There are many things necessary to be a successful library school student dependent upon if you decide to go to school in the traditional classroom or entirely online. I got my Master in Library in Information Science in the traditional format, but since then worked as an online librarian and have become very comfortable in an online environment. Right now, I am taking courses toward a certificate through San Jose State University (SJSU) which is entirely online. This is a unique experience but I spend so much time online it is not foreign to me.
I took an Online Learning Readiness Assessment offered by San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) and it gave me a score of 45, which means I am ready for online learning! At the end of the assessment you are given some tips, and the Unit 5 assignment also has some valuable points for what makes a successful online student. Of course, many things contribute to a student’s success in an online environment such as:
- Participation in discussion boards, via email, and instance messaging with classmates and instructor
- Time management is a huge issue because you are responsible for designating time to complete your coursework. I personally prefer going to school online than sitting in rush hour traffic on one of Chicago’s expressways after working 8 hours, and then finding the time to do homework before I go to sleep.
- This leads into being self-motivated and the ability to work independently!
- You must have the technical skills and computer software/hardware to be able to watch lectures, participate in synchronous meetings, complete written assignments and post them to blogs and discussion boards, send/receive email, and be familiar with Microsoft Office.
- The ability to work in teams for group projects which is often a requirement in the workplace.
Dr. Ken Haycock made some very important points during his colloquia presentation titled Working in teams. His presentation was extremely informative, and I would have loved to receive this tutorial before I started library school. It is inevitable that you will work in teams as a librarian, and having this type of discussion would have been extremely valuable to completing my graduate coursework. A few things Dr. Haycock discussed in his presentation that stood out to me were:
- Vertical teams incorporate different perspectives but have the same problem and issues but different ideas to bring a resolution.
- The team should set ground rules for all team members to follow and if they are not followed there should be defined consequences.
- Conflict is not unusual and a successful team addresses it!
Dr. Haycock and Enid Irwin both point out that students often do not want to work in teams. Enid Irwin admits she is someone who does not like working in teams, and she outlines some of the fears online students have with teamwork being number 1! Students fear a lack of control in a team environment, and many do not have the skills to be a successful team member. This contributes to their fear as well. Trust is an issue both mention in their presentations. Trusting that a team member will complete the task they were assigned.
Just these few points out of the many that Dr. Haycock and Enid Irwin made will help me be a better team member and leader as I continue to take courses at SJSU.
There are so many factors that contribute to a student’s success in an online environment it can be daunting for students that struggle with using their home computers. So, it is essential to gain the necessary computer skills to be successful in online coursework.