A Few Odd Observations On Being A Student Again

I’m just now working on a required online tech prep course for my MLIS studies, and the experience of this class (combined with my experience of taking a class in the same program as a visitor rather than a student in the program) currently boils down to the following observations:

1. Things have come full circle. I am becoming the demanding, needy, pushy student that I sometimes find a little trying as a teacher (although I really do appreciate their enthusiasm and their thoughtfulness). To their credit, my instructor for this little 1 CR course and the assigned Peer Mentor (read: TA, for those unfamiliar with the Peer Mentor program in question — it’s not quite the same thing, but it’s close enough to give you an idea of what’s up) have responded with gracious good cheer and help. I applaud their amazing patience in the face of my sudden need to get on their respective last nerves.

2. Horses for courses, y’all. One of the obvious challenges for designing an online curriculum for a student body of really widely varied experience (as far as I can tell, getting an MLIS is an especially popular move for mid-career academics who want to change tracks, occasional undergrads, and educated folks outside of academia seeking an alternative to their current occupations) is gearing the coursework to provide appropriate levels of both basic foundational info and challenging new material. The tech prep course is actually very well done and thoughtfully designed (I find myself wanting to recommend it to my current employer’s online program as a model to consider), but because it must assume a relatively low level of preparation on the student’s part in order to provide all of the appropriate information, it’s a bit of a strange experience for someone like me. I’m always torn between thinking “Hey! This is a neat way to teach [x]” and “Pffft. I already know this stuff. WhatEVER.” I try to keep the latter attitude in check.

They tell us to get the modules done as far ahead of the semester’s actual start as possible, so that we can get on with the MLIS content courses without being distracted. I suspect they mean this early-bird completion to take a few days at least. I got most of it done in a day. The only thing that slowed me down and kept me from getting pretty much all of it except some scheduled Collaborate sessions done yesterday was a library login problem for a database assignment, which I am now informed has been fixed by admin.

Yup. See (1), above.

This is also why I am, naturally, the jerk whose “what is plagiarism?” assignment will most certainly include an argument against one of the answers on a pre-quiz in the module on the subject. Why? Because the question as written is ambiguous and results in a “correct” answer that appears to contradict course content on the subject of appropriate paraphrasing.

Yep. That’s me. The Onion has my number.


3. The introductions thread is absolutely fascinating. There are so many little accidental shared histories and geographies and careers there, and so many stories! I sometimes think that it’s my favorite thing about the class. I’m really looking forward to reading my fellow students’ blogs, too. We all seem to share in common a kind of obsessive bookishness and a fascination with how information is organized and presented, which…well, duh. Who else do you think wants a library science degree? Ahhh…I am among my people!


Dear professor and Peer Mentor: I thank you for putting up with my crap. You are awesome.

Dear fellow students: I apologize in advance for being incredibly annoying. I will try to tone it down. I won’t STFU, though. Can’t.



About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. Otherwise, I labor to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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