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

First Weeks

Sarah Callanan

The fall semester is starting to ramp up everyone!  We’ve only had three class sessions of LIS 454: Digital Information Services and Providers so far but I feel like I’ve learned so much!  We’ve been building on topics that we learned about in LIS 407: Information Sources and Services such as Boolean logic and nesting as well as learning new topics such as database structure and search techniques for specific databases.  We’ve started working with ProQuest databases, ProQuest Dialog, and Factiva so far.  I’m learning more about the particulars of how to search, and why it is best to search that way.  I really enjoy searching so this class is definitely my cup of tea!  

Now that we’ve had a few class sessions, I can tell you that LIS 454 is very different than other classes that I’ve taken at SLIS before.  Then again, I suppose that most classes students are taking this semester (as well as in Spring 2020 and Summer 2020) have been a bit different because of the pandemic.  As I mentioned in some of my earlier posts, this was supposed to be an in-person class taught in Boston, and due to COVID-19, it is now a live synchronous class taught over Zoom, which is certainly a new adventure for me.  It’s pretty much like if we were all taking an in-person class from our individual homes, and I really love having live lectures, activities, and the ability to ask questions in real time!  One of the benefits of this class taking place over Zoom is that we can have lectures from guest speakers in real time from people who aren’t local to the Boston area—for example during our second class, we had a guest lecture from Xiaoyan Song, an Electronic Resources Librarian from North Carolina State University, and during our third class we had a guest lecture from Yvonne Valenti on using Factiva.  We’re having several more guest lectures throughout the semester as well which will be fun!  Something that is definitely different than other online classes that I’ve taken at Simmons is the participation component.  Every online class I’ve taken at SLIS has had a lot of participation work that needed to be completed throughout each week, such as participating in forums or various activities.  This class does not have that–our participation component is coming from our live weekly class sessions and the activities we do together there.  We still have weekly readings to complete, and assignments and projects throughout the semester, but the weekly online participation forums and activities aren’t a thing in this class.  I think it’s because this class was originally an in-person class (and it still kind of is).   I know the synchronous Zoom classes are something that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic but I’m hoping that even after the pandemic is over, they stick around.  The format of this class combines the best elements of online learning and in-person learning for me.  I was kind of nervous about taking a synchronous online class at first, and I know we’re still in the first few weeks of the semester, but I really like this format!  I know everyone learns differently and operates best in different environments, but this is really working for me.  I’m still a bit nervous that there will be some sort of technological failure that will make me not be able to get on Zoom for our class session, but I’ll cross that bridge once I get to it.  

Next time I’ll tell you all about our exciting semester-long project!