Post-Master’s Certificate Program Performance

Students enrolled in the Post-Master's Certificate program at the San José State University School of Information must meet the following requirements, in order to complete the program and earn their Post-Master's Certificate in Library and Information Science:
  • Complete all 16 units within three years
  • Maintain a 3.0 grade point average, which is an average grade of "B"
  • Demonstrate that they meet the Post-Master’s Certificate overarching program student learning outcomes (effective beginning fall 2014)

Post-Master’s Certificate Program Based Assessment

The iSchool has developed a set of Program Learning Outcomes that are focused on the core competencies of our profession.

Effective Fall 2014, after completing the 16 units required in the Post-Master’s Certificate program, as a final step before earning their certificate, students will demonstrate that they meet the Post-Master’s Certificate overarching program student learning outcomes by:

  1. Selecting a communications technology tool of their choice (e.g. screencast, blog)
  2. Using the selected communications technology tool to briefly illustrate how their course work helped them address the Post-Master’s Certificate program student learning outcomes, as follows:
    • Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies
    • Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information

Retention Data for Certificate Students

As students pass through the 16 unit Post-Master’s Certificate program, there are several key transition points where we monitor retention rates:

  1. After the required one unit INFO 203. This class - Online Social Networking - is the first class taken by students admitted into the Certificate program. Students are required to pass the class in order to continue. One of the purposes of the class is to help determine if a student is equipped for the online environment.

    Table 1. INFO 203 Retention and Pass Data
    Semester Certificate
    Enrolled by
    Semester's End
    Certificate
    Withdrawn/Dropped
    Certificate Total
    Enrolled by
    iSchool Office
    NC CR Certificate
    Retention
    Rate
    Pass
    Rate
    Spring 2012 26 3 29 0 26 90% 100%
    Fall 2012 22 4 26 0 22 85% 100%
    Spring 2013 15 6 21 0 15 71% 100%
    Fall 2013 15 11 26 1 14 58% 93%
    Spring 2014 14 9 23 2 12 61% 86%
    Fall 2014 26 3 23 0 23 85.5% 100%
    Spring 2015 13 3 16 0 13 81% 100%
    Fall 2015 15 0 15 0 15 100% 100%
    Spring 2016 14 6 20 0 14 70% 100%
    Fall 2016 13 2 15 0 13 87% 100%
    Spring 2017 7 0 7 0 7 100% 100%

     

  2. Certificate Student Performance in Pathway Coursework. After students have successfully completed INFO 203, students are free to take courses from among the foundational and recommended courses in the certificate pathway of their choosing, including the option of selecting one (non-repeatable) 3-unit internship.

    Table 2. Data about Certificate Students’ Grades
    Student Achievement by Pathway,
    through Spring 2017
    Active/
    Completed
    Certificate Students
    Students with B or
    above GPA
    Digital Archives and Records Management 27 100%
    Digital Curation  3 100%
    Digital Services and Emerging Technologies 33  94%
    Information Intermediation 11 100%
    Leadership and Management    9 100%
    Web Programing   9 100%
    Youth Services    5 100%
    Total 97 average  100%

     

Certificate students are surveyed as they exit the program.

The Post-Master’s Certificate Program first admitted students in Spring 2012. As of August 2017, 70 students have completed the Certificate. The school has administered a post-completion Post-Master’s Certificate exit survey to gather information from those students about program quality. To date 50 out of 64 certificate finishers have completed the survey.

Program Quality

Certificate finishers were asked why they had chosen the program. The majority of respondents indicated that they were looking to add new skills, while other respondents indicated that the program’s online flexibility and instructors had attracted them to the program. One stated, "your professors are practicing in the field, so the issues, challenges and topics are relevant. Further, many names were recognizable -- they serve as editors for Library Journal, on ALA etc."

Two respondents were looking to gain the skills to work in digital archives. Another stated that the simplicity of the application process helped in selecting the SJSU iSchool program. One respondent indicated the different subject paths created by the program were the attractant. One respondent added that the program created a "better awareness of changes happening in the field and how to facilitate changes that are meaningful." Another stated that the Post-Master's program had been recommended by several people who had gone through the MLIS program at SJSU. Five other respondents indicated the low cost of the program, combined with the selection of courses was the main attractant. Two students mentioned being attracted by the reputation of the iSchool program. One student mentioned that after having taken off time from corporate library work to raise a family, she was looking to the program to help her break back into the library field with an updated skill set.

