SOBA: How are MOOCs Changing Science Education? > December 10 2012 > 4PM - 5:30 PM ET

Norma Jean Hewlett hewlett at USFCA.EDU
Wed Dec 5 17:36:03 EST 2012

The Stanford AI course was the first mooc I took, and like Steven, I found
that it required more math than I know. I used Kahn videos to try and catch
up. I guess that could be considered "research" tho I never thought of it
that way.

I spent a lot of time watching Kahn videos, and there were very helpful. It
also gave me a good perspective on what they can and can't do. They're a
wonderful online resource, but far from the educational wonder that some
people seem to think they are. (I've always wondered just how much those
people have actually watched any and/or used them to learn something.)

Jean Hewlett
University of San Francisco

On Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 9:36 PM, Steven E. Patamia, Ph.D.
<patamia at>wrote:

> Continuing with Jean's line of thought....
> The Stanford AI course occasionally referred interested students to other
> sources, but I have no doubt that many students ended up doing brush up
> reviews or, in some cases, quick courses in probability theory.  Even for a
> physicist, unless you are a particle physicist or in some other sub field
> where standard probability calculations are part of the rigor of what you
> do,  it  would be, as it was for me, necessary to do a quick review of
> basic axioms and theorems that were going to be used a lot in the course.
>  In such event, it is handy to go online and find -- guess what! -- online
> tutorials or course handouts authored by profs who teach probability theory
> courses.  The actual AI course lectures assumed way too much about how
> facile students were in probability theory and sometimes even made outright
> mistakes that would confuse and mystify a student with a weak background.
>  All this demonstrates that once you are online because you lack access to
> campuses and research libraries in the real world you are also vulnerable
> to the lack of library resources unless your can also gain access the
> *them* online.
> This is a serious problem in the hard sciences and engineering and I am
> sure a different flavor of it exists for other fields.  Research and
> specialized libraries remain a practical necessity for advanced work and an
> absolute necessity for any research on its own or connected directly to
> advanced coursework.  Having full access to scholarly literature is
> absolutely crucial to enabling the penetration of MOOCS or even less
> broadly accessed online coursework.
> Again, the publishers are the impediment to open access.  They are also
> bankrupting library services even in large institutions not to mention
> small ones.  In short -- they are the enemy.  They make obscene amounts of
> money publishing research already paid for by others and tying up what
> should be public knowledge with private rights.  There is push back, but
> its a tough problem to solve.  The publishers are smart and even vicious at
> times and they realize that they are fighting for their lives.  Scholars
> are not very brave about circumventing the private publishers and some are
> not easily convinced that in the new age you don't need those publishers to
> cement your reputation.  This is the defining battle of open access -- and
> it needs to be fought much harder than it has been.  Those publishers --
> most of them foreign -- even have friends and lobbyists that promote laws
> to protect their long term interests.  I for one think this is a crime
> against taxpayers and the citizens of the planet.  Publicly funded
> sholarship should not be forfeited to private interests.
> I better get off my soap box for now....
> On Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM, Norma Jean Hewlett <hewlett at>wrote:
>> I definitely think that if you want to understand what moocs are about,
>> the way to do it is to enroll in a few.
>> During the past year, I've taken 6 moocs in varying online formats. With
>> one exception, none of them required any outside reading or research. Most
>> only required watching lecture videos and perhaps completing some related
>> projects.
>> The one exception is GamesMooc, where the badge I want requires playing a
>> number of online games, learning to share information via several different
>> online formats, and reading or viewing a great deal of online material
>> related to using games in education.
>> All of the moocs I've taken so far have been on subjects related to
>> computer science, business, or education. One of my goals for the coming
>> year is to try one or two that are about traditional humanities subjects
>> such as literature or history. I'm thinking those will probably involve
>> more outside reading and possibly some original research.
>> Jean Hewlett
>> Librarian, Santa Rosa Campus
>> University of San Francisco
>> --
> Steven E. Patamia, Ph.D., J.D.
>  ============================
> To unsubscribe:
> Web4Lib Web Site:
> 2012-12-05


To unsubscribe:

Web4Lib Web Site:

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Web4lib mailing list