As I prepare to return to school as a student for the first time in a couple of decades, I have been checking out my new school. I’ve spent some time reading the web pages, reading the official blog and keeping up with the Facebook page. I get regular emails, mostly telling me thing that don’t yet mean much to me, but others that are extremely informative and intriguing.
I did say that I’m doing my Masters in Library and Information Sciences, didn’t I? I will be attending, what I’m told is the largest School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS) on the planet. But, bigger isn’t necessarily better. What has attracted me to San Jose State University’s SLIS, more than anything, is the innovative online learning environment. In the off chance that you have actually been following this blog, you know that I have a keen interest in Educational Technology. In fact, that is why first started this blog. SJSU SLIS uses three primary technologies to facilitate learning: Illuminate (for synchronous large and small group meetings), Desire2Learn (an online course management platform) and Second Life (a virtual world where classes, students and faculty can meet “live”). This sure isn’t anything like my last stint at University!
Another aspect of the program that differs significantly from my undergrad experiences is the diversity of the student body. This program attracts students from all over the world. That in itself was somewhat expected, but what did take me by surprise was the fact that the online nature of the program also enables it to attract a faculty that is equally diverse. No longer is it necessary to attract the top faculty and provide incentive to move them to one location. SJSU can bring together the top individuals in the field wherever they may live. There are even a couple of SJSU faculty living in my own town.
The online environment is so key to the learning that the first course one is required to take is Online Social Networking. As a veteran teacher, I’m eager to learn how these particular tools work in this environment and to experience a fully online learning environment from a student perspective.
The aspiring Librarian in me has been devouring another online learning tool that seems to be or have been integral to the school and some courses specifically. I’ve discovered SJSU’s SLIS presence in iTunes both in Podcasts and iTunes U. I’ve been listening to podcasts introducing a variety of Educational Technology Tools prepared by one of the classes a year or two ago. I have also discovered a series of lectures available on the Podcast side of the iTunes store on topics relating to Library Sciences. What a great resource and seemingly great primer for the work I will start in 3 months.
I have also been made aware of a great researching and writing resource published on the SJSU web site. Although targeted at graduate students, I know that I will be recommending a number of the sites that cover research, APA style and grammar to my senior students.
If this weeks discoveries are representative of what is in store for me, I’m looking forward to quite the inspirational ride!