Archive for the “School” Category

Some of you may recall that back in the Spring I was taking a class called “Technology & Assessment”—touted by the Mizzou course catalog as a class that would teach me about using technology to assess student learning. After taking “Library Use Instruction” the previous Fall and learning a little about assessment techniques, “Technology & Assessment” sounded like a good opportunity to learn more about a topic that is relevant to the part of my job that involves teaching students how to use the library. Unfortunately, Mizzou’s course catalog neglected to mention that the class was targeted specifically to K–12 teachers. It was rather frustrating to find out that little fact on the first day of class, but at least the professor was flexible and allowed me to tweak the assignments to fit my context.

For the coming Fall semester I had signed up to take “Web Application Development I”, whose catalog description begins: “Learn to develop web applications to support online learning and collaboration using Perl, PHP, or Java (student’s choice)” (emphasis added). I’ve long been interested in learning PHP, so this seemed like a great opportunity to fulfill that goal and to get credit towards my degree doing it. However, on Friday the instructor sent out an email to the entire class:

Due to an unexpected administration issue, I realized some of you might not read the proper course description. […]

In the fall 2008 course you will learn to use Asp.Net 2.0 with VB.Net or C# and MS SQL database server.

Well that’s just dandy. No choice but ASP.NET. That torpedoes half of my Fall schedule, but for future planning I replied to the instructor asking when the PHP version of the course will be offered. He replied:

I guess the course will cover php when it is fully shaped as object-oriented. Probably in a couple years.

The next language the course will use would be Java.

Wait… what?

(A) Since they don’t have any firm plans to teach PHP in the near future, why is it listed in the course description at all? False advertising I say!

(B) More importantly, how can you get away with teaching web application development without addressing PHP—one of the most widely used languages for web application development? I don’t care whether or not it’s fully object-oriented. If it’s good enough for Wikipedia, WordPress, Facebook, et al., then it deserves our attention.

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A couple weeks ago, I finished up Intermediate Web Development (final project here). Afterwards, I realized that I’m officially half-way done my MLS degree. 21 credits down, 21 to go! Yea!

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I had a brilliant idea for something to blog about the other day. And then I forgot what it was. Dang.

On a completely unrelated note, my class for the semester is completely done, and I think my final paper turned out really well.

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This morning I easily managed to get the UIUC’s Office of Continuing Education to fax the info to me that they had sent in the mail yesterday. However, that was just the beginning of the adventure. With my “NetID” in hand, I was able to set up my email account. With my UIUC email account set up, I was able to get the info that had been emailed to me about activating my account on the Graduate School of Library & Information Science’s online learning server (a.k.a. LEEP). Unfortunately, I hit another snag. Apparently I didn’t have a LEEP account yet, so I had to put in a call to the GSLIS tech support. A little while later I had a LEEP account. With my LEEP account set up, I was able to attend class. All told, I think I have about a half dozen different accounts with UIUC now. Hooray for Password Wallet, which is remembering all those passwords for me.

The class went very well. The LEEP server provides a live audio stream of the professor and a java chat environment for synchronous interaction with the professor and the rest of the class; and a bulletin board for asynchronous interaction throughout the week. A large part of the class seems like it will be posting on the bulletin board—both in the public discussions and my private journal. There are over 20 people in the class, and most of them seem to be taking it as continuing education and/or professional development. The content of the course is highly applicable to my job. In fact, this class is probably the most applicable of any library science class that I’ll ever take. As for books, I was thrilled to discover the other day that all of the books that I need are owned by the Covenant Library, so the cost of books for this semester will be a big fat $0.

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Can you believe it’s almost time for the fall semester already? This summer went by super fast. The Covenant students have another week and a couple days before they start up, but I’m supposed to be starting my fall semester class tomorrow night.

Yes, I said, “supposed to”. With less than 24 hours left to go before the first scheduled online session of LIS 590 TL – Theological Librarianship, I still don’t know how to actually access my class. How did this happen, you ask?

First of all, I’m taking this class through the University of Illinois although I’m enrolled in the Library Science program an the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mizzou doesn’t have any classes on theological librarianship—in fact, I don’t think any school did until the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) teamed up with U of I to do this course. Now, not being a student at U of I, I’m not familiar with whatever system they use to disseminate info about their upcoming classes. Instead, being an ATLA member, I kept my eye on their site and their listserver (Atlantis).

So, finally, when I find out some information about how to enroll in the class (which didn’t happen until a few weeks ago), I discover that, as a formality, I have to contact a particular Dean in the department in order to get the necessary blessing to enroll. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick up the phone that day thanks to busyness at work and a little bit of old fashioned procrastination.

A couple weeks ago, when I finally realized how close the start of the semester was, I got in touch with the aforementioned Dean, but the person whom she had to contact to see if there was a spot for me and who would tell me how to register was on vacation. Having received promises from the Dean that she would get the ball rolling as soon as this other person got back, I went back to being busy.

During Friday of last week, having realized that the beginning of the semester was getting extremely close and that I hadn’t heard anything back about my enrollment in the class, I fired off an email to the Dean to inquire of my status. Not much later that day, I received a CC of an email from the Dean to another University official asking about available space in the class and telling them to help get me enrolled. Yes, the Dean apparently forgot! (Is anyone really surprised?) Not much longer after that, I received an email from the other University official directing me to a website where I can actually sign up for the class, which I did promptly.

Today, I received an email from yet another University department informing me that a bunch of important sounding information such as user IDs and passwords is in the mail. That sure sounds like it would be useful to have tomorrow evening around 4 PM. Even if the postal service were fast enough to get it to my mailbox by then (as if), I’ll be at work! I’m hoping they’ll agree to fax it to me.

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