Those of us in higher education and librarianship are hyper-aware that things are changing rapidly. The practice of librarianship is increasingly dependent upon computers and higher education is increasingly feeling the pressure of economic and technological cultural shifts demonstrated in the emergence of digital humanities, mobile technologies, and efforts towards more effective and engaged assessment. David Lankes’ Atlas of New Librarianship is one of several model discussions engaging the changing environment for librarians and, among other issues, calls for more competency in Computer Science.
One way to engage is to dive right in. New models of free access to higher education are emerging in the form of Khan Academy, Academic Earth, or Coursera, of which the latter was introduced in an NPR article on April 18. Coursera is a partnership between Stanford University, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University to provide some of their courses to anyone who is interested for free.
Computer Science skills, like programming and database administration, are increasingly necessary as a core skill for librarians and what better way to learn new skills and engage some of the new models of education than taking a free class? This is what motivated me to enroll in Stanford University’s Computer Science 101 taught by Nick Parlante. I hope to be able to better engage my colleagues in IT and to be a better Digital Librarian after this experience. Week 1 is not over until May 1st, will you join me?