Spring 2007 – A Wrap Up

May 6, 2007

Well, the semester has been over for a week, and I have been spending quite a bit ot time reflecting on it. It wasn’t a great semester in terms of my efforts at school work, or my attitude towards school in general. Yesterday, the professor for ILS656-Information Architecture posted our grades for our final projects as well as our overall class grade – along with excellent explanations of all. In all honesty, I think the grade that my partner and I got on our final project is actually generous (for me). The group project was a difficult one. We, the students in the class, suggested the website redesign projects that became our final projects. The professor picked the teams, assigned projects to the teams and assigned each of us specific tasks – project manager, content development, technical implementation, etc. I was the project manager – and was assigned a variety of specific IA tasks to do on the project. Initially, there were three members to my group. One of the students in my group, however, dropped the class. I didn’t understand at the time that one can’t really manage a group of two – that just doesn’t work well.

The other issue was that the person I was working with was the tech person at the library whose website we were tasked to redesign. This meant that in some ways she was way too close to the site – and I was way too removed from the it. I think this caused a huge inequity of work between the two of us – and I wasn’t on the good side of that equation. To me, it seemed as if my partner had given this redesign a huge amount thought prior to the start of the semester and had specific goals in mind from the beginning. None of this is bad – just difficult in terms of providing a good educational, group experience. I wasn’t sure how best to deal with the situation – and instead of rising to the occasion, I just let things go. The bottom line is that I didn’t get as much out of the class as I could have – and realistically, I can’t blame any one but myself. The real shame is that this was a great class – and an important one. It isn’t as if I wasted my time over the past several months, I just didn’t apply myself in the manner that I normally do.

Fortunately, things went better in ILS560-College & Academic Libraries. I was definitely more involved overall. I didn’t do the best job on the term paper that I wrote. However, in this case, it wasn’t so much lack of effort on my part as it was interference from life. In general, I found this class easier to take because it was the third time that I had taken a class with the professor who taught it. This professor is also my advisor – and I have a better idea of his style of teaching and of what type of work he expects from students.

So, I’m glad to see the end of this semester. It put me through the wringer several times over. The silver lining must be that I made it through – possibly a bit wearier, a bit less excited about school and a bit more anxious to be done. I’m clinging to the fact that I am 3/4 of the way done!

Distance Education & The Library – Web Resources

May 4, 2007

These are web resources that I used for my recent paper on the impact of distance education on the academic library for ILS560-College & University Libraries.

College & University Distance Education Websites

Other Web Resources

Another Semester Comes To An End

April 29, 2007

It is official – I am done with this semester! Overall, I’m not sure how to categorize this semester. It almost did me in several times. Of course, most of my biggest challenges were school related, but not course related. Actually, this was the first time that I took two classes that I actually liked (with professors that I respected) in one semester. Both were excellent classes in which I learned a great deal. Sure, they both required a great deal of work, and the work might have made me incredibly cranky and intractable at several points during this semester (feel free to ask my husband, if you don’t believe me). However, I now have a great sense of accomplishment that I made it through – and am fairly happy with the quality of work that I was able to produce. So, I am BEYOND happy to be done – to have about a month break from school – to be able to relax for a bit.

So, that was the good part of my mind set. As for the other, this semester gave me some serious ambivalence about SCSU’s MLS program. Online programs are tough, I think – both to participate in and to administer. It seems to be much easier for all people involved in them to give a half-hearted effort. I got involved in trying to get some clear vision of the problems that students feel exist – and this whole thing has weighed heavily upon me. I definitely need to get back to it because it certainly is much too important to just let slide. I find it ironic that in the semester that I had two of the best classes of my program, I came away feeling worse about the program than I have at any point thus far.

Regardless of this fact, I will press on. I am 3/4 of the way through the program. That is enough to help me overcome my feelings of ambivalence. I will make it through, I will make it through, I will make it though.

It Wasn’t As Bad As I Thought

April 24, 2007

I got a grade back on my term paper for ILS560-College & University Libraries early this afternoon – and all is well. I definitely wasn’t overly thrilled with the paper. I chose to look at the impact of distance education on the academic library. I was fairly excited when I chose the topic a couple of months ago. However, as time passed, as life interfered and as I got caught up in all sorts of other projects, I really wasn’t able to put the time and effort into the paper that I normally would have. Usually, I have way too much to write – and end up spending a good deal of time cutting lots of material to shrink the overall page length. This time, I struggled to stretch the length so that the conclusion would make it on the 10th page – of an assignment that was to be between 10 and 12 pages. On Saturday morning, I had a better thought about the focus of the paper and almost started the whole thing over. I stopped myself since I had most of the paper that I turned in completed at that point. I figured that I just had to let it go. I’m glad that I did – and I’m happy with the grade. I believe my professor commented that it was brief, the topic wasn’t deeply covered, but was well written. I can live with that assessment.

