A lot of the discussion about massive open online courses (MOOCs) has revolved around students and professors. What role can academic librarians play in the phenomenon, and what extra responsibilities do MOOCs create for them?
Some of the many jobs librarians could be called on to do in support of MOOCs: library personnel might need to negotiate with publishers over course materials, help make fair-use decisions, track down public-domain images, provide digital production services, set up teaching spaces and equipment, and/or provide TAs with extra support, especially when the lead professor is also very busy with on-campus courses.
Working on MOOCs can be a great way to heighten instructors’ awareness about open access and the licensing of course materials. Jennifer Dorner, the the head of instruction and user services at the University of California at Berkeley says: “This is a real opportunity to educate faculty about the need for owning the rights to their content and making it accessible to other people; this is a really good place for us to educate them about open source and push them in that direction.”