This Week in LIS - 7 June 2013

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Headline of the Week: Early MOOC Analysis and Technology and Information Literacy Workshop

A number of the “TWILIS Headlines” have discussed various topics and ideas related to MOOCs. The sheer number of such posts suggested to me that it might be important to be clear why I find them so interesting. For me the fundamental interest is that I think there are things that can be learned from them and I think that they do represent an alternative approach to learning and in the broadest sense they will compete for higher education students in some fashion.

There is a significant amount of risk capital (e.g. venture capital) going into alternative higher education models including MOOCs. The hype has minds all over the place thinking about them (including mine). Most top research institutions are in the game to some degree. With each new article on the topic the string of comments suggests many, many people are doing MOOCs, tire-kicking MOOCs, or thinking about MOOCs. edX and Coursera collectively claim over 4.5M enrollees to date. The debates on value and outcomes and anticipated impacts are extraordinary!

My interest is in harvesting from the experiences. Harvests can include ideas, patterns, building blocks, or materials and content. What can we learn and what can we leverage? Time earned back through asset leverage is more time that can be spent differentiating our students’ experiences and our offerings. MOOCs represent a change in the environment. As a dynamic open system they present opportunities and potentially challenges.

For our part we are involved in a number of things that might find insights from MOOCs. One point of intersection is that they are a kind of on-line course and we are piloting on-line courses in our summer sessions. Further, both MOOCs and “flipped classrooms” include creating or leveraging videos. We are seeing more experimenting in this area. As a member of the ACM we are involved in an experiment, specifically with an online calculus class. I expect there are many other intersections going on with projects that faculty have of which I am simply not aware. Please pass on any examples you know of in your areas; I would appreciate the opportunity for engagement with an eye towards enablement and support from LIS.

The referenced article is an early analysis of the information captured from MIT’s MOOC 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics). This is a required undergraduate course for majors in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Because the course is fully on-line and students involved work in an electronically mediated environment, their clickstreams are captured and can be analyzed. Much of what is reported is interesting and the information they share provides good information and calibration for evolving mental models about MOOCs. Much makes sense and is otherwise not surprising. For example higher success was correlated to collaboration with others offline on the course material (e.g. a student group). We
find that also to be the case with traditional classroom learners.

Other tidbits make you say “Hmmmm.” As an example the country with the 4 largest constituency in the course came from Columbia and 5 India, and UK were one, two and three. China was way down the list; not what I might have expected. Another interesting tidbit was the level of participation in the discussion forums. Only 3% of 155,000 enrolled students participated. However, 52% of those that “passed” were active on the forums. Much of the use of forums was in simply reading and studying the information provided by others.

There are many more questions offered in the paper for further analysis than are answered but it is compelling to see some of the early analysis.

This week was also the “Enhancing Student Learning Through Information Literacy and Technology” workshop co-sponsored by LIS and the Dean’s Office. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in on day two’s presentations and activities. Day two included 11 faculty members sharing ideas they had for projects to enhance some element of their teaching and learning. There were great ideas with broad range.

I was proud of the LIS team. I very much appreciate their service orientation and the collective breadth and depth of the skills the team brought to the faculty. I was also encouraged by the reaction of the faculty to those offerings. The combination of good faculty ideas and enabling possibilities from LIS led to very encouraging and enthusing conversations for collaborations. One idea would build on another.

I look forward to the later “lunch and learn” sessions to see what outcomes they experienced in their teaching and learning and what further lessons we can collectively learn and share.

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom: Research into edX’s First MOOC by Lori Breslow, David Pritchard, Jennifer DeBoer, Glenda Stump, Andrew Ho, and Daniel Seaton in “Research and Practice in Assessment,” Vol. 8, Summer 2013.

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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 the past two weeks were:

  • New Items
    • May 24 Strategy Day
      • We shared our reactions to the May 24 LIS Strategy Day with each other. We found the StrengthsFinder exercises useful and plan to have the results for LIS available electronically so they can be referenced throughout the upcoming year and beyond.
    • LIS Credit Card Handling
      • We have a request from OFS to “normalize” the LIS use/handling of Luther credit cards (for those that have them) with the rest of the Luther community. Currently we have some members that secure their credit cards personally (e.g. on their person or locked in desk) and we have others that have them locked in Luther’s vault and they check them out when they need to use them. We will develop a migration plan to eliminate the checking in and out process for LIS. One option is for those with credit cards to personally secure them (independent of frequency of use) and the other option is to return them and cancel their accounts.
    • Library Entry Way
      • We discussed options for how to handle access to the library during anticipated repairs of the front entry. More discussion required.
  • Returning Items
    • LIS Annual Report
      • The due date for the draft of the LIS 2012-13 Annual Report was May 31 and the target for the final version is June 28. We discussed ways in which to arrive at objectives for 2013-14, displaying the template documents and sharing what teams have done thus far.
    • LIS Website Transition
      • Ryan provided an update on the LIS website transition from Drupal to Reason and we discussed general timeline and communication regarding the transition.
    • Year-End Budgets
      • We reviewed where we are in terms of the 2012-13 budget in each of our areas and plans to balance amongst our budgets.

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
Teaching the Diverse Millenial Student Population (Day 1 of 2) Jun 25 2013 – 10:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Teaching the Diverse Millenial Student Population (Day 2 of 2) Jun 26 2013 – 10:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Constitutional Law (Day 1 of 2) Workshop Jul 9 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Constitutional Law (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Jul 10 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Next Generation Science Standards: Discussing implications for Luther science programs (Day 1 of 2) Workshop Jul 11 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Next Generation Science Standards: Discussing implications for Luther science programs (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Jul 12 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Luther Admissions: Building the first-year class Workshop Jul 17 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Nansen Open
Paideia 111 & 112: Reading the Works (Day 1 of 2) Workshop Aug 19 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Main 114 Open
Paideia 111 & 112: Reading the Works (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Aug 20 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Main 114 Open
So you want to do a survey: Doing online survey projects with Qualtrics Workshop Aug 21 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Luther sudents and the ability to reason Workshop Aug 22 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Paideia 111/112 New Instructor Workshop (Day 1 of 2) Workshop Aug 26 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 26 2013 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Paideia 111/112 New Instructor Workshop (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Aug 27 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 27 2013 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Updates for Academic Advisors Faculty Development Aug 28 2013 – 1:00pm 3:00pm Main 114 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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