This Week in LIS - 17 May 2013

Weekly news and updates from Luther College Library and Information Services. To receive email updates, please sign up here.

Headline of the Week: MOOC-based Graduate Degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech

It was only October of last year I first mentioned MOOCs in a TWILIS headline. Luther’s Board of Regents had expressed interest and I had the opportunity to research the topic and share some thoughts. By December I spoke about a couple of the companies trying to make a business from the concept and first thoughts about how we might leverage some of the content within LIS on the path to helping our students gain critical skills to help them with success on their “next step,” whether to graduate school, a service opportunity or their first post graduation job. By February the University of Wisconsin had announced a “competency-based” degree. The idea was that an ambitious student could learn from whatever materials and experiences they could find (including MOOCs) on their own and the UW would test them, award credits and ultimately a degree; no class time required. Later that same month, the University of Minnesota jumped into the fray announcing that it too would offer MOOCs. In March California introduced legislation that would force California schools to accept credits earned from a vetted set of MOOCs. Last month came the announcement that Stanford would join with edX to create an open-source software platform to deliver MOOCs.

On Tuesday, Georgia Tech pulled all these pieces together and put a price tag on it. They intend to leverage the MOOC delivery concept and deliver, through a partnership with Udacity, a coordinated suite of courses, support and exams. The successful student will earn a MS in Computer Science from Georgia Tech and never need to set foot on the campus. The price is just $7,000. It is expected that the program would take a student 3 years. I expect that timetable presumes they are continuing to work while they take courses.

AT&T is kicking in $2M into the project. I read three things into this. The first is that AT&T thinks enough of this to invest in an experiment. The second is that the business is valuing the idea of on-going/life long learning. In the technology world, where the pace of change is ferocious, companies want people that both know how to learn the “new-new thing” and that also do it. The third thought is that this becomes a much, much cheaper alternative offering to the continuing education benefit offered by many large tech companies today at retail credit rates from local universities one course at a time. If this works not only do employees signal their lifelong learning ability and interest by engaging in such a program but AT&T could stop traditional continuing education and offer this much cheaper alternative. Recall all of this is “free” unless you want to earn a degree. AT&T may not feel it needs to even fund the new MS degree for its employees. Accruing value from employee learning is valuable to AT&T. The credential may be more valuable to the individual. Further this format can be used across the world.

MOOCs must be at maximum hype (reference the Gartner “hype-curve” idea) by now. The string of changes has occurred in a mere eight months. The “trough of disillusionment” must surely be right around the corner. I am amazed by the level of commitment that some of these higher education organizations are making at this point in time. Much “brand” is being risked it seems to me. Sometimes first movers can be the winner that takes most or all. Sometimes the first mover just spends a lot of money. Regardless these ideas will mature. The technology will mature and the effectiveness will increase.

What does this mean to us? Do we need to prepare our students to leverage this learning model? Perhaps it is just another approach, among many, to “life-long learning.” If companies put value on students’ ability to learn with these tools, will prospectives and their parents begin asking us what we are doing to prepare our students for this sort of future? Will our students begin to feel the need to be prepared to be good at learning in this way to impress hiring firms?

What do you think?

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Georgia Tech to Offer a MOOC-Like Online Master’s Degree, at Low Cost

