Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Next Step - First Days Part I

Three weeks into the UNT/CSUN MLIS program, I'm feeling more positive. I think a lot of what I was feeling was nervousness and anticipation about how everything would go those first days at the institute when we were in class sessions 8 hours for four days straight. As many predicted, we were all exhausted by the end of that long weekend but one well worth it. I looked at this weekend similar to my first ALA conference last year: jam-packed with information and great experiences.

We started out with an optional pre-institute dinner on Thursday night so we could begin to get acquainted with our fellow classmates or co-horts as the term they use in this program. Friday through Monday, they squeezed in orientation and a semester of lectures which obviously is impossible but nonetheless they tried their best. We did experirence some hands-on as we had homework to complete during that time as well. This semester our two courses are Introduction to Information Professionals which is a bit similar to LIB 101 and Introduction to Information Access and Retrieval which is like a refresher of LIB 102 Reference and more.

I did my best to become acquainted with as many of my classmates as possible over this long weekend. But with 50 people in our class, it was not an easy thing to do. I could probably have made more of a point to be more sociable Thursday night but I find dark, noisy restaurants not an easy situation for having conversations. I did meet at least three people that first night though I didn't really see them the rest of the weekend. I made a point of talking to as many different people every day we were there. Saturday night, there was a dessert social which I did attend and got more of a chance to talk with our professors along with classmates. Over the course of the weekend, I discovered that there are four of us that are alumni of the PCC Library Technology Program. In addition, there's another classmate whose taken a few courses and was debating whether finishing the certificate program or not since she's in this MLIS program now.

I know a lot of students wonder if they could really get through graduate school. I will admit since I'm just beginning I can't really say for sure but I believe if you can get through the Library Technology program at PCC, you can do this. I am amazed at the huge diversity in my class from ethnic, education, work experience and more. For those of you who English is not your first language, a handful of students like you are making their way through this program as well. In addition, one of the professors for our first classes is not a native English user which shows that if one wants to, one can truly achieve great things.

While I will admit that online learning is not my first choice, the reason I like this program is that it gives you a little bit of that face-to-face in addition. It's nice being in a relatively small class where most of your classmates don't live too far from you so it's possible to form study or support groups as needed. It's also nice not having to go to class every week but there is what seems like more homework to make up for that. An example of that are the weekly discussions that go on in both classes which makes sense. One thing that makes this program more personal is we have a class roster where we had to post our picture along with a brief biography about ourselves. One can always look at this roster or use a web tool called SNAP which allows you to view someone's picture simply by clicking on the person's name link while participating in the discussions.

Describing a whole weekend of everything I experienced and learned is impossible in one post so I'll continue later this week.

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