End of a semester

This past week was finals week.  For me, that means I still have a lot of work to do before I can relax.  I’m finishing up a 15-20 page paper, and I still have to write a couple of essays for a final.  The paper is due tomorrow (Sunday), and the essays are due on Tuesday.  I can’t wait to be finished with these things.

This past semester was my first one in the MLIS program at SJSU.  I experienced group work in an online setting, and learned that it’s not much different than in-person group work… it just requires more patience, scheduling and dedication.  I wrote a bunch of different papers, on different topics.  I found that some teachers were more interested in making sure we followed directions than in making sure that we learned the subject.  And I re-learned that communication works wonders, especially when you’re not working with a professor face-to-face.

So, I’ve registered for the summer semester, and will be taking two classes.  One is Libr 210 (Reference & Information Services), and the other is Libr 275 (Library Services for a Diverse Population).  These classes wouldn’t normally intimidate me, but I’ve got a lot going on.  I recently started a full-time job as a Circulation Supervisor; before I only worked part-time.  The summer semester is shorter, so the classes, their information, and their assignments will be crammed into a smaller timeframe.  And of course it’s the summer, which means that my birthday will be going on, the weather will be nice, and I’ll want to be hanging out with my friends more than ever.  Like I said, there’s a lot going on.  I know the semester hasn’t started yet, but I’m ready to start planning so that I know when I can goof off, and when I can’t.  I guess I’ll have to be patient, right?

Alright, well, I should probably get to bed.  My eyes are blurry and I can’t focus on this paper any more tonight, so that’s a sure sign I need a break.  So until next time…

Info and Society Paper

My Info and Society professor requires a final paper, which I’ve started researching now.  The prof asked that we send in annotated bibliographies with a positional introduction.  So, here’s what I wrote for a nearly perfect grade – I forgot to include the database info for the articles so I’ll make sure to include it in the final paper.  So, that’s what’s below… Continue reading

School: midsemester

Well, it’s been a week since Spring Break and school is still going full-swing.  So far it’s a lot like my undergrad work, except completely online and with a lot more papers to write.  Have you ever done group work online?  It’s an experience to say the least… Continue reading

Tired

Well, I finished the 8 page (minimum) paper for my Library Management class.  It’s not as good as the previous paper, but I think it’ll be OK.  Part of the problem is that it’s very difficult to figure out what the professor wants with these papers.  The Greensheet/syllabus says one thing, the assignment says something else, and the grading rubric says yet another thing.  It’s like the professor started out with one idea and then it morphed into something else, but he never changed the previous paperwork to show it.  That would have to be my biggest complaint so far.  Oh well, what can you do at this stage in the game, right?

So, after I finished that monster paper… which ended up being 13 pages long, but it had a lot of graphs and diagrams… I couldn’t force myself to focus on anything else school-wise.  So, I did some housework.  I got the laundry done, cooked dinner for mom and then came home.  I felt bad ignoring school completely after that, so I listened to an information retrieval lecture and ironed.  Then I did more housework.

So, if you ever wonder what I do on my days off… that’s it.  School and housework.  Exciting, huh?

Either way, I uploaded some more pictures to my flickr account so check them out if you’re so inclined – there’s a link in my side bar.  You can see Stephen Colbert there… he used to live in my bathroom, but now he lives in Hawaii.

SecondLife

I decided that I should play with SecondLife since I’ll probably have to use it sometime in my college career.  I downloaded the program, made my avatar, and decided to make her look like me.  My hunny looked at the avatar and said “Huh… you lost weight in SecondLife.”  Should I have made myself into a furry animal instead?

The controls are a little strange, but I’m not sure how much of that is because I’m doing all this on my laptop, and how much of it is because of the way the program’s designed.  For instance, sometimes I want to see something other than my avatar’s backside… but I can’t figure out how to toggle the camera view yet.  I did figure out how to add myself to the SJSU SLIS group though.  Now it says “Spartan” above my name.

Either way, I’ll explore a bit more and play with it a bit more before I make any major decisions about it.  I did learn that I can’t have any other windows open or my lap top will crash.  I think it has something to do with the graphics memory or something. 

In other news… I have a partner for my Information Retrieval class.  We paired up based on a mutual love of zombie movies, books by Laurell K. Hamilton, and quilting.  My partner lives in Sacramento, though, so it might be a little difficult for us to get together in person if we ever needed to.

