a library state of mind…dreamy in the cloud

hello, dear readers

this edition of a naked library comes from the cloud. actually, all editions of a naked library come from the cloud. and the cloud is getting pretty crowded.

what else is in the cloud? distance education, especially in the form of for-profit universities such as full sail university, kaplan university, and, most famously, the university of phoenix. let’s leave the accreditation conversation for another time, shall we?

now, the open source movement is taking hold, represented by major universities in the country, such as stanford, MIT, harvard and yale. heard of MOOCs? massive online open courses? check out this article about stanford’s new MOOC initiative using Class2Go. or sidle on up to itunes university, or youtube EDU and you’ll see hundreds of lectures and courses you can sit through on your own…for FREE!! and who doesn’t LOVE free? not ready for college yet? check out khan academy for the younger set.

what does this have to do with a naked library, you ask? well, a few things have crossed my eyeballs recently.

the first was this commercial, featuring movie stars including james gandolfini, sally field and pierce brosnan. PIERCE BROSNAN???!!!?!? who can say no to james bond? i watched, mesmerized, as these famous people told me i could do it. do what? further my education with an iPad. say whaaaaa? that’s right. with an iPad.

the program is called empoweredUCLA. see the bold ‘ed’ at the end? for education? it’s a certificate program aimed at adults who want to enhance an existing career or transition to a new one. some of these certificates require a bachelor’s degree, some don’t. PIERCE BROSNAN!?!?! what could be so wrong?

the hook…is the iPad!! yes, you take these courses using an iPad.  you don’t have an iPad? well, you’re in luck because you can’t get empowered at UCLA without one, so they provide it for $800. up front. and no, you can’t use the iPad you already have. well, i mean i guess you can, but you’ll still have to pony up the $800 for the new iPad they are going to send you. end of discussion.

from the website: “Almost everything you need to be successful in your courses is contained in the iPad app. Use Facetime on the iPad to communicate directly to fellow students and instructors. Even get notified about an upcoming assignment, or receive an instructor announcement, directly through the notifications on the iPad.” how exciting!

the second thing i came across was an article on edudemic.com entitled “new iPad app may be the future of collaborative online learning.” the app, called “spin,” allows video watching to become an interactive group experience, kinda like skyping with multiple people, or a google+ hangout. oh, wait the google+ hangout thing is already happening in education . . .

tertiarially (is that a word? if not, it should be! i deem it so right now!) is this infographic from, wait for it, the university of phoenix. what’s it about? their LIBRARY?!?! i just blew your mind, didn’t i? because you know that the university of phoenix is a distance learning institution without brick and mortar buildings. but just check out that infographic!!

the question? if students don’t have to go to a classroom to learn, will they have to go to a library? there’s the open library, there’s project gutenberg, there’s hathi trust, there’s the internet public library. educhoices.org lists 25 online libraries.

now, of course, the collections aren’t as extensive…yet. and the research support isn’t there…yet. and copyright law hasn’t caught up with the technological advances of the 21st century…yet. but will online resources like these be deemed good enough by the degree-issuuing institutions?

or, maybe, as long as there are brick and mortar buildings, there will be brick and mortar libraries. after all, lots of brick and mortar colleges and universities have distance education programs also. they still depend on their brick and mortar libraries. right? and it’s not like brick and mortar libraries are moving their paper collections to electronic collections. right?

want more info? here’s some additional reading materials:

happy reading, no matter the format!

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