Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Going Home and Going Online

I got back from winter break a little later than everyone else since I had my brother’s wedding to attend the last week of January. If anyone needs a refresher (I’m sure I mention it in nearly every blog post) but I am from Florida, and in true extra Florida fashion, my brother got married on a 3-day Disney cruise to the bahamas. It was fantastic, I got to spend quality time with my own family and my new sister-in-law’s family, most importantly though I got to spend that time with family in the sunny caribbean.

I mention this lovely vacation not to brag (that’s a lie, I am totally bragging about how great Florida is) because in order to spend the most time with family over break and for the wedding, I decided that this semester I will be taking classes fully online!. It just made the most sense given that I wanted to spend as much time as possible home in Florida. Which is one of the great things about Simmons, they offer nearly all the core course needed for the program online!

So this semester I am enrolled in LIS438 (Introduction to Archival Methods and Services) and LIS439 (Preservation Management) both key courses in the Cultural Heritage concentration. This is not my first time taking online classes but it has been quite a while especially considering that the only other time was when I was 19, in community college taking 100 levels courses over the summer.  My biggest concern is probably obvious but self-motivation is a very important part of taking online classes. Simmons online course are asynchronous so you don’t have a specific time where you have to sign-in to “attend class”. You do have deadlines like any other course but the great thing is you don’t have to get up super early to try and beat rush hour traffic to make it to your class on time or rush to campus after work to make your evening class.

I’m only on my third week but so far the experience has been going pretty well. I’m naturally a night owl so I like being able to watch lectures and do assignments on my own time but I can’t stress how important it is to stay on top of deadlines for online courses. I’d argue it’s more important than face-to-face course since you don’t see you classmates or professor around in person to remind you of what’s coming up. So far though both my professors have been great about emailing and messaging us through moodle with updates and reminders, but I constantly find myself referring to my syllabus just to make sure.

I also want to say how important it is to take breaks when doing online courses. The first week I was quite overambitious and thought I could crank out my assignments in a day if I devoted all my time so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them leading up to the cruise. Annnnnd that lead to a wonderful migraine and even more stress. So seriously remember to pace yourself and take breaks, learn from my overconfident idiocy.

A final word of advice, which seems kind of obvious, is to not just hole up at home doing your classes. Sure, I may have decided to take online classes Spring semester because winter in New England is criminal but I am not doing myself any favors academically by sitting in bed on my laptop trying to write a reflection on agents of deterioration. Get to a coffee shops, a library, or a community work space. A change of scenery really helps perk you up and re-energize you to get back to work (caffeine and the social pressure of having others working around you certainly helps too).