Seventeen respondents indicated they had followed the Digital Archives and Records Management certificate pathway, one followed the digital curation path, sixteen had followed the Digital Services and Emerging Technologies pathway, six had completed the Information Intermediation and Instruction pathway, four had completed the Leadership and Management pathway, four had completed the Web Programming pathway and three had completed the Youth Services path. From the most recent, Aug 2017 survey:

  • 100% of all respondents were employed full time during their program.
  • 100% of respondents indicated that they thought that earning the certificate would help them in their career.
  • 100% of respondents indicated that the quality of the formal learning activities was either Good, or Very Good on a scale of: Very Good, Good, Average, Poor or Very Poor.
  • 100% of those surveyed indicated that they would recommend the certificate program to someone interested in updating their library and information science skill-set.

Sample Comments from Exit Survey

Why would you recommend the program?
 

"1. All online 2. All instructors built in discussion forums and/or group work which was very beneficial 3. Use of educational technology in most classes was top-notch; important for librarians to know 4. Textbooks were mostly available for free via ebook from SJSU or other institutions 4. Outstanding feedback and response time from most instructors 5. Flexibility of instructors if you wanted to tweak an assignment so that it was more meaningful to your current job 5. Outstanding support staff including iSchool and IT folks."

"For some courses I was required to do projects that mirror real projects on the job."

"I wanted to learn about managing digital collections, to support a career transition into Digital Asset Management."

“I would recommend the program because it is an affordable way to bolster your skills - especially if you do not want to pursue a full-on MLIS.”

“I would recommend the program because it is convenient to attend class online.”

"The online format is very user-friendly and fits nicely into the schedule of the already-working adult. If a student would like to freshen up their skills, or choose a completely different career trajectory, the Post-Masters Certificate can definitely meet these needs."

"The faculty and staff of the School of Information were pleasant and effective communicators and I felt valued as a student.The department website is informative and I really enjoyed learning about the variety of ways LIS students were using their degrees and/or skills out in the real world."

"I learned a lot and it is very tech centered which is needed in today's library world. Every time I look at a job posting it requires a variety of technology skills."

"The fact that I was getting my certificate was a plus in obtaining my new job. It differentiated me from my competitors."

Greatest Strengths of the Post-Master’s Certificate Program

"Good selection of courses, very good administrative support. The program itself is a great way to re-connect with the theoretical and philosophical aspects of librarianship, which can get lost in the busy everyday life of a working librarian. It gave me the opportunity to discover new areas of interest and potential areas I'd like to research and engage in professionally, particularly through professional writing."

"I am applying much of what I learned on a daily basis. From what I learned in IA to Gaming Information, to sum it up: "Applicable". To get all of this from 100% on-line learning is impressive and speaks volumes."

“The courses are taught by people working in the field and the assignments apply to many work situations.  The online platform works well as there are many chances for personal interactions and working at your own pace.”

“Nice variety of meaningful courses. Program has just the right amount of work to accomplish without feeling overwhelmed or that you were shortchanged.”

“Being able to take classes without traveling or relocating. Being able to take “real” classes, not just continuing education sorts of things.”

"I could actually apply what I learned through coursework into my day-to-day work. It's made me a better academic librarian. Also, most of the instructors understood how to take advantage of the strengths of online learning, having a variety of students with different experiences, bringing in outside speakers, including some opportunity for synchronous communication, and keeping the course active and effective."

"The fact that you get to take courses right along-side regular MLIS students is another strength of the program."

"Great faculty! Instructions for using Canvas were easy to find and use."

"Being able to choose from a variety of pathways makes the program relevant to the specific educational needs of the archive or library professional."

"Alyce Scott! I enjoyed her class on Digital Curation so much. It was challenging and thought-provoking in a way I did not expect."

Post-Master's Certificate Profiles

In addition to our survey results above, we invite you to learn more about the accomplishments of some of our Post-Master's Certificate students who have been featured in the school's Community Profile series:

Digital Archives and Records Management

Elizabeth Blakesley

Val Ballestrem

Vicki Heck

Digital Services and Emerging Technology

Erin Zybart

Carleen Huxley

Lou Kramer

Charles Seymour

Information Intermediation and Instruction

Kathy Anderson

Leadership and Management

Thomas Knutson

Web Programming and Information Architecture

Julianne Wells

Jill Zimmerman 

Youth Services

Patty Mapes 

 

 

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