10 things to do this summer

As Lisa wrote in the previous blog post you could register for an online course this summer. She even gave some tips on upcoming courses! This blog post continues on the theme.

They have In the iLibrarian blog in the Open Education Database recommended ten things to do this summer to activate your brain. One of the tips is to register for an online course so it is actually only nine tips how to challenge your brain this summer on the beach.

Check out 10 fun ways to feed your mind this summer!

Text: Pieta Eklund

Take a free online course this summer

Are you tired of that summer novel you planed for but never gets read? Maybe you should take the opportunity to learn something in the summer then?

Here are a few tips on free summer courses you can take via coursera.org collecting free online courses from universities around the world.

June 10th: Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps at the University of London.

For anyone who would like to apply their technical skills to creative work ranging from video games to art installations to interactive music, and also for artists who would like to use programming in their artistic practice.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/digitalmedia

June 10th: The Law of the European Union: An Introduction at the Universitet Leiden

The EU is the most successful supranational legal order to which 27 Member States have transferred sovereign rights. This course explores the functioning of the unique creature that is the EU, the impact of its laws on states, citizens and companies, and the current challenges it faces.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/introeulaw

June 13th: The Camera Never Lies at Royal Holloway University of London

Film, images & historical interpretation in the 20th century for those who have a general interest in photojournalism, and films based on historical events.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/lyingcamera

June 14th:  Sustainability of food systems: A global life cycle perspective at University of Minnesota

This course explores the diversity of the foods we eat, the ways in which we grow, process, distribute, and prepare them, and the impacts they have upon our environment, health, and society. We will also examine the challenges and opportunities of creating a more sustainable global food system in the future.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/globalfoodsystems

June 18th: Discerete Optimization at The Unversity of Melbourne

Tired of solving Sudokus by hand? This class teaches you how to solve complex search problems with discrete optimization, including constraint programming, local search, and mixed-integer programming.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/optimization

June 24thThe social context of mental health and illness at The University of Toronto

Learn how social factors promote mental health, influence the onset and course of mental illness, and affect how mental illnesses are diagnosed and treated.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/mentalhealth

July 1st: Online Games: literature, new media, and narrative at the Vanderbilt University

Focused on Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings Online, this course explores what happens to stories and films when they are turned into online games.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/onlinegames

July 8th: History of Rock, part two at the University of Rochester

Learn about the growth of rock music, from the early 1970s through the rise of punk and disco in the late 1970s, and from the emergence of MTV, hip hop, and heavy metal in 1980s to the rebellion of Nirvana in the early 90s.


Moore info: https://www.coursera.org/course/historyofrock2

Text & tip: Lisa Carlson

MOOCs, Open Access and Research Libraries

The fact that more universities join the idea to offer free courses free of charge to students from all over the world, known as Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs, creates issues concerning policys and legal matters for research libraries since they are often asked to support the development of MOOCs.

MOOCs is a form of scientific publishing because they are created by faculty in order to be used in education and research libraries should, just as they do with other types of scientific publishing, advocate that Open Access is standard for materials within a MOOC. Otherwise, the libraries end up in the same situation as with scholarly publications, they are forced to buy back the resources that were once created in their universities.

Libraries’ work to set Open Access as a default for publishing research also includes a thought concerning equal access to educational materials for students. Libraries often have two roles in this that in no way is new to them. First, to support faculty in their need for materials and resources that can be used in the courses. Second, to support the copyright issues surrounding “open” movements. This may require new or revised versions of licenses like creative commons or GNU. Materials used in MOOCs will need to be reviewed before this development includes courses at Swedish universities and other higher education. This is where libraries have the chance to put open access licenses on the material used and created within a MOOC right from the start.

Source: Massive Open Online Courses: Legal and policy issues for research libraries, Brandon Butler (2012).

Text: Lisa Carlson

Open access + Open Educational Resouces

Open access and open education resources (OER) are the core in making knowledge freely available.

OER is defined by UNESCO as “technology-enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes” (2002). These resources are made available online and their main users are teachers and schools but they may be used directly by the students.

OER basically aims to make educational resources freely available and is a logical continuation of open access movement. Open access concentrates its effort on researchers, publishers and journals, OER is working to make courses, course material, text books, videos, tests, software and other tools, material and techniques which are important in learning environments freely available

A lot of OER is licensed under CC-BY. This means that the material is free to distribute, remix, change and build your own work on. This means also that the resources may be commercially used as long as the original work is referred to.

OER as well as open access benefits students, teachers, self-studies and the society. One problem with OER is that there is some uncertainty when it comes to copyright between the teacher and school and also because producing OER might result to loss on income. Researchers who publish rarely receive any kind of economical compensation for either the articles or the work they do for publishers when reviewing other researchers’ articles. However, teachers who produce textbook will most often receive economical compensation. Neither is there any kind of infrastructure in place to help publish textbooks or other educational aids, nor are there political demands to publish textbooks open access. There are some big sites gathering these types of material and making them searchable. OER is also more changeable and complex than scientific publications.

Here are two good sites with extensive OER collections:

OER Africa – an initiative from South Africa which aims to drive the development and use of OER across all education sectors on the African continent.

KhanAcademy – provides free educational resources within different subject areas, such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics and Humanities.

Text: Pieta Eklund & Lisa Carlson