Fall 2015 Schedule Offers Expanded Variable Unit Courses Targeting Skills Employers Seek


Expanded variable unit course offerings, new course sections, and a brand-new course on interpretive exhibits and programming for non-traditional spaces are on the slate for the fall 2015 semester at the SJSU School of Information.

Registration for the fall 2015 semester at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) has begun, and students in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) and Master of Archives and Records Administration (MARA) degree programs are enrolling in a number of electives targeting the sought-after skills in today’s information organizations.

Among the many innovative courses on the slate for fall are new sections of  reference courses focusing on digital resources and marketing, new versions of courses on integrated library systems (ILS) investigating expansions and emerging technologies, courses on early childhood literacy and storytelling, a brand-new course on programming for non-traditional spaces, courses on codicology and paleography, and a course on enterprise content management and digital preservation using Preservica software.

Dr. Johanna Tunon has developed one and two-unit versions of INFO 210 Reference and Information, in order to give students who are familiar with traditional reference services a chance to “dig into the criteria identified in various professional guidelines and current literature on these topics.” The one-unit course, Reference Collections in the 21st Century, focuses on collection development issues in reference services, digital resources in reference services, and the evaluation of reference services. Tunon’s two-unit course, Reference in the Age of Google: Marketing, Outreach, Management, and Evaluation, explores topics such as marketing and outreach, management, evaluation, staffing, and “and the changing directions of job responsibilities of reference librarians in the 21st century.”

According to Tunon, students interested in going more deeply into reference services will benefit from the new classes, since the focused nature of the courses allows her “to devote more time digging into other aspects related to reference apart from the intricacies of conducting reference transactions.”

Dr. Timothy Dickey is offering three one-unit versions of his INFO 241 Automated Library Systems course. The first course, which runs from August 31, 2015 to September 28, 2015, covers basic functionality of the ILS for all library systems. The second course, which runs from September 28, 2015 to October 26, 2015, explores current expansions to the ILS such as e-books and social media. The third course investigates emerging technologies on ILS such as linked data and the Internet of Things. It is scheduled for the end of the fall semester, running November 2, 2015 to December 7, 2015.

Students pursuing a career in children’s services and public librarianship may be especially interested in two courses taught by Beth Wrenn-Estes. INFO 269 Early Childhood Literacy covers a number of issues essential to understanding early childhood multi-literacies in today’s library and non-library settings. “I think it is important for all children’s services librarians to have a solid understanding of early childhood development and literacy,” stated Wrenn-Estes. For that reason, the course explores current research in early childhood literacy along with best practices and practical examples that information professionals can implement in a variety of work environments with children.

Wrenn-Estes’ second course, INFO 281 Seminar in Contemporary Issues, is on the topic of storytelling. The role of storytelling in libraries and in the culture at large is explored in the class, and students in the course learn how to develop and implement storytelling programs for various audiences. Students also read a large variety of stories during the semester and learn how to adapt and present them to varied age groups.

Among the varied courses offered in fall 2015 is a brand-new INFO 284 Seminar in Archives and Records Management course on the topic of interpretive exhibits and programming for non-traditional spaces. The new class is taught by Geoff Giglierano, executive director of the Missouri Humanities Council. The course is geared toward students interested in careers in museums and the public humanities, library science, and education. Students in the course will be introduced to “the principles and processes that are essential in museum work, but which also can better equip other professionals including librarians and teachers to design and execute effective, high-quality interpretive exhibits and programming in a variety of spaces and situations.”

According to Giglierano, students will have hands-on experience with interactive exhibits and virtual technologies in the class. By the end of the course, they “will have participated in design and installation of a working example of an online exhibit, a virtual interpretive exhibit or living history environment, design and presentation of an online virtual interpretive program, or design and construction of a virtual prototype for a proposed exhibit in physical space.”

Dr. Linda Main is offering two sections of INFO 284 Seminar in Archives and Records Management on the topics of codicology and paleography. As explained by Main, codicology is “the study of all aspects of the making of medieval manuscripts,” and students in the one-unit course will study the context of manuscript production, the terminology used in manuscript production, and the physical processes and techniques used in manuscript production. The assignments students complete for the course will focus on “ways to make early writing interesting and relevant in the 21st century.”

Paleography, the topic of Main’s two-unit seminar course, is the study of the scripts used in medieval manuscripts. Students in Main’s course will focus on texts and scripts used in Western Europe between A.D. 500 and 1500. According to Main, by the end of the course students will be well-versed in: the types of texts encountered in this period; the scripts used in medieval manuscripts; punctuation, abbreviations, glossing, symbols, contractions; marginalia; and various genres of manuscripts. Main will also cover the role 21st century technology has played in providing access to medieval manuscripts.

This fall, MARA students will have the opportunity to explore enterprise content management and digital preservation in Dr. Patricia Franks’ MARA 284 Seminar in Archives and Records Management course. As part of the course, students will have hands-on access to robust Preservica software used by archives, libraries, government organizations, and businesses worldwide.

While most courses offered in the iSchool’s MLIS and MARA programs are three units, the expansion of one and two-unit course offerings provides increased scheduling flexibility and program customization. The fall 2015 semester officially begins August 20, 2015. More information about the fall schedule, including course descriptions, course prerequisites, and course requirements, is available on the courses web page.