Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

Participation

I'll start with good news.  I was able to register for all the classes I wanted!  Yay!  I also signed up for two summer courses: LIS 407, Info Sources & Services (my final required course), and LIS 439, Preservation Management.  I might switch out 439 for LIS 404, Principles of Management, but it was full and I had to sign up for the waitlist.  I don't know if I'll end up getting in, but I won't go wrong with either course.  I'm not too worried about it.

                Now, onto this week's topic.  One of my main questions heading into this semester was how the participation part of my classes would work, since both of them are online.  The answer is: discussion forums.  Each class has forums for instructor announcements and general help questions, but how many other forums there are, and how often to post to them, can vary.  For my technology class, we have one main board in which we discuss current technology trends and articles.  I don't usually keep up with technology news, and this has been a great way to get me to do that.  I've learned a lot by reading the posted articles and following the discussions.  And long as we submit the required number of posts by the end of the semester, we can check in and post whenever we want.

That's not the case for my info organization class, where weekly participation is required.  The class is broken down into modules and there are multiple forums for each module, involving discussions about the readings, small assignments, reflections, and questions or comments.  We are required to make a certain number of posts per module.  The discussions here have lots of responses, and it can be difficult to keep up.  I find that I need to check in every other day or so in order to not get behind, otherwise it gets too overwhelming.

There are a lot of things I like about the forums.  I find it much easier to write about my opinions than voice them, which is why I hesitate to participate in traditional classes.  But in the forums, I can present a fully formed, thoughtfully written opinion, which makes me participate more often.  It makes means the quality of discussion is a little better than in a traditional class.  Also, because I never get to actually see my fellow classmates, reading the forums helps me feel like I'm part of a group.  I especially love that if I have a question, I can post it and get several responses (or someone to commiserate with me!).  I've written and read more than one post about not fully understanding an assignment or topic, and it's nice to get reassurance that I'm not the only one struggling at times.  So overall, while the forums are different than a face to face class, I find they are still an effective learning tool.  It just takes a little time to adjust to the differences.

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