Getting on Board with a MOOC

I recently registered with iSchool at Syracuse University to pursue a course, New Librarianship Master Class, online.  I found out about this class while using Twitter. What should I know about Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) before I get started on July 8th? The best place for me to find the answer is online. Here is what I found in the Chronicle in an article by Karen Head, an assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and Director of the University’s Communication Center.

For  Karen who is writing from the Instructor’s point of view, the weekly conversations or “Hangout” sessions were the most rewarding part of her MOOC. That sounds wonderful because according to the Professor at iSchool, R. David Lankes, Librarians facilitate conversations.  At the same time, Karen Head says the course participants underestimated the misunderstandings that can come about because of language – idiomatic expressions and jargon specific to the discipline.  One complaint from the Instructor point of view was who should decide on the penalty for non completion of peer review activities, the Instructor or the platform, in this case Coursera. Cousera actually decides while Karen thinks it should be the Professor who makes the call. One complaint from the student point of view related to the issue of students (peers) giving peer review when they themselves have failed the peer review training.  Karen Head’s comments were written at the half way point of a Freshman Composition course.

This article by Jeffrey Young has more focus on the students’ point of view.  This is what I learned.  Assignments and expectations of the course need to be clear.  Successful Instructors are treated like celebrities by their students. Reading materials are helpful to MOOCers.  And it helps when the Professors are passionate about the subject. On the negative side, commitment to producing excellent work seems to be lacking in many MOOCers.

I want to keep up with Library trends.  I want to know whatever it is the 21st century librarian needs to know.  I am committing to doing my best in this class.