Dig in Deep or Test Your Skills with Courses in Digital Curation and Programming

iStudent Blog

Published: March 23, 2016

If you enjoy working with information, finding how people search for information and making information available to people, then the iSchool has some great classes for you this fall.

Thinking maybe you want to dip your toe in and try computer programming, but don’t want to drown in a semester-long three-unit class? Then sign up for the one-unit Info 246 Fundamentals of Programming this summer or fall and give it a whirl. I did, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As registration nears for summer and fall, here are some upcoming courses in digital curation and programming well worth considering.

A Course to Prepare You for Saving and Organizing Digital Media
As the amount of information grows and data needs desperately to be organized, saved and managed, careers in digital curation are becoming vital to a variety of organizations. School of Information instructor Alyce Scott will be teaching Info 284 Tools, Services and Methodologies for Digital Curation. “The course is an overview of the tools, services, and methodologies used to manage data and digital objects throughout their lifecycle,” says Scott.

The course will follow the path of data and digital objects throughout their lifecycle, using a variety of archival and management tools, techniques and computer programs. Scott will teach the challenges of digital curation using the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Lifecycle Model.

Scott shared some of the projects that students can look forward to in Info 284, “Students will use the software tool DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) to determine the veracity of a group of various files, and then develop a strategy to preserve the file types.” Students will also use their newfound skills to survey a digital repository and establish its usefulness as a potential Trusted Digital Repository (TDR). There is of course a group project, entailing curating a collection of websites and archive it using the program Archive-It.

Digital curation skills and proficiency with these specific programs is in higher demand as the amount of information increases. The jobs are really being redefined and created to fit the needs of institutions. “In cultural heritage institutions, and within libraries especially,” says Scott, “digital curation responsibilities are being found in specific data curation or digital curation jobs.”

Baby Steps for Beginners in Computer Programming
If you’d like to try your hand(s) at computer programming, beginning with the basics in syntax, loops and arrays then the iSchool’s one-unit course Info 246 Fundamentals of Programming is a great way to start.

I didn’t personally plan on becoming a computer programmer, but I knew that in this century and modern world, knowing a bit of computer programming—at least being able to understand how programs work and how to read a little bit of the programming syntax of a website—would serve me well in any career field. I took this class in the fall of 2015 and found it engaging, informative and even understandable. Which is big for me. I even did well on most of my projects! Instructor Steve Perry brought the class to a level I could understand by using examples that I could relate to. “Real-world examples are applied to illustrate how we already use a form of programming in our daily lives,” says Perry. “For example, any time you are following a recipe, you are following a program.” And good news for me, I already know how to cook!

“Most importantly,” says Perry, “students learn the three most fundamental concepts used in virtually all programming languages—using information stored in variables, using decision statements to alter the flow of logic, and using loops to perform repetitive tasks.”

Key Registration Dates for Summer and Fall
As you plan out your courses for the next semester and look ahead to registration, be sure to mark the following dates on your calendar—paper, mobile, desk or the back of your hand if you must.

  • Summer course registration: If you plan to take a course over the summer (which is not required but available for you go-getters out there) please note that all summer courses are offered in Special Session for ALL students (however, note that regular Session students are only Special Session for the summer). Summer registration for everyone begins April 4, 2016 and closes on May 20.
  • Fall Regular Session: Enrollment appointments for fall for Regular Session begin May 31, and you can check out how exactly to view those appointments here.
  • Fall MARA and Special Session: MARA and Special Session enrollment starts June 7. Both of these sessions’ enrollments end August 21, 2016.

For more details on courses, including deadlines and the latest news about the iSchool curriculum, check out Dr. Main’s Curriculum Center blog. For more about the enrollment process, be sure to check out the Enrollment page on the School of Information’s website.

For related articles, check out:
Fall 2016 Course Offerings– Highlights in Youth Services

Want Funds for Your Education? Flex Your Grad School Skills and Apply for a Scholarship

Exploring iSchool Career Pathways–Web Programming and Information Architecture

image courtesy of: David Castillo Dominici