I know I should be counting my blessings about this, but school isn’t going as fast as I need it to go.  It’s the first week, and I know things will pick up considerably.  My only problem with this week’s pace is a matter of scheduling.  I’d like to get a better feel for how fast I need to go in these classes, and how much work I’ll need to do so that I can figure out how to budget my time.  Also, each teacher has modified BlackBoard to suit their needs, so the buttons are all in different places, and sometimes have different names.  It’s not a big deal, but it can be confusing.  I also wonder if any of the teachers will be posting lectures for us to listen to, if so how often and how long will they be?  Or will they just post their thoughts about the topics covered in the chapters?  Will they get involved in the Bulletin Board discussions, or just monitor them?  It’s definitely difficult to get a feel for the class and the teacher if it’s all online.  I thought I’d be very well prepared because the PACE program had some online classes, but to have ALL of them be in the distance ed format is very different.  *sigh*  I know I’ll get the hang of it, and I know this is just me worrying for nothing… but still, I worry.

Alright it’s way past my bedtime, so I should head to bed.  I have to be up sometime tomorrow to take care of the laundry and head to Chabot for a ballroom dancing class my hunny wants to take with me. 

First book

One of my professors seems to be on top of things.  He posted his green sheet (AKA syllabus) early, posted the BlackBoard password after that, and has all of the assignments lined up including due dates.  This works well for people like me, who hate to do anything last minute.

Although we don’t have any assigned reading from one of the books for the Information Organizations and Management class (#204), the professor states that we should skim and then begin reading this book because we will have to use and refer to it in our group project.  So, that’s what I’ve started to do.

The book is called Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers by Joseph R. Matthews (Published 2005, Libraries Unlimited).  I’ve only read the introduction so far, and it seems OK to me.  Matthews writes that libraries need to look at how people receive information NOW, not how they received it in the past.  Then the library must shift rapidly to use the new ways of conveying information so that it does not lose its relevance.  He calls it the re-invention of an esteemed organization (p xi).

So far, Strategic Planning seems like a self help book for libraries.  It’s set up that way, for sure, explaining what a strategy is (and isn’t), why it’s needed, how to come up with and implement a strategic plan, and then monitor and update this strategy.  It even gives sample plans and mission statements, much as you would find in a self help book.

Either way, I have to read it, and I have to use it.  So far it’s not bad, and it has some cool quotations.  The one on page 3 is by Gordon R. Sullivan “Think of strategy as a bridge; values are the bedrock on which the piers of the bridge are planted, the near bank is today’s reality, the far bank is the vision.  Your strategy is the bridge itself.”

Next week: School!

Next week is the first week of Spring semester 2008 at SJSU.  It’s also the first week of my journey towards a MLIS.  Hopefully I’ll finish it quickly.

Although I’m a little excited about starting this program, I’m actually pretty nervous.  I’m not sure what to expect from my teachers, or from a program that’s (mostly) online.  I’ve only ever taken one online class at a time before, so taking 3 or more seems complicated.  I know it’ll demand a lot of dedication and expert scheduling.  These are the same feelings I had to deal with as I went back to school for my BA, so I know that they’re normal… but I know my home/family life has a lot to do with my nervousness.

Either way, I’m sure I’ll do fine and that my worry will be for naught.  After all I bought the books already, right?

Books for School and Other School Annoyances

I just looked up which books I’ll need for this coming semester of Library School and was sickened.  It’ll cost me almost $400 for these books.  The cheapest was $35, the most expensive $78. 

The only reason I looked it up was that I became frustrated by the New Student Technology Workshop they make new students finish before the start of the semester.  It’s on BlackBoard, and requires several different components be completed.  One of these components is an Elluminate orientation session.  The next ones won’t be until sometime in January… but school starts in January!

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem; the workshop would have been finished within 2 hours.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a microphone, and couldn’t get the money together to buy one.  And no, I couldn’t borrow one since nobody I knew had one.  So I got one for Christmas (thanks Ben!), and set off to schedule this session only to hit a brick wall.  You would think they’d have these sessions scheduled weeks in advance, but no.  You’d think they’d have a phone number so you can call and ask when they might have the schedule up, but no.  This school, which is costing me $2218 per semester, plus books and supplies, doesn’t see why they should accomodate the very students that are paying their salaries.  Can you tell I’m peeved?

Of course, I’m always a little more stressed out whenever the status quo changes.  Silly things that wouldn’t normally bug me, really frustrate me, and I snap at people more.  But this Elluminate issue seems like something that’s easily remedied, after all, it’s not like these sessions are a high-level security risk, right?  So, I’ll have to bide my time, and wait patiently for SJSU and SLIS to put up the Orientation schedule, and pray a heck of a lot that the first sessions happen before school starts so that I won’t lose access to BlackBoard, which is the only way that I can access my online classes.

*sigh* Sometimes I feel as if the schools make things more complicated so that they can get more money out of you.

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