On MOOCs, Libraries, and Disruptive Models

6thMar. × ’13
“Institutions of higher learning must move, as the historian Walter Russell Mead puts it, from a model of “time served” to a model of “stuff learned.” Because increasingly the world does not care what you know. Everything is on Google. The world only cares, and will only pay for, what you can do with what you know. And therefore it will not pay for a C+ in chemistry, just because your state college considers that a passing grade and was willing to give you a diploma that says so. We’re moving to a more competency-based world where there will be less interest in how you acquired the competency — in an online course, at a four-year-college or in a company-administered class — and more demand to prove that you mastered the competency.”

One might generalize using this same disruptive model, and suggest that libraries who are purveyors of the same historical services, moving at the same historically slow and cautious pace, in the context of Google, linked open library catalogs, and data science start-ups quickly subsuming the information management tasks that libraries have historically considered their core roles, need to place more emphasis on integration, experimentation, and openness pursuant of engaging in collaboration with our users in order to remain relevant.

“Openness is a survival instinct.”

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