This Week in LIS - 3 May 2013

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Headline of the Week: Why Do They Offer MOOCs?

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were spent at a conference with approximately 50 higher education CIOs. Some were from smaller schools of Luther’s size and others were much bigger. It was an interesting and valuable event. Initially it was interesting because of the unique conference model. Start-up firm Consero hosted the event. Consero hosts conferences that bring together industry specific, like kind leader groups. In this case it was their first offering for CIOs in higher education. To the CIOs the conference was free. The investment required was the time and the travel expenses and for some of us preparing to lead panel-based discussions (“cloud” in my case).

They also invited sponsoring, vendor firms who fund the conference. The vendors get to listen to the conversation further informing their understanding of the issues that group is facing. In addition, the vendors get to have some private conversations with participants in order to further talk about requirements and presumably to share their offering stories. Participants are free to follow up with vendors as they will after the conference.

It was also interesting because of the conversation. Each day there were great topics. The conversations were guided by prepared and provocative questions. Because there was very little “presenting” going on there was great opportunity to get to know and learn from others. Topics included operational excellence, development of the next “class” of CIOs, security and privacy, business intelligence and analytics, and approaches for aligning systems, staff and constituents. These examples were all on the first day! There were many other great topics.

One of the more interesting conversations concerned the over-hyped topic of MOOCs. The conversation began with a number of the schools sharing their stories and motivations for developing and delivering MOOCs. There were differences across the stories but there was a common theme. They nearly all shared the motivation of improving teaching and learning for their traditional enrolled students and, for many of them, to improve face to face in classroom teaching and learning.

Reports were shared that the act of developing a MOOC led instructors to revisiting approaches and coming up with ideas for improved in-classroom teaching and learning. Others spoke of the data that comes from MOOCs being leveraged for improvements to teaching and learning. Still others commented that when they offer MOOCs participants include in the classroom, for credit students. An interesting tidbit was the observation that some students take the MOOC “for free” prior to enrolling and taking the course for a grade, spreading the learning over a longer period of time and reducing uncertainty for the graded portion.

If one of the key motivations is improvement to teaching and learning, how do we at Luther tap into the stream of insights emerging from these experiences? What are the expectations on our students at they go to graduate schools and are invited/expected to contribute to MOOCs their graduate schools are offering? As proponents for lifelong learning, is it important that our students come to learn how to do well in MOOCs?

Setting aside the specifics of MOOCs and considering “on-line” technologies, what are the implications for our students that become teachers? Is it important they have both experienced and experimented with “on-line” technologies?

What does LIS need to be prepared to support and enable for our faculty and students’ long-term success? What role can MOOCs and other on-line learning resources play in our team’s training and professional development needs?

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LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council is the leadership team within LIS. Among the topics discussed this past week were:

  • LIS Operational Agenda
    • Council members will be reporting on LIS operational views (metrics for processes and status of projects) regularly at LIS Council meetings. This week’s reports included the following:
    • Network & Systems
      • Adam showed graphs of internet bandwidth usage this week. The graphs show high utilization on our NEIT and Mediacom connections during the periods of time that our connection with ICN has been down this week. The ICN had made router configuration changes that led to the performance problems over the ICN connection.
      • We looked at the graph of wireless errors for the Miller wireless network. If there has been a decrease in errors since last week’s experiment in partially shutting off 802.11B, it is a pretty small decrease.
    • User Services
      • Diane shared project updates from User Services including recent events that were streamed: the Cathedral Choir Homecoming Concert and Jazz Orchestra Homecoming concert. Preparations for commencement continue.
      • We discussed the summer faculty roll for Music and Nursing; submissions are due Friday, May 3. Planning for classroom and lab summer upgrades is also in progress.
      • In terms of staffing, we are searching for a Help Desk Specialist. We have all User Services student worker positions for the summer filled.
      • The Technology Help Desk has been gearing up to assist faculty, staff, and students remove Luther’s Sophos antivirus from their personally owned machines and install personal versions of antivirus products. They have also been fielding questions related to network performance due to the recent disruptions in service.
  • New Items
    • Sophos
      • The team continues to communicate and support the change to personal virus scanning options for students, faculty and staff for their personal computers. There was helpful, informative conversation Wednesday morning at the LIS General concerning the antivirus project.
    • LIS General
      • We continued the small group conversation from the Wednesday morning LIS General in preparation for the summer LIS Strategy Days. We then submitted our response to the survey which asked, “What are the topics or issues that we need to have more conversation on as LIS?” and “What are your suggestions regarding mechanisms/ approaches for how we can get to the best possible workplan for next year?”
    • Budget
      • Each budget director is preparing fiscal year end outlooks for their budgets. Affordable remaining purchases are being prioritized.

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Course Format Date Location Enrollment
Science Teaching and Learning May 13 2013 – 3:30pm 5:00pm Open
Science Pedagogy and Practice Jun 1 2013 – 6:00pm Jun 3 2013 – 3:00pm TBA Open

Training and instruction is provided to the Luther Community through Faculty Development Sessions, Library Instruction Sessions, Product Demonstrations, Skills Training, Workshops, 1-on-1 Sessions, and Online Materials. To schedule a session, contact the LIS Technology Help Desk at x1000 or enter your request online at

This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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