See the Bigger Picture — The iSchool as Part of SJSU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA)

iStudent Blog

Published: February 3, 2016

You’re taking courses at the iSchool, but on your Canvas site and the website—even your future diploma—it says San Jose State University. To many online students, this is just some remote idea of a large university in a booming California city. How can you connect with San Jose State while working on your graduate degree?

CASA is the answer! Casa is the word “home” in Spanish, but at SJSU, it’s the home of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. When you open up the iSchool website, there’s a nifty little link at the top of the page right between those two ever-handy links to the King Library and MySJSU.

CASA resources include a newsletter, the CASA Career Center and its liaison, Nellie Rochon-Ellis, and the iSchool’s very own representative to the CASA Student Affairs Committee, Alyse Dunavant-Jones.

Representing our Unique Online School
SJSU’s School of Information is the only school in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts that is completely online—a concept that is unfamiliar to most of your SJSU colleagues. “When I began my term as the iSchool’s CASA representative in Fall 2015, much of the committee’s work dealt with on-campus events and activities,” says Dunavant-Jones. “When I explained that most iSchool students never set foot on campus, it was quite a revelation for the group! Most representatives only spend two to three semesters on the committee, so it is important for the iSchool representative to emphasize and explain our online model every semester as new representatives arrive.”

A student at the iSchool just like you, Dunavant-Jones is familiar with the twists and turns of online learning. She keeps an ear out for student concerns as she goes online for her courses and engages fellow iSchool students at conferences and colloquia. If you have a question, you can ask her. “Students at the iSchool can contact me anytime with questions, concerns, requests, and ideas that might be affecting their experience within SJSU, CASA, or iSchool,” says Dunavant-Jones. You can contact her by leaving a comment on her blog or by emailing her at the address list at the bottom of this post.

Sometimes iSchool students can feel isolated and have unique issues that come with an exclusively online environment. “Some of the biggest concerns that come up consistently are isolation, time management, issues with technology, uncertainty in which career paths to choose, and job and internship information,” says Dunavant-Jones. But there are a number of great ways to become more connected, and our iSchool representative is making an effort to increase those connections.

At the Student Affairs Committee meetings, Dunavant-Jones has suggested events and opportunities that would be more applicable to online students, including chat groups, motivational emails, and online study sessions.

“One of my personal goals for participation on the committee is to better understand how applied sciences and arts fields might work together in the future,” says Dunavant-Jones. “More online support from CASA would benefit all of the schools and departments, and I think that is the key to the success of any future iSchool-friendly events or activities.”

CASA Resources to Know About
Many CASA students don’t even realize that they are a part of CASA or that there are resources available to them outside of their own schools. Yes, that would be me, too. As an information professional of the future, you are acutely aware of the massive amounts of information out there, but the resources at CASA are there for you and may have answers to some of the questions and concerns you have as an online student.

Dunavant-Jones also hopes to propose online topical discussions among CASA students, have career-related events online, and host virtual social get-togethers. If you want to experience CASA on a social level and share academic thoughts and ideas outside of the iSchool (and don’t forget: network, network, network), then check out the following social media sites which are all linked from the CASA website

Get Involved!
If you’re an iSchool student who really wants to get involved, Dunavant-Jones is looking for a co-representative this semester (Spring 2016). You can be a San Jose local or a long-distance student able to meet virtually. If you’re interested, send Alyse Dunavant-Jones a note via email at sac-soi-casa-group@sjsu.edu.

For related posts, be sure to check out:
Making Technology Assistance and Resources easy to Find at the iSchool

The iSchool’s Library Liaison Answers Your Research Needs

Online Learning– How Do I Talk to People?

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