Paul
paul.mattson@luther.edu


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 shared an update on a problem a professor had administering an on-line final. Students were unable to get into their “quiz” in a timely manor. Investigation and diagnosis are still underway. A commitment was made by Paul that LIS (Marcia lead) would do a post-mortem to see what we can learn and do to prevent/preclude in the future. We discussed the implications and consequences of the growing number of devices that naturally seek to gain access to our wireless network. These devices (e.g. smart phones) compete for access with other devices (e.g. laptops) and bandwidth at a time when the usage and dependence on the wireless network is also growing (e.g. on-line final).
    • User Services
      • New for commencement this year, LIS is streaming the commencement service and producing the DVD for sale to graduates. LIS is also streaming baccalaureate. Video Memories had provided the video production services in the past.
      • Work orders are being created for faculty, staff, and emeriti who have Sophos installed on their personally owned computers so we can assist in removal of Luther’s Sophos and installation of the vendor’s Sophos or other antivirus solution. Luther will end support of Luther’s Sophos on personally owned workstations the end of May.
      • Work orders will also be created for faculty and staff who have a Mac that does not yet have the kbox agent installed. Installation of the agent will allow LIS to provide necessary updates to the workstations without interruption of service to the faculty/staff. Windows workstations and many of the Macs already have the agent installed.
      • As we are considering extending the library hours until 1 am Sunday through Thursday and until 9 pm on Fridays, Diane shared related statistics. These included the number of first call resolutions recorded the last hour the Technology Help Desk is open and also the number of checkouts during the last hour the Circulation Desk is open.
  • New Items
    • Strategy Days
      • We discussed plans for the upcoming LIS Strategy Days. Details will be shared with LIS yet this week.
    • Emails for Alumni
      • The question has been raised as to whether or not alumni who are employees should have a different Luther email address while they are employed at Luther in order to maintain a separation of work and personal communications and to reduce complexities when they transition from Luther to their next opportunity. Resolving this question will be an objective for next year.
    • MISO
      • We have been invited to participate in the 2014 MISO Survey and have typically participated every two or three years. The last year we participated was 2012. Further discussion is required.
    • Bike Repair Station
      • Gary Brinkman called to share that a bicycle repair station will be installed on a cement slab in the area where the yellow bikes are parked. He wanted to know if anyone had concerns. Proper water drainage away from the building was the only concern.
    • 5Ghz Residence Hall Proposal
      • LIS is planning to increase availability of 5Ghz wireless and is guiding students to that support in order to improve the overall performance of wireless on campus and to reduce demand for 2.4Ghz wireless support.
  • Returning Items
    • Digital Media
      • We have created a 3 year staged plan for Phase 1 of the Digital Media Proposal. This balances affordability with creating value for the community. Cabinet has reviewed this and is carrying the item on its list of potential projects. We expect to have a decision soon about whether we can proceed with the first stage in 2013-14. The proposal calls for creating video studio and lab space and provides a level of investment for equipment in the first year.
    • Document Imaging
      • This project has been approved by the Cabinet. Funds are being allocated for the capitalizable portion of the project and for the operational budget portion. Discussion continues on planning the staffing and funding for the backfile scanning.
    • Reason Migration
      • Ryan shared that the LIS website will soon be ready to go live on Reason. An important element remaining is the blog and the blog history. An additional item that needs to be worked out is the “push” of the TWILIS to those that not necessarily interested in getting updated with all other blog posts.
    • SQL Server/Datatel
      • Marcia shared that about 20% of the Luther unique Datatel customizations remain to be ported over to the SQL Server based environment. When this work is complete we will begin testing and debugging those customizations; a critical step on the path to completing the migration. In the meantime the report writing capabilities are being used in various departments across campus on the SQL Server environment.

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 and Learning in Compressed Terms Faculty Development May 20 2013 – 4:00pm 7:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Nobel Closed
Advising at Luther: Workshop for Faculty Advisors (Day 1 of 2) Workshop May 22 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Baker Commons Open
Advising at Luther: Workshop for Faculty Advisors (Day 2 of 2) Workshop May 23 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Baker Commons Open
Reciprocity in Study Abroad Workshop May 29 2013 – 12:00pm 1:30pm Open
Science Pedagogy and Practice Jun 1 2013 – 6:00pm Jun 3 2013 – 3:00pm TBA Open
Enhancing Student Learning Through Information Literacy and Technology – Summer 2013 Faculty Workshop Workshop Jun 3 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Closed
Enhancing Student Learning Through Information Literacy and Technology – Summer 2013 Faculty Workshop Workshop Jun 5 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Closed
Enhancing Student Learning Through Information Literacy and Technology – Summer 2013 Faculty Workshop Workshop Jun 6 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Closed
Teaching the Diverse Millenial Student Population (Day 1 of 2) Jun 25 2013 – 10:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Teaching the Diverse Millenial Student Population (Day 2 of 2) Jun 26 2013 – 10:00am 12:00pm Main 114 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 Open
Next Generation Science Standards: Discussing implications for Luther science programs (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Jul 12 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Open
Luther Admissions: Building the first-year class Workshop Jul 17 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm 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 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 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 http://help.luther.edu.


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

Content is made available under Creative Commons license. Creative Commons License