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LIS 501 General Course Information
We are using eClass for LIS 501 online this term, which you will also use for most (if not all) other online courses you take within the School of Library and Information Studies. Please be sure you familiarize yourself with the LIS 501 eClass course site during the first few days of class, and be sure to ask ahead of time (not at the last minute!) about anything you have difficulty finding or accessing.
You may well find things are not in the places you might expect on our eClass site, based on prior educational experiences or when compared against other SLIS courses you are taking. Indeed, the structure and organization of eClass sites and other teaching and pedagogical elements may vary somewhat across the courses you take at SLIS. You should find some level of consistency, but remember that each course is a different experience with a different instructor, and so there may well be differences in course design and structure and in the styles of teaching you are exposed to. Much as we value diversity and intellectual freedom in the library and information profession, SLIS values and celebrates diversity in teaching and educational experiences as part of the MLIS program and the academic, intellectual, and pedagogical freedom of faculty and instructors.
A general rule of thumb is that for every hour of a graduate-level class, you should expect to do 3-4 hours of work, including class time. So, for a three-credit graduate-level course such as this one, that would equal 9-12 hours of work per week. This is an average; some weeks it could be a bit less, and some weeks it could be a bit more (for example, when you have an assignment due). Readings and activities in LIS 501 have been balanced, within reason, to account for expected differences in workload each week. Note — especially if haven’t taken an online course before — that you should check our eClass site regularly regardless of the workload for a given week. During our discussion assignments you should check in at least once per day, and once a day is a good general recommendation for other times as well.
During discussion assignments, taking an hour or so each day to post your contribution and/or respond to other’s posts should be more manageable than if you wait and try to respond to a number of posts in one “marathon” sitting. It also helps you contribute more evenly throughout the discussion period, instead of in one burst near the beginning or end. Regular and frequent responses have the added benefit of furthering real conversation between participants and facilitating a collaborative and creative learning community among us all. Please post early and often, as it is hard for others to respond in depth if your posts come in at the end of everyone else’s discussion. Your responses need not and should not be novel (or even short story) length, but they should add to the conversation and move it forward. Don’t be shy! We’re all here to learn together this semester; everyone can and should contribute their own unique perspective, thoughts, and experiences to each topic to facilitate our learning. For more on LIS 501 discussions, see the separate Discussion & Participation and Discussion Topics documents.
Both you (as students) and I (as your instructor) have responsibilities as part of our collective learning experience this semester. I expect you to
- act in a professional manner in your communications and other class activities;
- conduct yourself the same way that you would on the job (professional behaviour is expected at all times);
- treat me, your colleagues, and any guests with dignity and respect, even if you disagree with their opinions;
- check our eClass site and your University of Alberta email account regularly;
- check your email and other media as agreed on by your group to complete group projects;
- do your best to work effectively with and assist others (within the bounds of academic integrity);
- inform me of any problems, issues, or concerns experienced with group work or with members of your group;
- complete assignments with the same professionalism you will bring to your career; and
- help ensure a positive learning environment for everyone.
My Responsibilities and Philosophy:
As your instructor I am, of course, also responsible for establishing and maintaining a positive and productive learning environment. One of the main purposes of the University of Alberta is to be a successful learning and training environment for your lives and careers. To achieve this, in this course I will do my best to facilitate a collaborative and creative learning community. I also will encourage communication and interaction among you and between you and I, and do my best to address your varied strengths and multiple learning styles. I intend to do my best to
- know your learning needs, backgrounds, learning styles, and motivations;
- apply fair and consistent marking and grading, tailor my assessments and feedback to the class and the assignment topic, and answer any questions you may have about your marks and grades;
- respect you and your concerns, issues, problems, and ability to learn;
- be a good mentor;
- maintain open channels of communication;
- support your helping and assistance of each other (while maintaining academic integrity); know my own limits in teaching and mentoring; and
- be true to my own beliefs, ideals, and thoughts in teaching.
I enjoy helping you grasp concepts and apply them creatively to new and exciting situations, and having you share, communicate, create, and apply knowledge as part of a collaborative and creative learning community. I hope and believe that these activities within—and beyond—this course will prepare you for wherever your careers may take you.