One of Your Best Resources at the iSchool—The Advising Site on Canvas

iStudent Blog

Published: February 26, 2015

As a brand new iSchool student, the Advising site on our Canvas course management system is one of the best resources to utilize now and throughout your graduate school experience. The site can help you answer questions about course workload, enrollment procedures, and career planning. It also provides links to student groups, drop boxes for iSchool forms like scholarships and Candidacy forms, and so, so much more.

I have admittedly (while cringing in embarrassment) ignored this site while sifting through my class. Don’t make the same mistake I made! Check it out as soon as you have access to Canvas. When I finally opened up the Advising site, I was delighted to find a wealth of information about how to go about planning my coursework to fit my career goals. I’m now really motivated to go through all the information on the site and join student group discussion threads, follow links and look into professional organizations, and start planning for my e-portfolio.

Begin at the beginning
Where to begin? By setting up your email. Make sure that you check out that first email from Canvas, even before you begin LIBR 203, and follow the instructions.

Sheila Gurtu, the iSchool’s online student advisor, says, “It’s vital that students set up their Canvas notifications before classes begin.” Make sure Canvas can get ahold of you quickly, because that will be how advisors, other students (read: those working with you in group projects) and instructors get in touch with you. Be sure to start by watching the video tutorial and seting up your notification settings, then start exploring.

When you log on to Canvas, go to “Courses and Groups” at the top of the page and then choose “iSchool Advising and Administration” from the dropdown menu and—Voila! You’ll see “Welcome to the Canvas Advising Site.” (Your other classes will appear here on the first day of instruction).

From the Home page, go to Modules (this will be similar in format to your class pages as well) and start with, naturally, “New Students Start Here: Student Services and the School’s Advising Model.” From here, you can learn about whom to contact for a variety of questions, check out various video screencasts and tutorials, and learn about the iSchool Advising model—that big blue chart in the middle. Be sure to look at it carefully and think about your own career goals and advising questions, and then explore the different resources and FAQ pages.

Further down on the Registration, Enrollment and Procedures module are other vital pages that go over the basics you’ll need to know before you start classes.

“Read through the Probation FAQ,” stresses Gurtu, “so that you are aware of the academic progress policies and the graduate-level grading scale at the iSchool, and how academic progress affects financial aid status. Knowing this information at the beginning of your program can help inform your decisions on workload.”

The Workload and Pace page is fantastic, answering so many questions and really helping students analyze their lives and how they can fit graduate school in with their career goals and responsibilities.

Digging deeper
You may also be looking ahead to your final project, either a thesis or an e-portfolio, and have a few questions. It’s essential to start early planning for your final project, and you can use the FAQ page to help you. Go to the Modules page, then scroll down to FAQs on specific courses and then click on 289 e-Portfolio or 299 Thesis for more information. Also in this section are resources to answer questions about core courses, the research methods course, and other iSchool courses.

Gurtu has also added new video content to the Quickguides for the various career pathways (go to Modules–> Academic Advising Overviews–> Choosing Your Career Pathway and Developing a Focused Plan). Content is always being added, so check in and keep coming back often. Recently added is a great planning resource called the iSchool Unit Planning Tool. Just go to the bottom of the page entitled Tools for Mapping Your Focused Plan. (Ahem, note to self.) You can revisit your plan regularly, personalizing it in your own way as needed. It’s an individualized program-planning tool to help you map out units and is not to be confused, Gurtu points out, with the official SJSU Candidacy form. Like the other tools on the advising site, it’s there for you to use to help you make the most out of your studies at the iSchool.

An essential resource
This resource is so vital for making your iSchool experience rich and enjoyable (and I’m not saying that just because this blog is featured there!). You’ll find valuable tools, tips and answers to a huge variety of questions, including time management, financial aid, using MySJSU, networking and preparing for your e-portfolio (hint: start saving stuff now). The Advising site is essential for your iSchool survival toolbox.

Related Content:

A Closer Look at MLIS Program Core Courses: What to Expect in LIBR 200—Information Communities

Tips from Peer Mentors: What to Expect in Your First Course

Highlights from the Latest New Student Orientation

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