505 Is Gone

Heard via the grapevine that “505 – Technology” is officially gone as a required course at FIMS.  Here's a bit of background on how this came about… 

(Disclaimer: all of the following is from my admittedly-faulty memory of stuff that happened months ago when I was at my busiest point in my final semester.  For the reality of what happened and will be happening, talk to Dr. Leckie, Rosanne Greene or Rebecca Efrat, the current Academic Rep.)

The department realised that 505 was problematic for a number of reasons and had been for a number of years.  (To be blunt, profs didn't like teaching it and many students didn't like taking it – either finding it too basic or too advanced.)  I happened to be sitting on the MLIS Program Committee in my role as Academic Rep of the Student Council when this issue was raised so became part of an ad hoc committee to come up with a solution on how to improve/change 505 for the better. 

There were lots of ideas/discussion/debate from everyone involved (my idea was to split 505 into a basic and an advanced course but the trouble with this was finding enough qualified staff to teach two classes per term instead of one plus judging who fit where/what to teach in each class plus stuff I'm probably forgetting.)

This plan which eventually was adopted seemed like the best combination of what everybody wanted.  It was proposed that students be offered a series of technology workshops on various topics and they could choose to take only what they wanted/needed.  For example, if you've done web development, you wouldn't take HTML or FTP but you still might take Excel and/or Powerpoint.

There will still be a tech requirement for every student but it will be the student's choice of one of six (?) advanced tech courses that are currently on the books (things like “Managing Internet Info”, “Database Programming”, “Web Design”, etc.)  Students will have to show they have the skills needed already or the FIMS workshops required before they can take the advanced course.  For those who are absolutely not tech-savvy, this list of options will include “Advanced Reference” which has a heavy database component but isn't as technologically challenging. 

I can't remember if we ever decided for sure how long or how in depth the workshops would be to give people this base level of knowledge.  A figure of three weeks of a couple hours per week jumps into my head but I may be remembering what someone suggested in a meeting – not what the final decision was.  In fact, I'm not sure if it was ever determined when I was there. 

The Program Committee wanted suggestions for workshops so here's the list I passed along.  Did I miss anything? 

– Powerpoint
– Excel spreadsheets
– Access databases
– Integrated Library Systems, OPAC's
– Web Design
– Blogs/Wiki's/RSS
– Web 2.0/Libraries 2.0, Ajax
– Open Source Software
– Digital Imaging/Document Scanning/Text Recognition
– Social Software/Instant Messaging/Virtual Reference
– PHP/Perl/XML/Javascript programming for web sites & databases
– computer networks
– Internet technologies – FTP, Telnet, Gopher, servers

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Yahoo! I, for one, am VERY glad to hear that this is the case. The workshop idea is a suggestion that I made in 2004. My list didn't include RSS or Wikis at that time, but this is a natural progression. I felt that if we could sign up for training on using certain e-resources, we should be able to sign up for training on the tech basics of Word, Powerpoint, Flash, … whatever.
    I do not accept the assertion that there are no qualified librarians around who could teach these skills. I could. I'm in my late 40s. I went to school with a whole younger generation of brilliant people, who are very comfortable with software.
    Please take Gopher off your list, unless you want to talk about 'legacy' technologies. You might want to add practical aspects of computer and network security, practical methods to maintain privacy, how to create and implement IT policies for security and privacy, protecting intellectual property using digital signing and watermarks… stuff like that.

    Posted 20 Feb 2007 at 4:04 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Yeah, gopher was on there in terms of talking about historical Internet technologies if time permitted (even a couple minutes just to familiarize younger/less techy students with the fact that the Net wans't always what we now think of it as.)
    Good suggestions for additions to the list – especially network security in light of the recent story about a man in Alaska who faces criminal charges for using a library's wifi afterhours from outside the building.
    As for qualified instructors, it may have been difficult to find people qualified to teach the entire 505 course (although I think this may have been exaggerated as you say – there are lots of librarians today who have these skills) but having the workshops will greatly widen the range of people they can bring in – somebody who's done library management will know Excel inside and out even if they don't HTML and so on.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Posted 27 Feb 2007 at 6:53 am
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