Course Selection – Fall Term

Finally got around to doing my course selection for next term.  Here are my rankings for the five classes I want to take plus the couple extras that they make you pick as options in case you don't get into something. 

I did end up sending around a proposal for another independent study to a couple likely profs but both turned me down saying it was either too big in scope or that similar studies were being done already (I was interested in doing a cross-Canada comparative study of the various library schools – strengths, weaknesses and a variety of other things.  Oh well – maybe when I do my PhD. )

1     765 Special Topic: Advocacy and Library Issues
Before I discuss why I picked this class, I have to invent a couple new words – instead of “networking” I shall forever more say “netsocialing” to get rid of all the nasty “work/careerism” connotations that “network” implies for many people including myself.  As for “stakeholders” this  is a term better suited to vampire hunters.  So I shall use “partners” because that's a much better way to think of any person or any organization that has some connection to or impact upon your own organization. 

Why am I thinking of this?  I didn't “netsocial” with Wendy Newman at CLA in Ottawa and it's one of my only regrets.  She's supposed to be an amazing woman, she is a former CLA President and I am extremely looking forward to this class.  Unfortunately, it's a distance course which means we won't have weekly course meetings.  But there will be opportunities for meeting her one-on-one during the semester.  Plus it's being offered jointly with FIS at U of T so that gives more opportunities for netsocialing with future colleagues.  Cool, eh? 

Oh, and one more thing – FIMS is offering an unprecedented (as far as I know) SIX distance courses in the fall term.  Which wouldn't be that big of deal except that you can only take one distance course per term.  So as soon as you pick one distance one, you've ruled out of five courses that might have had some appeal (as well as limiting the other number of electives available to you significantly.)  I know there's at least one other distance ed course (coincidently, on the topic of “Issues in Distance Learning for Libraries” that I might've been interested in.) 

2     613 The Public Library in the Community
After a blog request for thoughts about this course and professor, I heard from a couple people that the woman teaching this course is really good.  One small warning I was given is that the course is apparently very focussed on the role of the library board rather than the role of actual librarians.  The person who passed this along said it wasn't a major issue, it just caught her off compared to what she was expecting.  Good to know.

3     645 Management of Special Libraries and Information Services
Everyone I've talked to who is taking this course this semester says it's “the course they expected our 506 Management course to be”.  The whole class is focussed on an ongoing project to build a special library from the ground up – right from design of a floorplan to budgeting, collection plans, hiring, marketing, etc.  506 wasn't what I expected it to be either so I've decided to take this course as well. 

4     532 The Shaping of News and Information Through Technology
More opportunity for netsocialing as this is a joint course with the journalism department.  Looks like a fairly heavy reading list but there's a secret part of me that sometimes wonders if I should be in J-School or Media Studies so this will give me a taste of those worlds in case I decide to do another Master's someday!

5     520 Digital Libraries
When you get down to your fourth and fifth picks, there's no guarantee that you'll get them anyhow so I tossed around a few different possibilities for this pick and ended up picking the one that sounded most interesting mixed with the best fit for my schedule in terms of the day it was offered mixed with the fact that it's an afternoon class and as evident from the time stamp on 90% of these entries, I'm not a morning person. 

6     763 Special Topic: Introduction to Genealogical Research and Services
My first optional pick but really, this is tied for my fifth spot as far as I'm concerned (but it's a morning a class so that was the tie-breaker.)

7     558 Database Management Systems
There were about four classes that I could've put in this spot that I would've been equally happy to take and really, I can't even justify why I picked this one over any of the other contenders.  Hopefully I get at least 5 of my first 6 picks and it doesn't come down to this point anyhow.

Classmate of the Day is Sabina somebody who said everytime she reads this journal,
I'm mentioning her (actually I'd say I mention Linda and possibly Quinn more but who's counting? )  But we met at the APK and had a great visit for almost three hours.  We haven't bumped into each other much this semester, especially compared to last, so it was great to catch up on all manner of topics, solve some world problems and top it off with a platter of nachoes. 

