Intensive Course Pilot Concludes: 12 Intensive Courses Planned for Fall 2013


During the spring 2013 semester, 161 graduate students in the fully online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at the San José State University School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS) were involved in the school’s pilot of a new course format. During the pilot, the school offered 12 courses as intensives, where a semester’s worth of coursework is compressed into seven or eight weeks, rather than the typical 15-week course.

The SJSU information school piloted the new intensive course format in spring 2013 to provide students with expanded flexibility when scheduling courses. MLIS students who participated in the pilot said the shorter courses gave them more scheduling options when trying to fit in classes around work and family obligations. More than 20 students took advantage of the option to complete two intensive classes in one semester, while being able to focus on one class at a time.

SJSU SLIS students and faculty who participated in the pilot said the format can work well for those prepared for the fast pace, and can even enhance the learning experience. Building on the pilot’s success, the information school will be offering 12 intensives in fall 2013, including required courses and electives.

MLIS student Jana Tamosetis participated in the spring 2013 pilot, taking LIBR 204 (Information Organizations and Management) taught by Dr. Sue Alman as an intensive. “It was a lot of work, but I was happy with the class, and Dr. Alman did a good job spacing out the work,” Tamosetis said. 

Alman explained that in her intensive course, the amount of work normally required in a one-week module must be completed in three days. She said her students were focused and involved in class activities. “For many students, the compressed time frame enhances the learning experience because there is less time to become distracted and lose focus on the subject matter,” Alman said.

Dr. Debra Hansen taught LIBR 200 (Information and Society) as an intensive, and agreed students need to keep up with the workload. She added that the 19 students in her class “participated enthusiastically in weekly discussions and turned in their assignments on time. And with such intense and focused interaction, I felt like I got to know my students quite well. But most important, the quality of their work was as good as, if not better than, that of students in my semester-long classes.”

Hansen said she had such a positive experience with the intensive class that she’s signed up to teach another one, LIBR 200, in the fall 2013 semester.

One of Hansen’s students, Melissa Strilecki, said she felt she connected with Hansen and the students who, like her, were actively involved in the course and online nearly every day. She suggested the intensive format may lend itself to that type of focused communication.

Kelly Whalen, another of Hansen’s students, said she plans to take other intensive courses. “I like the idea of being able to get through the material faster and be more efficient with my time,” she said. Because of the fast pace, Whalen recommends that students who take intensives be organized.