Get an Early Start On Your Courses With the New i.School Open Classes Program

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Kari Van Baalen

What are your summer plans?

If you aren’t planning a long trip, or you don’t have big responsibilities at work or at home, you might want to consider the new i.School Open Classes program at SLIS. Recently unveiled, the Open Classes program provides the opportunity for newly admitted students to get an early start on their electives.

The Open Classes program was not designed just for newly admitted students. It allows anyone to enroll in one or more of the school’s graduate-level courses and earn college credit, including SLIS alumni who want to update their knowledge.

If you’re currently admitted to the school’s MLIS or MARA program and plan to start classes in fall 2014, you could potentially enroll for the summer session through the Open Classes program and take an elective (core classes aren’t available). You can then use the course you complete this summer towards your graduation requirements, getting you one step closer to completing your degree.

Perhaps you have been gazing longingly at the elective options (as I often do) available for either the MLIS or MARA programs. Check out the summer offerings and you might find something enticing.

But before you jump at this opportunity to get an early start on your courses, there are a few things to consider. Signing up for an Open Class means you won’t get the benefit of taking LIBR 203 first, if you are an MLIS student. LIBR 203 introduces you to online learning (see this blog post for more details) which can be very helpful especially for students who have been away from school for a while or are not familiar with online learning. Without 203 you will be jumping into an online classroom without the in-depth guidance you would normally receive. However, if you’ve taken some online classes previously, you may feel ready to tackle a summer class before completing LIBR 203.

It’s also important to note that the summer session at SLIS is shorter than the fall or spring semesters. That means the pace is somewhat accelerated. During the summer, a course runs from June 2 through August 8, covering 10 weeks. During the fall and spring semesters, courses cover 15 weeks. You may prefer to take your first course in the fall, when the pace of assignments and learning activities is not so compressed.

Also, if you take a summer course, consider the fact that you won’t have much of a break before starting your fall classes. You would have a short break, in which you could complete LIBR 203, but then fall classes will start again on August 25. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for a nice, long summer vacation.

Take a moment to consider the Open Classes program. Visit the summer schedule page and see what’s available. If you are seriously interested I would recommend taking only one course. The summer session is shorter and accelerated. When that sun starts to shine and the temperature rises it can be very difficult to find any motivation to do schoolwork.

The deadline to apply for the i.School Open Classes summer 2014 semester is May 15. You can find enrollment information here. Enrollment is not guaranteed and is based upon space availability.

Additional pages to peruse:

Open Classes FAQs

Open Classes Summer Session Course List

News Story About Open Classes Program

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