
Title: MOOCs and Libraries: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Organisers: Open University Library, OCLC Research and JISC
Download the presentations.
Note: [Internet Explorer may cause you difficulty in downloading the presentations. In this case try Firefox or Chrome]
Twitter conversations: #mooclib

Image credits: Derivative work of the “Diary of a teaching machine” by Ed shared under CC BY NC-SA

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