I’ve written before about the idea of ‘computational thinking’ and it’s relevance to librarians: While I don’t think all librarians need to be programmers or software engineers, I think pretty much all librarians do need to have some basic grasp of the nature of computational problem-solving.
Thanks to colleague Christie Peterson for drawing my attention to this free course on MIT’s EdX.
6.00x is an introduction to using computation to solve real problems. The course is aimed at students with little or no prior programming experience who have a desire (or at least a need) to understand computational approaches to problem solving. Some of the people taking the course will use it as a stepping stone to more advanced computer science courses, but for many, it will be their first and last computer science course.
Since the course will be the only formal computer science course many of the students take, we have chosen to focus on breadth rather than depth. The goal is to provide students with a brief introduction to many topics so they will have an idea of what is possible when they need to think about how to use computation to accomplish some goal later in their career. That said, it is not a “computation appreciation” course. It is a challenging and rigorous course in which the students spend a lot of time and effort learning to bend the computer to their will.
Sounds exactly right, don’t it? Except that maybe you’d prefer a little couple week module, rather than the “challenging and rigorous course” it promises.
I’d encourage non-programming librarians interested in expanding their understanding of “computational approaches to problem-solving” — which is something I personally would consider as should be a core competency of just about any professional library worker in the contemporary era (and certainly anyone that manages metadata).