Dear goodness. This day came upon me way too quickly. Or perhaps quickly enough. Either way… I can’t believe it. Starting year 2 of grad school. A year from now I’ll be… well, hopefully I’ll be, although where or doing what remains to be seen.
A few quick thoughts, because I don’t have time for a proper reflection (shame, shame):
- This year will be harder and more labor-intensive than last year. Oh gracious… I’ll try not to think about that. But in addition to 5 more classes, I have 50h of elementary fieldwork, 240h of practicum, and a bevy of tests and training sessions and other required hoopla for certification.
- We students often talk about our ‘learning style’, and then there is the ongoing, never settled debate of “how do you prefer to learn?” when it comes to on-campus/online styles. Myself, I’ve come to prefer online if a flipped classroom approach can be successfully integrated and used. It’s not always possible or likely. At this point, however, I have no choice, as my remaining classes (save one) are offered only in an online format. It made me wonder – what do our professors prefer? Some of them, without doubt, aren’t given a choice either… hmm.
- I think there must be a mathematical equation for determining stress in grad school. It goes something like…
Start with number of classes. Multiply by number of projects. Multiply by number of group projects (because they count extra). Multiply by number of group members, total. Stare at total. Gape at total.
Divide by number of weeks in a semester. Stare at total. Gape at total. Realize that work is never spaced evenly throughout the semester. Continue staring and gaping. Close eyes, breathe deeply, #facepalm. Open eyes, multiply by Planck’s constant to prove your brain is intact, ignore total. Close eyes again, breathe deeply, and get your calendar and multicolored pens out…
- I may or may not have already completed the above assignment. On the first day of classes. Yes, that’s a sign of something…
Good luck, fellow library school-ers and fellow schmedians. Carry on, keep the faith, and remember that December isn’t TOO far away. If that sounds too stressful, remember – the Mayans said it’s all over in 2012, so go out with your bells on and projects done!
Last week I caught word of a conference happening mere feet away from my office, on the SU campus, focused on “higher ed web”. I had no idea what that meant – I mean, I’m immersed in higher ed, and I know what a/the web is – but I had no idea what would actually happen at such a conference. Do you compare websites? “Mine has great graphics, but man, your layout is so intuitive!” Do you talk about how to attract the right kind of students? “We want students that appreciate artistic Instagram photos, but if you want students that like good blogging, well, here’s how to do that.”
Summary: I had no idea what would happen.
Here’s what I knew:
A conference of smart people was happening feet away from me.
I like smart people.
So I effectively crashed the conference, representing the iSchool while still getting to hear some of the presentations. And it wasn’t what I expected, but even better, I learned things. And we all know how I feel about learning! (It’s a good thing; I enjoy it. So now we really DO all know.)
And because brevity is a wonderful thing and I haven’t had enough coffee to do more, here’s a summary of what I liked/noted/enjoyed/remember:
- Devices make life more convenient – and more complex. Don’t make the assumption that everyone has one, OR that they know how to use it. – advice from Jill’s keynote
- Jill wins SO many points from me for putting an attributing link for every Flickr image used on her slides. YES.
- Accessibility is a big deal, especially if you’re moving to lots of web content. Do you alt-text your images? Is your alt-text at all similar to what you’re actually alt-texting? Do you optimize for screen readers? (This came up multiple times.)
- If you’re making a higher-ed website, consult XKCD first. Obviously.
- Not everyone wants apps, especially people who don’t have app-centric devices. Even people WITH those devices admit to often using the web function instead.
- Students are already talking about your school. Don’t be afraid to ask them to continue to do so.
- Undergraduate students might not mind being paid in pizza. This graduate student probably wouldn’t – it would just mean more time at the gym. Nothx.
- Tweetbook might be the coolest thing ever. *nerdy squee*
- If your philosophy sees accessibility as something “that needs to be fixed” in the system… you might want to reconsider your philosophy before you “fix” the system.
- Everyone loves old school, black-and-yellow Tweetdeck. Everyone.
- People who write code are really, really smart. But they know how to talk to us non-coders. Quite the skill.
And that’s just the highlights. You can read through the pretty-active hashtag for the event, #hewebsyr, to catch more thoughts from more people. Thanks for the fun, conference attendees and speakers!
Here we go! Today marks the official day one of semester two, year one, of my experience as a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science with a school media specialization.
I’m spicing things up this semester. Translated, this means I’m taking two courses online while taking one on campus. Translated, this means I’m currently freaking out and attempting to not freak out about this switch to a predominantly online learning environment.
Therefore, this being day one, I’ve set up some general ground rules, which I’m hoping will alleviate some of the stress while also make the online environment just as comfortable as the in-class environment. (Sidenote: the fact that I can now be ‘in class’ while wrapped in my favorite fuzzy blanket with a never ending supply of delicious coffee only a few short feet away in my kitchen is a perk.)
- When the laptop is on the desk, it’s school time. Correlaries to it being school time are:
-Two hours at a time, max. Preserve the mental health.
-Pandora. Reading of a screen is something I’m still not quite used to – music helps.
-Nix on the social media. No facebook open, no tweetdeck (my favorite of favorite distraction), not even pinterest (I don’t even like pinterest yet, but it’s a decent distraction.)
-No checking email. (Sidenote: email annoys me anyway. Figured I may as well throw in a perk.)
- One day a week is designated “non-school day”. Last year, I had three on campus classes, and it’s a bit easier to think of them as “Monday’s work, Tuesday’s work”, etc. Online classes have the potential to sneak into “every day’s work”. So, one day each week is non-school day!
-Correlary: non-school day just might also be bake-cookies day.
- CALENDAR. I really need to get to work with a calendar for the semester, and keeping track of when things are due. It’s a bad habit I’ve never fully dropped. (Sidenote: I highly doubt I will fix this in one semester.)
I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more guidelines as this adventure continues. Anyone with advice is welcome to contribute! 🙂