MLIS Students Expand Knowledge with Additional One-Unit Course Offerings


 As graduate students at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information enroll in courses for the fall 2014 semester, they have more choices in course topics and increased course scheduling flexibility with the addition of several one-unit courses.

The one-unit courses offered during the fall 2014 semester in the exclusively online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at the SJSU iSchool include LIBR 281-13 Digital Copyright, LIBR 282-11 Leadership, LIBR 282-15 Marketing of Products and Services, and LIBR 287-12 Open Source Software. MLIS students will have the ability to explore these topics in four weeks versus the typical 15-week course schedule.

The Digital Copyright class, taught by SJSU iSchool lecturer Margaret Driscoll, provides students with an overview of the myriad copyright issues information professionals face in an increasingly digitized world. The course will give students “a legal and policy framework to evaluate the myriad of copyright scenarios libraries face today.” According to Driscoll, “Copyright issues permeate daily tasks, from website design to book scanning projects to online reference,” and graduate students taking the course will be given tools they need to understand and negotiate copyright issues that are bound to come up in the workplace.

Dr. Carol Sawyer, who has more than 20 years of experience teaching leadership theory and practice, says students in her Leadership course will “explore effective leadership techniques with particular attention to their application in information organizations.” According to Sawyer, “We cannot lead without knowing ourselves, our strengths, and our areas of needed growth,” and she says that her students “will have an opportunity to think through their own most compelling questions about the art and science of leadership in organizations.” Students will also have the opportunity to interview a leader of their choice in an information organization.

According to Dr. Christie Koontz, the Marketing of Products and Services course is designed to provide graduate students with “the concepts, techniques and illustrations needed to develop first-rate nonprofit marketing skills.” The course will give students “an overview of the major four steps in the marketing process including research, segmentation, mix strategy and evaluation,” said Koontz. “Students will gain insight into the necessity of marketing research that identifies actual and potential customers, segments these by shared likes and dislikes, and facilitates product/service development for targeted groups,” she added. She imagines the course being especially useful for students currently working or hoping to work at “an information organization such as a library, nonprofit, archive, or museum.”

Diane Kovacs says she has chosen to focus on “the most immediately practical and useful aspect of the open source movement” for her Open Source Software course. According to Kovacs, graduate students in the course “will gain a clear understanding of the open movement from the open source software perspective, as well as skills for making decisions about the cost values of making use of open source software in and out of an organizational environment.” Kovacs believes open source software is something most librarians “would want to know about if they knew they and their libraries would benefit,” but also sees the course being useful to “any professional or student with a need for rationally cost working software.”

The one-unit courses are optional, and graduate students can choose to build their schedules with both one-unit and the standard three-unit courses. The fall 2014 semester begins Aug. 25, and the one-unit courses run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 27, 2014.