Virtually Abroad

Special Studies
Topic: Virtually Abroad
Course Information

Dr. Paul Christensen
E-mail


Course Description

Virtually Abroad

The MLIS program encourages students to recognize and participate in the global workforce.  Virtually Abroad is part of the effort by iSchool to harness technology and to encourage commitment to global service by facilitating new forms of engagement.  Students are partnered globally with virtual information partners.

With the level of digital interconnectivity we now have at our fingertips, it is inevitable that more and more employers will offer international virtual opportunities. The key is to find a position that develops skills and provides mentorship so that students are not working alone.

In working with people from a foreign country, cultural differences need to be taken into consideration.

Technology is obviously very important for this experience to be successful and the use of only email and phone would be lacking. Current technologies should be applied; the use of collaborate, Skype and Google docs will be expected.   This will give students a better sense of reality and importance when conducting their task.

Typical projects may include:

  • Literature search for best practices
  • Work leading to elements of a proposed strategic plan
  • Searching for grants and fundraising solutions
  • An environmental scan,  identification of the stakeholder groups, a description of the main problems facing the library, key strategies to solve these problems and ways to implement them, as well as ways to promote and evaluate these strategies
  • Examine the problem of sustainability of a library network, providing some solutions to the problem as well as strategies to implement in order to achieve the solutions.
  • Evaluate the mobile library services that have been implemented consisting of multiple interviews with the international contact, an online survey, and review of professional literature.
  • A needs assessment survey asking patrons to identify their research needs. Based on this information, develop strategies for improvement, recommend procedures for implementing these strategies as well as plans for promotion and evaluation
  • An environmental scan of an international library, including its intended audience, market competitors, funding sources,  legal issues, labor issues, technology, and the socio-cultural factors impacting the project.  In addition, based on a needs assessment, identify problems and develop potential strategies to resolve the identified problem.
  • Survey the role public libraries play in helping immigrants become integrated into new cultures and the resources they provide to immigrants that help ease their transition. 
  • Since the library was established in 2005, no collection development policy has been in place.  After an analysis of the library’s situation and staff cooperation develop strategies for collection development in order to properly address the needs of the primary stakeholder group.
  • Explore both internal and external factors contributing to the successful adoption of a library’s organizational goals as well as conditions that weaken its mission. Analyze the barriers to achieving the goals and explore what a library can do to work towards increasing understanding within communities.

The following are groups projects completed in the International & comparative librarianship 281 courses

  • Evaluating the mobile library services that have been implemented consisting of multiple interviews with the international contact, an online survey, and review of professional literature.
  • A needs assessment survey was developed that asks patrons to identify their genealogical research needs. Based on this information, three strategies for improvement were recommended to improve genealogical offerings to American patrons of the National Library of Ireland. In addition, this section included recommended procedures for implementing these strategies as well as plans for promotion and evaluation
  • An environmental scan of DDB(German Digital Library), including its intended audience, market competitors, funding sources,  legal issues, labor issues, technology, and the socio-cultural factors impacting the project.  In addition, based on a needs assessment, a problem with the marketing of DDB was identified, and potential strategies to resolve the identified problem were presented.
  • A study of the role public libraries play in helping immigrants become integrated into Dutch culture and the resources they provide to immigrants that help ease their transition.  While libraries do provide resources in conjunction with other Dutch government organizations, they do not provide many programs geared specifically to immigrants to help welcome them into the community or encourage their involvement.  This project investigated the situation at the Bibliotheek Zonnehof and proposed three strategies to help this library reach out to the immigrant community.
  • This project presented a strategic plan for the Biblioteca Comunitaria Rija’tzuul Na’ooj in the community of San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala.  An environmental scan and an analysis of the library’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  The environmental scan provided background information regarding the community of San Juan la Laguna and an overview of the Tz’utujil, the Mayan stakeholders of the library’s community.  After collaborating with the director of the library, the authors identified the library’s main issue and developed three strategies to address that issue.  For each strategy, there made suggestions for implementation (short and long-term initiatives), and promotion, as well as how the strategies will be evaluated for success.
  • This project presented an environmental scan and needs assessment of the international organization the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund (COEEF). After interviewing the in-country director, an area for improvement was identified. Three strategies for addressing the problem were proposed, including implementation and evaluation plans. The strategies to further stabilize and promote COEEF including a blog showcasing students, collaboration with similar organizations, and a specific partnership with Ethiopia Reads
  • This project focused on the library at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service satellite program in Doha, Qatar.  Since the library was established in 2005, no collection development policy has been in place.  An analysis of the library’s situation and staff cooperation brought about three strategies for collection development in order to properly address the needs of the primary stakeholder group, students studying at Georgetown SFS-Qatar.
  • This project’s aim was to evaluate challenges facing the Vancouver Island Regional Library as it attempted to perfect its implementation of a floating collection system.  Interconnected by a subsystem of both urban and rural branches, the VIRL presently floats its entire collection to requesting patrons. The authors of this project identified and discussed several issues inherent in such a complex operating environment, they also sought to propose recommendations for suggested strategies in the determination of possible solutions.
  • UBiP, Una biblioteca para mi pueblo is an organization in Perú dedicated to creating and improving libraries for the Peruvian community.  It is a young organization that is still in its developing stage; however, the people involved have managed to accomplish quite a bit.  Some of these accomplishments include establishing a library in Qasanqay, helping to improve public school libraries, and participating in various professional workshops.  Despite UBiP’s success, like many library organizations, UBiP struggles from a lack of resources.  This project concluded with suggestions for UBiP to become even more effective in their mission.
  • The purpose of this project was to present an organizational analysis of a women's university in India. This project aimed to explore both internal and external factors contributing to the successful adoption of its organizational goals as well as conditions that weaken its mission. The university's core mission is to drive towards new and improved standards in education for women and girls that help them become empowered citizens. It has established a strong information technology infrastructure to further these goals, but faces barriers in extending the benefits of this technology to students and potential students evenly. This project analyzed one of these barriers, which arises out of cultural stigmas, and explored what the university can do to work towards increasing understanding within communities related to and around the university about the importance of women's empowerment and the field of IT.

SJSU iSchool Students Pilot Virtually Abroad Course and Gain Global Work Experience - See more at: http://ischool.sjsu.edu/about/news/detail/sjsu-slis-students-pilot-virtually-abroad-course-and-gain-global-work