INDIANAPOLIS — The Department of Library and Information Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will launch on April 6 a massive open online course exploring public libraries.
The free, four-week course is open to anyone anywhere, but RSVP required. Persons interested in the course are encouraged to register in advance, but registration will continue after the class begins.
The course will cover four topics, one each week. The topics are: the “Customer Service and the User Experience,” “Youth Librarianship: Best Practices to Serve our Youngest Patrons,” “Technology: Improving Library Services by Managing Technology,” and “Community Engagement,” said Andrea Copeland, an assistant professor in the department. Copeland, who developed the course, will teach the Community Engagement section.
Given the central role of information technology in libraries and the transition of the Master of Library Science to an entirely online program, creating the massive open online course was a natural step for the department, Copeland said. The Department of Library and Information Science is in the IU School of Informatics and Computing.
“Our degree is open to a national audience in a way that it was never before,” she said. “The library community is national and international and I thought this would be a good way to let people know we’re here and what we’re really good at.”
One of the department’s strongest areas is public libraries, Copeland said. “The course is a digital open house where people can, at no cost, and with as much energy as they wish to expend, learn about our program and what’s going on in public libraries.”
An equally important goal is to explore the feasibility of using the online site for the course for professional development of Hoosier librarians.
As of March 31st, 206 people have registered for the course from 20 states and three countries. About half of the people who registered for the course are librarians. The Indiana State Library will award 12 educational credits for the course.
The course will feature instructional video as well as resources to read, explore and view. Participants, have freedom to work at their own pace, will have the option to participate in weekly discussions, take quizzes on the week’s lectures and readings.