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Posted for Elena Maceviciute

A meeting for developing a course on e-books on the Master’s level took place at the Department of Archives, Library and Information Science of the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science on November 19-20. The idea of the course was under the development by a team from the Oslo University College, Royal School of Library and Information Science (University of Copenhagen), Swedish School of Library and Information Science at the University of Borås, and the Reading Centre at the University of Stavanger from the start of the year. It was born out of the actual developments brought about by the spread of e-books and their impact on publishing, library work, and reading, but also from the research driven at the participating universities. Among the team members are the researchers of reading and literature mediation Anne Mangen (Stavanger), and Gitte Balling (Copenhagen); experts of e-book production technologies Tor Arne Dahl (Oslo) and Mats Dahlstrom (Borås); literature sociologists Kersti Nilsson (Borås) and Tonje Vold (Oslo), library and information access researchers Haakon Lund (Copenhagen) and Elena Maceviciute (Borås).

The learning outcomes of the big ten full-time week course were formulated earlier. Because of the high level of expertise and rich knowledge brought to the meeting there was little problem in outlining the contents of the course. It was agreed that the course will consist of four parts: Introduction, e-book production, dissemination of e-books, and digital reading. The course should meet the general requirements of library and information science programmes in the three Library and Information Science Schools in which it will be given. The students from the University of Stavanger would also be able to take the course.

As is usual with international cooperation in higher education, the most difficult and fascinating part is meeting organizational and bureaucratic requirements. After a long life in academia I know this quite well, but still always get amazed at the barriers one can run into in doing what actually is the normal everyday work of a university lecturer. Just consider the start of a term: it was different in all three universities. The difference was as large as a month and a half. One of the universities runs only a distance Master’s programme, one teaches on campus only. One has only elective courses on its Master’s programme, the others only obligatory courses. The requirements of writing a course plan, examinations, study forms, role of learning outcomes, approving of the course plans vary across the schools. The team managed to solve most of the problems by being flexible and accepting the realities. Thus, the common course will be run in each separate location, but using common course material, course literature and teachers.

Next, people responsible for the separate parts of the course worked in groups developing further the contents and the organization of the first classroom meetings with the students. It was interesting to find how similar and how different the situations in Nordic and Scandinavian countries are by discussing how much the course will address the local contexts and situations in each country. We hope very much that the students attending the course in the spring of 2016 will find it interesting and useful.

And yes, this is not a mistake – the course is planned for the spring of 2016. We need to approve the changes in the educational plans, pass the course plan through a number of quality control bodies, advertise the course for prospective students. All this will take no less than a year. It is obvious that much might change on the market and in the production of e-books. But we keep doing our research and monitoring the situation, so our future students will study the most recent situation when they arrive.