School of Library and Information Sciences prepares students with online courses

Dominique Todd

School of Library and Information Sciences prepares students with online courses

The School of Library and Information Sciences is embracing technological advancements with their online-based curriculum. SLIS is home to two degrees: the Master of Library and Information Science and the multidisciplinary Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management. While M.L.I.S is offered with both online and face-to-face classes, the M.L.I.S eDegree program and IAKM concentrations are composed of only online courses.

Flo Cunningham, SLIS marketing communications and public relations specialist, said SLIS has always been a leader in using technology, and technological advancements have influenced the schools teaching approach.

“Librarians have to stay on the cutting edge of technology and we have to teach students that,” Cunningham said.

Don Jason, a graduate student in both M.L.I.S and IAKM, said he feels the SLIS’s online structure results from technology’s influence on the librarianship career field.

“Putting the SLIS program online is forcing you to use technology,” he said. “If you want to get this degree, you have to master the computer.”

Jason said online courses have a role in preparing students for the workforce.

“Look at the jobs. They are hiring individuals with tech abilities,” he said. “Being able to do those things makes you marketable and SLIS teaches us that.”

Jason said basic computer courses are required for all SLIS students, but taking online courses also gives students the flexibility to get field experience.

“In-person classes are great to start with to meet people, but later down the line you’ll have to intern,” he said. “Your internship may be in a different city or state, and you can’t take face-to-face courses if you’re not here.”

Tina Lewis, M.I.L.S graduate student, said that online courses have helped prepare her for her part time employee position in SLIS.

“I do a lot of spread sheets, online scheduling, inserting books online and managing databases,” she said. “I never dealt with technology on this level before the classes.”

Lewis said flexibility was the main reason she chose the eDegree program.

“With two young children, I don’t like the thought of having to be somewhere, on certain days, at certain times,” she said. “The online track is what works best with my schedule, and the flexibility gives me the bonus of being able to work here at SLIS.”

Carly Garinger, M.L.I.S graduate student, said online classes can be beneficial; however, they are also difficult.

“Being in online classes means you have to learn a whole new way of communication,” she said.

Garinger said online students have to stay organized, attentive to directions and be able to build understandings from reading.

“You can’t raise your hand to ask questions if you don’t understand,” she said. “Your professor isn’t in front of you, so you can’t pick up on visuals either, like hand gestures and step by step breakdowns.”

Garinger said, while taking online classes has helped her adapt to technological advancements, the best learning experience is working in the library as a graduate assistant.

“My classes have taught me the basics of computer usage and how to manage things online,” she said. “When working in the library, you’re doing it, not just learning and talking about it.”

Contact Dominique Todd at [email protected].