MOOCs IFLAMOOCs — we are just seeing all the wonderful opportunities!  There will be lots more in our future.

Yesterday the Continuing Professional Development & Workplace Learning section of IFLA hosted a terrific program called MOOCs: Opportunities & Challenges for Libraries.  Sandy Hirsh of San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science started off with a look at what academic institutions are doing with MOOCS — she had some great stats and information.  I’m hoping that her slides and the others from this  session will be available.  ! will update this post when I have the link and if I don’t get the link I’m hoping that you will see much (and more) of this program at Computers in Libraries 2015, March 23-5 in DC.  And if you have experience with MOOCs, please consider joining us at CIL — the call for speakers is still open!

Michael Stephens, also from San Jose, talked about the successful MOOC for professional development that he did for the global library community last year with 400 participants.  Called the Hyperlinked Library, this MOOC was successful even if all the participants did not finish (only 15% did) — 76% said they got something out of the experience.  What they liked included global networking, learning about their own learning style, renewed thinking and a fresh outlook.  Michael also talked about the roles for librarians within MOOCs including learning guides, access providers, creators and learners.  The participants of this MOOC continue the conversation on a Facebook page that the course alumni started themselves.  I believe that the course will be given again this fall.

Wendy Newman from the University of Toronto iSchool talked about the MOOC she created and ran earlier this year on Library Advocacy.  More than 4,400 people participated. She echoed Michael Stephens comments about people getting lots out of the MOOC even if they didn’t finish.  Course completion is not necessarily a good metric at this early stage of MOOCs.  I loved her term, “designers of learning”.

John Szabo, City Librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library, talked about how public libraries are the engines of development in their communities. He sees lots of opportunities for MOOCs in public libraries and acknowledges the strong role that PLs can play in active learning organizations — which his library, and other, definitely are.  He sees public libraries not only as MOOC providers but also developers — we’ll certainly see more in the future as public libraries embrace the role of eCampus in their  community.

Loida Garcia Febo talked about the use of MOOCs globally.  Jan Holmquist talked about other open education initiatives, especially the 23 Mobiles Things which he started in Denmark and which has been adopted in many other countries.  It is based on Helene Blowers‘ (here’s my post from 2007 about that) original 23 Things concept, but updated for the current information and social media environment.  I loved Jan’s discussion of “unlearn, hack, learn”, the hidden treasures of gamification and different platforms for different types of learning.  If you want to create a 23 mobile things education platform for your staff or community, he’ll be leading at workshop at Computers in Libraries 2015 on March 22nd in Washington DC.  In addition. that conference will likely have a whole day of presentations around MOOCs and other innovative education opportunities which have exciting new roles for libraries!