New Librarianship MOOC

Having just received my certificate of completion of the New Librarianship MOOC


I’d like to blog a few thoughts of having participated in the MOOC and some learning outcomes.  There are some reflections and incites from the 2000 plus others still accessible via twitter with the #newlib.  There are a handful of others that have blogged their experiences

Working in an academic library I have heard a lot about MOOCs and the standard thing when attending a talk is often the speaker asking audience to raise hands if participated, and then completed a MOOC.  I first saw via tweets about the upcoming New Librarianship MOOC and the timing suited so applied to participate.  The timing was great too as undertaking a work project blog of Future Library so very topical

This video give a good introduction and overview of the MOOC


All videos and slides are licensed under the Creative Commons license. I understand that post the course it will be publically available, but not sure how that will work  so there might have to be some signing up still required to view it in full, not sure.

The four week course was on the Blackboard platform, came from Syracuse University, and had lots of video clips of the lecturer R. David Lankes. I was impressed with his style, passion, openness about his personal views and life, and very responsive via twitter to questions.  Aligned with the course was text readings within the lecturer’s book Lankes, R. David (2011). The atlas of new librarianship. MITPress, Cambridge & Lankes, R. David (2012). Expect more: demanding better libraries for today’s complex world. Riland Press, Jamesville.  The course content was covered with videos, with text readings, a short multiple choice quiz, and there was a bulletin board to discuss topics on.  There was the option to pay a fee and through additional assessment get credit towards a course unit at the University.

The topic headings over the four weeks were;

Week 1: Librarians
•    The Mission of Librarians
•    Knowledge Creation
•    Facilitating

Week 2: Librarians
•    Communities
•    Improve Society
•    Librarians
•    Salzburg Curriculum

Week 3: Libraries
•    The Mission of Libraries
•    Why Libraries?
•    Library as Platform
•    Grand Challenges of Librarianship

Week 4: Community
•  Share Don’t Lend
•  Kill the User
•  The Deficit Model
•  New Librarianship Criticism

I learnt a lot over the course about library and community.  How the library, and the librarians need to be in close communication and in touch with what its community wants, and open to new possibilities.  It extended my thoughts within the academic environment I work in,  to be there at the table when curriculum design is being thought about, and to be there within my community to listen to them about the pros and cons of what we are currently offering, and think about what we could potentially be offering.

The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation within their communities

The course exposed me to some new ways of thinking and consideration of how to extend yourself in different ways as a service within the community in the name of library.  Some examples were given of public libraries creating food outlets, and community garden outreaches to engage with community. The notion over time of library being a  learning commons environment in the past to allow for the exchange of ideas, to book information horder as the price of books went down to then utilize space in the library just to contain the books, and  to now come back to a learning commons and listening communication exchange, and librarians now hopefully moving out to help direct our community to the information was interesting. Libraries have served as advocates for public accessiblity and for empowerment.  We have a heritage and skills to share with our community, we should not be shy and we should be proud.

I would recommend particiapting in this MOOC, but I did get rather overwhelmed by the reading requirements in the first couple of weeks.  In fact the course content over the first couple of week could more realistically have been expanded to cover two additional weeks for the course to run six rather than four weeks.  During the course they actually extended deadlines by an additional month.  I didn’t participate on the bulletin board which seemed to get lots of entries very quickly early in the course.  I occassionally interacted via twitter using the hashtag.

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3 Responses to New Librarianship MOOC

  1. Pingback: New Librarianship MOOC | Future Library

  2. Sam (@datalibsam) says:

    Thanks for this summary, Graeme. I had a very similar experience to you, I think. I still have a bookmark sitting not very far into the textbook and ended up focusing on getting through the video lectures as that was all I could manage in the available time. I agree that the course could easily have been spread over six weeks rather than four.

    It was my first time participating in a MOOC and I found it interesting to use the technology and observe how the lectures and readings were presented and how interaction was facilitated (or not – the bulletin board was pretty dire so I ended up following the hashtag on Twitter more as well.) I found the content of the course really thought-provoking, and it has really encouraged me to spend more time reflecting on my own professional practice and how I relate to the communities that I work with and am part of. It is easy to get bogged down in thinking about what to do, without taking time out every once in a while to ask why we are doing it!

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