What’s a MOOC?!

A MOOC is a Massive Online Open Course. The basic idea is that various institutes of learning will allow people to essentially audit courses for free, or even to pay a fee to gain various types of credit, from certificates, which have limited use, to actual college credit. Details vary according to who is offering the course, but the learner is the one who decides if they wish to learn simply for curiosity and the love of learning (most common) or if they want to earn some sort of certificate or some other validation of the time spent learning (less common).

There are several websites that specialize in hooking people up with such courses, with just a few being coursera.org, udemy.com and edx.org. You can find out so much about these courses and how they work at various sites around the web, but Forbes posted a good summary recently about the future of MOOCs. Additionally, you may find the following illustration helpful in understanding how an MOOC works:

MOOC_poster_mathplourde

Basically this illustration asks several questions pointing out that the concept remains in the evolutionary stages despite being a web presence for quite some time. So, when you go to various outlets to experience an MOOC you won’t necessarily find the same experience as any other site. Some learners find this exciting, some frustrating. The MOOC doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, so, let’s look at how one in particular works.

I signed up for a course on coursera.org:

1

As I became a registered, free user I was given limited access to class materials: I can follow along, complete readings and assignments but cannot take tests or quizzes or receive any sort of grade. To gain these features I would need to pay a fee to participate officially in Berklee College of Music courses. The fact that I have that option demonstrates one of the advantages of an MOOC–choice.

So, here’s just one example of what I can get for free: a video lecture from the teacher:

3

As I progress through the course I will share the progress and, when the course is complete, I will give my opinion on how helpful (or not) I felt the course was.

Advertisements

Learning Express Library Can Help Patrons Who Cry “Computer Illiterate”

The Learning Express Library has proven helpful to many of our patrons seeking various testing materials for tests such as the HiSET or nursing areas like the HESI or NCLEX. However, did you know that Learning Express has so much more? One tutorial area that could help many of our computer challenged patrons is the Computer Skills Center :

2Lex 1

I selected the “Getting to Know Your Computer” link on the left (red circle) and “Computer Basics 2” on the right (blue rectangle):

2Lex 2

This brought me to a video tutorial:

2Lex 3

On the tutorial you are in total control: the video has a transcript that you can follow along with, download or even print:

2Lex 4

…and you can toggle between chapters as well:

2Lex 5

There are many other computer tutorials in Learning Express, ranging from basic topics detailed in this post, to more complex issues, such as the intricacies of learning how to navigate the internet, to even specific programs, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe products:

2Lex 6

For the willing patron these tutorials can lead to increased productivity and less frustration on the computer.

E-Tools You Can Use

A recent article in the Library Journal, cited below, has informed and inspired this post highlighting several useful e-tools.

C-SPAN Video Library

Do you want to see what the president said yesterday?  What about what the speaker of the house had to say about your pet issue?  The C-SPAN Video Library is the best place to begin searching for such content.  From the site: “…a way to archive and index the thousands of hours of congressional coverage produced by the network every year. The project quickly became one of the most comprehensive video archives of governmental and political content…”

Docteur Tweety

This site does charge a small fee, but it is useful to keep up with how your tweets are performing.

European Language Social Science Thesaurus

This site bills itself as “a broad-based, multilingual thesaurus for the social sciences” and is useful for those who do business within the European Union.

Google Translate Offline Capabilities

You can use Translate even when you’re offline, by taking a picture of the text in question.

The Internet Broadway Database

From the site:  “…the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today.”  So, it’s like imdb.com, but for theater.

Irish Films Archive

“The IFI Irish Film Archive acquires, preserves and makes available Ireland’s moving image heritage, working to ensure that Ireland’s rich and varied film history, both amateur and professional, is protected and accessible for the benefit of current and future generations. Film reels, digital materials and document collections are held in custom-built, climate-controlled vaults designed for the long- term storage of archival materials.”

Knoema

Knoema is full of helpful data on every country in the world.  “We discover, extract, and normalize data to make it usable through our open data platform. Knoema’s smart search engine moves beyond simple keyword search results to dataset discovery and auto-generated visualization collections to represent your data query.”

NewsNow

This is a UK based site, but you can personalize a free homepage with news from sources you prefer from sources all over the world.

Original article:

Price, Gary, and Henrietta Verma. “E-toolkit redux.” Library Journal, 1 Nov. 2016, p. S18+. Business Collectionhttps://goo.gl/bf4xWQ

 

Infotopia

http://www.infotopia.info/

From the site, “Infotopia is an academic search engine designed for “students, teachers, and especially homeschoolers.” Created by Dr. Michael Bell (former chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians) and Carole Bell (former middle school librarian and director of libraries), Infotopia uses a Google custom search to provide access to previously vetted websites selected by librarians, teachers, and educational professionals.” Infotopia provides tabs to different subject areas. These include: Arts, Biography, Games, Health, History, Images, Languages, Literature, Math, News, Reference, Sci/Tech, and Social Sciences. Under each tab, a topic can be selected from different websites, besides the Google-like search that can be done. Citation sources and search tips are also shown on the site.

Collections Search Center – Smithsonian Institution

http://collections.si.edu/search/

The Collections Search Center from the Smithsonian Institution allows a “search over 9.3 million records of museum objects, archives and library materials including more than 1.4 million online media files” (from the site). A Google-like search allows for a perusal of what is in the collections by keyword. Or, the Browse by Category button shows the Art & Design, History & Culture, and Science & Technology collections. A search can also be done for the items on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution Museums.

Statistic Brain

http://www.statisticbrain.com/

Statistic Brain Research Institute provides statistics on all sorts of subjects. Financial, marketing, industry, company, demographic, geographic, crime, health, food, people, sports, media, technology, educational, and government are just some of the main header statistics that are listed. There are more subject listings under each heading. Or, a Google-like search box is also provided to do a statistics search. An example of a search for government information provides the Presidential Election Voter Statistics. The source of the information, a research date, a years’ range coverage (1952-2012), and turnout demographics with percentages are listed.

Pew Research Center

http://pewresearch.org/

The Pew Research Center provides an unbiased view of different issues that shape America. From the site, ” The center conducts public opinion polling, demographic studies, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.” Besides trending issues of the day, the topic index shows information on demographics, the economy, technology, legal issues and other subjects.