I Might Make It Through This Semester

April 21, 2007

I have finished my term paper for ILS560-College & University Libraries. Yeah!!! I’m not thrilled with it, but I think it will do (meaning, I don’t think I will fail the class). I decided to write about the impact of distance education upon academic libraries, and I found it difficult to get my thoughts neatly arranged in a coherent manner. I think part of the problem is that I am so consumed with my final project for ILS656-Information Architecture that my work on my term paper seems almost like it was an afterthought. I was so busy trying to get everything together for my other class, so I found it difficult to concentrate. I haven’t turned in the term paper yet. I figured that I owed it to myself to at least give it a read through tomorrow. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this semester . . .

Crunch Time

April 17, 2007

This semester ends on April 28th – and I still have SO much work to do. For ILS560-College & University Libraries, I have a term paper due on April 22nd which needs to be between 10 and 12 pages long. I am doing my paper on the impact of distance education on the academic library. I also have a semester-long web site redesign project due for ILS656-Information Architecture. The web site redesign project is a group project on which I am working with one other person. We are redesigning a public library site. The site doesn’t have too much on it now – but needs a great deal of work. There is still a huge a amount of work that needs to be done – and it seems to be getting to me quite a bit. I have taken the rest of the week off from work in order to help get everything done. Please keep your fingers crossed that I can get it all done!!!

I can’t wait until the end of the semester!!!!

I Love The Feeling Of Post-Assignment Bliss!

March 25, 2007

There is such a wonderful sense of relief once you pass in an assignment – especially a tough one. Even I can usually feel extremely relaxed for a couple of hours before I start worrying about how I did. So, I’m utterly enjoying a few hours of relaxation after having turned in my benchmarking exercise for ILS560-College & University Libraries. Yeah!!

The feeling is especially intense tonight since family obligations conspired to keep me from spending as much time as I would have liked on the actual paper this weekend. My parents have been on vacation in Saint Maarten for the past two weeks and were supposed to come home yesterday. Due to severe airline delays, they had to spend the night in Charlotte, NC and didn’t make it home until around 3:30PM this afternoon. My husband and I had to run errands for my parents yesterday and then had to pick them up at the airport today. Of course, their flight was slightly delayed today – and then one of their bags was lost. All in all, I had to spend a great deal of time dealing with these issues – and not on my paper. But now, everyone is safely home – and my paper has been delivered to the professor (unless there are any funky email issues abounding in cyberspace).

Don’t Forget About The Homework

March 15, 2007

Despite spending an inordinate amount of time on student empowerment issues, I do actually have homework to do – a great deal of it.

For ILS560 – College & University Libraries:
I have a benchmarking exercise due on March 25th. For this assignment, we are expected to choose an academic library and do a statistical comparison between the chosen library and some peer institutions. A large part of the assignment hinges upon the choice of college library and the justification of the peer institutions that we choose. I have started collecting data about the library I plan to profile and am in the process of deciding upon which peer institutions to use. The paper should include charts and diagrams and be no more than 8 pages. I think I can get a good portion done this weekend.

For ILS656 – Information Architecture:
We have one major project during the course of the semester – a redesign of a web site. I am working with one other person in my class to build a web site for a public library. So far, the majority of work that we have done has been analyzing and detailing the current site. It took a while to get approval on the projects from the Institutional Review Board – so we are just starting to get to the stage where we can talk to the people at the institution. The bottom line here??? There is lots and lots of work to be done over the next month and a half.

Another Assignment Down The Drain

February 18, 2007

I just turned in my latest assignment – a paper examining two information commons spaces at two different academic libraries for ILS560-College & University Libraries. I’m not sure how I am feeling about it. Because I had an assignment due last week for this class, I didn’t spend as much time on it as I should have. I don’t feel like I totally got the assignment – there was a great deal of room for personal reaction in the paper. The idea was to visit two libraries and judge the spaces. I’m totally much more comfortable doing research about a topic and then writing a paper about it. I don’t like having to make value judgements about things and write about it. It makes me unsure and nervous – even more so than I normally am about my school work. ARGH!!!! The only upside is that tomorrow is a holiday – and I definitely need a day off from school.

Facilities Project – ILS560

February 14, 2007

Without a doubt the semester is in full swing. Last week, I had my first assignment due for ILS560-College & University Libraries – and I have my second paper for the same class due on Sunday. For this facilities project, we have to research one physical aspect of the academic library (classrooms, information commons, digital library facilities, etc.) and then visit at least two libraries which have the physical aspect. Ultimately, we are to write a 6-8 page paper critiquing the space – looking at things like logic of space design, acoustics, lighting, etc. I will admit to being a bit rushed given that I had to turn in my annotations assignment last Friday. Although, the information commons is a hot topic, I am really, really interested in the concept and what it actually encompasses. As such, this is the physical aspect that I have been researching. I am sitting under a virtual mountain of articles and URLs, trying to put my thoughts together in a cohesive manner. Back to work, I go!