Since our Meetup (January 12th – 7pm PST) will cover course selection and planning, I thought I’d write a post to go over some useful tips and tools that might help you along the way. This is all based on personal habits and experiences, so I welcome feedback and suggestions for making the planning process easier!
Tip #1: Become familiar with the iSchool website for Current Students
When I first started the program, I spent some time looking over the Career Pathways section to understand the types of courses I might want to take if my goal is to work in public libraries. Plans change and you are in no way tied down to these courses, but they offer a good starting point for career planning. In fact, I recommend taking something outside of your comfort zone or general interests to mix it up a bit. My one regret is that I did not do that more. Time goes by very quickly and before you know it, you’re done! To get a better idea of the types of courses offered, check out the course descriptions page.
You have to take required courses regardless of the pathway you choose:
- LIBR 203 Online Learning: Tools and Strategies for Success
- LIBR 200 Information Communities
- LIBR 202 Information Retrieval System Design
- LIBR 204 Information Professions
- LIBR 285 Research Methods in Library and Information Science
- LIBR 289 or LIBR 299 Culminating Experience
Side note: Check out the Community Profiles and Alumni Career Spotlights to see what your peers and iSchool alumni are up to.
Tip #2: Keep track of courses and competencies
The e-Portfolio is a culminating experience which shows that you have mastered all of the learning outcomes, or core competencies. Each course covers specific learning outcomes, which is why planning is so important. If you take classes that focus on the same few learning outcomes, you’ll lack coursework to demonstrate your knowledge of the other competencies come the end of the program.
To help me plan, I created a simple Excel spreadsheet listing all of the competencies, the classes I’ve taken that meet those competencies, and ideas for future classes that would meet the rest of the requirements. I’ve provided a very basic example below.
It’s important that you have a variety of courses for each competency because you don’t want to use the same work for a number of them. For example, LIBR 200 supports A, C, I, J, L, and M, but you’re not necessarily going to use only coursework from LIBR 200 to support all of those.
|Core Competencies||Met? Y/N||Class Ideas|
|A||Yes – LIBR 200; LIBR 204|
|B||Yes – LIBR 204|
|C||Yes – LIBR 200|
|D||Yes – LIBR 204|
|E||Yes – LIBR 202|
|F||No||LIBR 237; LIBR 259; LIBR 268|
|G||Yes – LIBR 202|
|H||Yes – LIBR 203||LIBR 220; LIBR 243|
|I||Yes – LIBR 200|
|J||Yes – LIBR 200|
|K||No||LIBR 254; LIBR 287|
|L||Yes – LIBR 200|
|M||Yes – LIBR 200; LIBR 204|
|N||Yes – LIBR 204|
|O||No||LIBR 289/299 – Culminating Experience|
The website has a great tool to see core competencies match to classes. Check it out!
If you’re not interested in completing an e-Portfolio, there is a Thesis option.
Final Tip: Have fun! Make connections!
While I’m sure you’ll go over all of the resources provided to you in great detail, the most important thing to remember is not to stress out and have a good time. The best thing I did was make connections with my peers. Having a good support system is key, and who better than the people who are going through it with you?! I am constantly learning new things from classmates and the insight they provide is invaluable. The same goes for professors and advisors – let them know how things are going and if you need assistance! They’ve guided me through a lot of issues and worries.
There is a TON of information to look through on the SJSU website and we’ll be going over a lot more in LIBR 203. My hope with this post was to help you get started thinking about class possibilities and how to best plan out your future at SJSU. If you have any questions, let me know!