Oh, and completely unrelated to anything, I walked down to the Mac's by the University Gates for a drink just before midnight.  I'd forgotten that they were closing at the end of the month but it turns out tonight was their last night and I ended up being their final customer ever!  (The honour, the privilege.)  I tried to get the woman working to give me some free food (or at least a discount) but no go as all unsold stock gets distributed to other stores.  She did have one of those Pepsi canister cooler things that are usually full of ice and sugary goodness by the till standing empty so she offered it to me.  Needless to say, I took it.  Uhm, because you never know when a giant Pepsi canister cooler thing might come in handy.  Or something…

Comments 4

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    A few more comments from what I know:
    1. Public Libraries in the Community: From what I understand, it's a fairly corporate course: as in, here's how we get more money, with little examination of the privatization and commercialization of public space. But if that's your puppy…
    2. Instructional Strategies: Brilliant course, especially if you've never done any teaching. Jennifer Noon is a brilliant instructor for this course, and many people who've had her for 503 say she's much more approachable in the IS course. She's one of my favourites in the department: she'll work yer butt off but you'll thank her as soon as you have to do something library-related. And library instruction applies to most job-descriptions. It's taught primarly for academic librarian wanna-bes, but as a public librarian wanna-be, this was still one of the best courses in library school.
    3. Journalism Course – take it if you're interested in stuff. People say nothing but good things abotu David Spencer!
    4. Myth and Theory course (754) – I have Yasmin Gopal for a course this term and it's pretty cool. I imagine it's a good course to take if you want to think about things. Gopal likes discussions and they go well if you contribute. Feel free to send me more specific questions if you have 'em…this course would be totally up my alley but I realize it's probably not everyone's cup of tea.
    5. Web Usability – Maybe one of the most important things ever: making sure information is accessible. And Gord Nickerson is a great prof. I've never heard ANYONE say anything negative about him. He's fun and he's quick. I'd totally take this course.
    6. Advocacy and Library Issues with Wendy Newman – I would give an arm and leg to take this course from Wendy Newman. She came to give a guest lecture last term on “Advocacy 101” and it was brilliant. She's the former CLA president and she's been around. I think this would be an excellent ammunition course: most people don't have advocacy experience and I'm sure you'll learn a LOT! I have the notes from her lecture if anyone wants to have a look at them….
    7. Web Design and Architecture with Mark Rayner – heard nothing but good things. Apparently “he's the guy to take it from” if you're going to take it.
    8. Sam Trosow's Political Economy of Information – This is my favourite course of all library school. The content is SUPER good (political economy, mind-bending, reading “Cybermarx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism” by Nick Dyer-Witheford who's from the department – a book one person listed as one of the best books to read in grad school). And Sam Trosow as a prof (for those of you who haven't had him): he's brilliant and he'll challenge you to the quick. He'll make you think further than you thought you could think, especially in this class.
    Okay. If I had to pick?
    Political Economy
    Advocacy
    Myths and Realities
    Instructional Strategies
    Shaping the News (j-school class)
    Oh but it would be hard. Why does the most attractive stack of courses come now, just when I'm graduating? So sad. So sad. Have fun!
    Sabina

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 1:32 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Oh!
    Issues in Distance Education: Carole Farber is apparently brilliant and excellent. Not your run-of-the-mill distance course, I would guess.

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 1:42 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I took 645 and it was great; it really does provide a good idea of how to start-up and create a library. 520 was good too!
    As Sabina said, instructional strategies is terrific! I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot. I still try to keep in touch with Jennifer too.
    I f I could do-over some though, I'd def add in 558 since I wish I was more systems-handy (all the cool jobs are in systems and well, database management would be helpful)

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 2:23 pm
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the wicked overview of the various classes. One of the worst things about this program is that we only have 9 electives to fit in so many interesting classes – I keep wishing there was a way I could stay on and do another 9 electives – wonder if that's allowed? A double-double MLIS in the land of Timmy's?

    Posted 03 Aug 2006 at 4:59 am
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