October 31, 2010
What is a typical week for a SI student? – Part I. Course Work
In my (limited) interaction with prospective SI students, they often ask me what SI school life is like. Well… I can’t speak for other people but here is a basic rundown of my week (somewhat representative for a first year MSI):
1. Four courses – for full-time students, 48 credits are required to finish the program, which usually takes 4 semesters. Full-time internships are 6 credits, so you need to take 42 credits of courses, unless you can transfer credits from other schools. Since it is usually 3 credits per course, you need to take 14 courses/4 semesters – 3 or 4 courses per semester. This semester I took 4 courses (SI501, 502, 647, 688)
1) Lecture time – most courses meet 3 hours per week. Some have additional discussion session (like 502 – 1.5 hour/week discussion in addition to 3-hour lecture)
TIME SPENT: 3hours/course X 4 courses + additional discussion 1.5hour = 13.5 hours
2) Pre-class reading – almost all courses have readings, which are expected to be done BEFORE class. I confess that this is the part I’ve skipped mostly, if I don’t have time (who has?!). But I REALLY SHOULD read them, -- these are the somewhat “invisible” efforts you need to make but mean so much if you really want to learn the course well.
TIME SPENT (ideal): 1-4hours/course, depending on the load and your time and interest
MY ACTUAL TIME SPENT (on average): 1hour/course X 4 courses = 4 hours
3) Time to review lectures and do assignments – also largely depend on the course itself.
502, 647 have assignments almost every week or every other week; 501 has 10 assignments throughout the semester; 688 has 4 BIG assignments.
TIME SPENT (roughly per week): 3hours/course X 4 courses = 12 hours
4) Group Project Meeting – 501 is project oriented. You often work with 3 or 4 students on a project throughout the semester. Our group has one or two meetings per week. On average, it takes 3 hours/week.
SO just the courses themselves take me … (13.5+4+12+3=)32.5 hours/week! Almost like a full-time job!
Next week I will talk about the extracurricular activities that you CAN’T avoid (but are also really good) and how much time those take.
Quick Preview: PT jobs, Career Development Office events, Student events and many more!
October 24, 2010
Web recourses for applying for library schools - what I found most useful when I applied for library schools a year ago
At this time last year, as many of you are right now, I was (still) trying to clarify what I want to do in grad school and looking for programs. I looked at a lot of websites, some not so helpful, but some stood out and kept feeding me good info thereafter. I thought I will share with you my favorite websites and save you some time:
1. To have a well-round overview of “librarian” as a profession:
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11
Librarians – Nature of Work, Training, Employment, Job Outlook, Projections, Earnings, Wages, Related Occupations and Additional Information.
2. American Library Association (ALA) website -- “Exploring your education…”
If you don’t feel like going through every web page, here is my top pick:
• ALA-accredited programs
• Guidelines for choosing a master’s program
• Placement and salary survey 2008 – know what to expect as a graduate
• Funding resources for LIS -both national resources and resources by state/graduate programs
• ALA Scholarships
At last, don’t forget to become a member of ALA. Read the monthly journal American Libraries – it keeps you abreast of the current trends in LIS and you may apply it to your personal statement writing!
3. If you are looking for graduate schools more in the sense of “information studies” rather than the traditional library study, then “ischools” are probably of your interest.
• A brief wiki intro of ischool
• Ischools’ website -- 24 information schools have joined together to form the “I-School Project” (now the iSchool Caucus), which defines iSchools as sharing a fundamental interest in “the relationship between information, technology, science, and people.”
Note that some ischools are not ALA-accredited, such as UC Berkley.
October 15, 2010
Hello and about ME :)
Welcome to Shi’s SI Admissions Blog! I am a first-year master’s student at the School of Information. I will start to write on this blog about my experience at the School of Information and in Ann Arbor.
So, a little bit more about me (that you can completely skip, of course:):
I am originally from Nanchong, a mid-sized city in Sichuan, China. After I got my undergraduate degree in archaeology and museum studies from Sichuan University, I went to the University of Florida and got a master’s degree in museum studies with concentrations on Chinese art and culture. I started as a graduate intern at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in the third/last year of my master’s degree and got hired as a research assistant right after graduating from Florida. While working mainly on historical Chinese photographs at the Getty, I found myself enjoy more of the information process (such as digitization and database management) than content/subject of the collections. More importantly, I realize that there are only so many exhibitions of Chinese collections I can work on, as they are largely limited by the social need and funding shortage, whereas opportunities of working on connecting information, technology, and people are enormous. I made the decision of pursuing a career as an information specialist, and luckily enough I was accepted by the UM School of Information. I paid a visit at SI in March 2010, during which I learned quite more about SI and what they can offer, and more importantly, gathered enough courage and inspiration from the enthusiastic SI fellows to make the final decision.
I now consider myself “reborn” for my new career. I’ve never had such overwhelming and rewarding time before, yet I always only want to learn more. Right now I am specialized in both Library and Information Services (LIS) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). LIS is kind of my traditional track which I have built some background with. HCI is my new “hobby” and something I’ve promised myself to take seriously and see how far I can go. Afterall, I’ve always been a big fan of psychology and like to study people, and I am thrilled to just think of the possibility of working in IT companies by going into HCI (that’s true, right?) After working with non-profit org. these years, I often times wonder if these are most suitable for me and want to find careers more challenging and exciting… well now as I go through my “test,” I will keep you updated and present you my (un)successful experience.
After graduation I plan to go back to China and contribute what I’ve learned here back to China. I have been in the U.S. for five years and wondered what I want to do for a long time, and now I finally found my passion and I am ready to head back home to continue my passion.
Wow so much about myself for now…Next blog I will talk about some useful websites for grad school search.