In Brief: The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has emerged in the past few years as the poster child of the online higher education revolution. Lauded and derided, MOOCs (depending on who you ask) represent the democratization of education on a global scale, an overblown trend, or the beginning of the end of the traditional academic institution. MOOCs have gained so much critical traction because they have succeeded in unmooring educational exchanges and setting them adrift in the sea of the internet. Although the MOOC is a new and evolving platform, it has already upended facets of education in which librarians are heavily invested including intellectual property, digital preservation, and information delivery and curricular support models. Consequently, to examine the MOOC as a microcosm is also to explore how the scope of academic librarianship is changing and will continue to change. Librarians and information professionals—who serve as bibliographers, purchasing managers, access advocates, copyright and preservation experts, and digital pioneers on many campuses—are uniquely situated to mediate this disruption and to use this opportunity to develop strategies for navigating an environment in flux.
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