At the end of 2014 (December, 2) we have posted a message on this blog about the development of
common Scandinavian course by researchers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark . The initiative is
bearing the fruits as the course is running from the start of spring term 2016 at Oslo and Åkerhus University College of Applied Sciences and University of Borås. We have managed to overcome most of the administrative challenges and to test our ideas.
Of course, life has put in some corrections. The colleagues from Denmark are not running the course because of low interest among their students, but the University of Borås is running three courses simultaneously instead of one: two on reading and distribution of e-books of 7,5 ECTS:
- a free course for anyone to apply,
- a Master’s course in the programme for Library and Information Science,
- and one on reading, distribution and production of e-books of 15 ECTS (in an international Master’s programme on Digital Library and Information Services
All courses run in a distance mode with meetings in respective universities. The course started with the digital reading part and a residential meeting in Oslo on February 3-5. The main contributions of lectures and seminars were Anne Mangen (University of Stavanger) and Gitte Baling (University of Copenhagen). Adrian van der Weel (University of Leiden) took part in the session held in Oslo University College. The students who could not come to Oslo have taken part in seminars and lectures online that were also recorded and put on the e-learning platforms for further reference. That was an interesting example of using a sophisticated technological tools in higher education. The recordings included what was happening during the lectures and seminars in Oslo, but also what happened in online communication environments. More important is to note that the streaming sessions allowed two-way communication between the audience in Oslo and those participating online.
This week (February 29 – March 4) a residential period for Swedish students is organized at the University of Borås. Nineteen students have arrived and are working with teachers in lecture rooms and computer labs trying to read and make sense of publishing, book sales and book loan statistics, e-reading devices and delivery platforms, xml mark-up and e-book formats and similar things. Colleagues from Oslo University College Tonje Vold and Tor Arne Dahl have arrived to participate and help with delivery of the materials related to Norwegian book market and e-book production. We will return their courtesy later in April helping with the residential week for Norwegian students.
A highly qualified group of teachers work on the delivery of the course on the Swedish side. The production part is led by Mats Dahlström and Mikael Gunnarsson. The distribution part involves efforts from Skans Kersti Nilsson (leader of two independent and Swedish Master’s programme course), Alen Doracić (leader of the International programme course), and the author of this message.
The administrators are sighing when looking at the costs and calling it the most expensive course over the past ten years. So, just as well that we have received support from Nordplus programme (thanks to UB international coordinator Veronica Trépagny) to implement the teaching of the course for one year and support travelling of teachers around the Nordic countries.
Students have also met Martin Borg who is responsible for negotiating and working with e-books at the University of Borås Library to actually get input about actual professional issues that have to be solved when delivering e-books to academic community.
We are in the middle of the residential week and still have only partial evaluation of our efforts by the students, but most of them seem to be quite attracted by this growing part of book market and what it means to different actors on the its stage.
This course is bringing together a very agreeable bunch of students from around the world and a very creative and friendly group of people from Nordic countries.
Professor Elena Maceviciute