I sighed heavily when I signed into this blog, wincing that the last post was quite some time ago. The storm tossed semester at Bookcharmer's university made the days pass in a wild fashion. Today, I charm from my personal lair, where, after a restorative day off, I am again prepared to make bold statements.
Today, I proclaim I am not going to give up on the idea of making educational content widely and freely available to as many people as possible.
I will work to get the attention of content distributors, be they profit or non-profit, and promote libraries as sites and supporters of content distribution.
In short, Udacity, EdX, and other MOOCs, you need librarians! Who can introduce me to Sebastian Thrun?
I wrote earlier in this storm-tossed semester about the need to find ways to encourage new ideas and practices instead of stomping them flat. Apparently, I needed to say it a little louder and get more people on board with it. But I also needed to speak up sooner about how libraries in the Bay Area would have been natural partners to help students enrolled in SJSU+.
Here's the thing: we are perfectly poised to help lifelong learners at whatever stage they are because that is what we already do. And we are aware of the severe lack of the technological infrastructure available here in what's it called Valley. That's where we come in, as libraries aim to be the physical and virtual location of lifelong learning.
I want to see more people prepared for learning, to make it easier for them not only to log on to a course from a convenient place but to know about free, open access, credible sources when they have personal information needs about health, money, or poetry. Supporting distance learning is incredibly complex work. However, my campus not only has experts in this, they also know how to teach faculty how to become skilled at online teaching. Have a look at this accomplishment as described here: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/about-slis/news/detail/sjsu-slis-receives-sloan-c-award-honoring-innovation-online-learning
So Professor Thrun, let me offer some encouragement and a sliver of advice. Please do not stop working towards making education more accessible. Please do consort with librarians (we're delightful!) and partner with us because together, we will be unstoppable!