Back to School – Online!

I have a new post up at ALA TechSource:

Since I started teaching at Dominican, I’ve been requiring students to blog, aggregate RSS, explore Facebook, try out Twitter, and engage in many other Web 2.0 interactions. Recently, I heard from a former student, who proclaimed that “Most of the LIS students I keep in touch with I’ve met in your classes, and it’s all because of social networking websites.”

At other LIS schools, I’ve seen similar courses or use of the tools spread out across the curriculum either in the hybrid or online model. This can be beneficial–technology should not be just for a technology class but present in the core courses and beyond, woven throughout the students’ learning objectives and deliverables. I would be greatly disheartened if someone graduated from a library school in 2009 without knowledge of and the ability to use emerging technologies.

Another benefit outlined in the New York Times article is that it seems like online courses are inherently student-centered:

“The real promise of online education, experts say, is providing learning experiences that are tailored more to individual students than is possible in classrooms. That enables more ‘learning by doing,’ which many students find more engaging and useful.”

If anything, library education should be based on an understanding of the foundations of our profession with a huge serving of “learning by doing.” That’s why I turn my students loose to explore–to PLAY–as much as possible.