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Massive Library Contributions to MOOCs and ITEL

In fall 2012, Provost Bob Groves announced the University’s Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning, ITEL. This announcement kicked off a year of intense discussion and creativity around the question of how we can use technology to deepen and strengthen teaching and learning on-campus, as well as engage globally in the sharing of knowledge.

The Library has been involved in this conversation from the very beginning, particularly through the work of the Gelardin New Media Center and our copyright and licensing experts. All ITEL grant applicants completed an impact assessment estimating the Library resources required for the completion of each project, both in terms of scholarly resources and staff time and expertise. Library staff members joined representatives from around the campus in forming the ITEL grants selection committee, evaluating 56 preliminary proposals and 33 final proposals. In the end, three MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and 23 technology-enhanced projects involving over 100 faculty members from more than 40 departments and programs were chosen for funding.

Once they were selected, the real work began. Library staff have been in the trenches, working with the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), faculty members, the Counsel’s Office, the academic units and others to provide expertise, equipment and support for many of the approved projects. MOOCs, as the most revolutionary ITEL projects, have also been the most time-consuming. Barrinton Baynes from the Gelardin New Media Center has lent his expertise in support of MOOC creation in the areas of consulting, planning, pre-production, filming and multimedia production workflow. The Library’s copyright staff has worked diligently with edX, the University Counsel’s Office, faculty and our many publishers to negotiate license agreements to ensure that students enrolled in a Georgetown MOOC will have access to the academic resources they need, wherever they are.

The University launched its first MOOC, Globalization's Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries, in the beginning of October. It will launch two more in the spring. Getting to this point has been an exciting—and educational—journey. Where the combined futures of technology and education will take us from here isn’t yet clear, but we know one thing for sure: the Library will be there, continuing to transform and enhance the work of faculty and students.