Category Archives: Day in the Life

Day in the Life: What Does an Online Student Do?

I am one of the many online library students in the world today. Even though many great programs like the University of Washington (San Jose State, Simmons) have online masters programs, I still get blank looks and tons of questions when I introduce myself as an online student (both residential students at UW & librarians/archivists at conferences). So what do we online students do all day since we don’t have scheduled class times? How does this whole online school thing work? Even these questions have been plaguing you, have no fear I’m here to tell you about my day.

This quarter Monday, Wednesday, Friday are my pure school days. I usually work on various types of school work from around 11 am (when my husband leaves for work) to 7 pm (when he calls me on his drive home for work). Now staying in my apartment working on my laptop or desktop all day is a bit of a drag (believe me I did this my first quarter but ALL WEEK – once I realized I hadn’t been outside in 5 days I knew something had to change) so I walk down to my favorite local coffee shop for the first few hours of the day. Not only is it nice to you know be outside for a little while, but I get some nice social interaction with my baristas who know me quite well by now.

On this particular Wednesday, I had earmarked the day for my indexing class which I had neglected the previous week. When working through a module for a class, I usually read the assigned articles first then move on to the recorded lectures. Now depending on the class I might take a break between lectures (usually our lectures are only 30-40 minutes long) and head over to the discussion boards. For online students, the discussion board is our classroom. Think of it this way – online education is the original flipped classroom. We read the material and watch the lectures then we come together to discuss the major issues of modules (these can be proposed by the professor or the students can bring up points they want or both!)

Now the dynamics of an online discussion do differ from an in person discussion. We are required to participate in some manner (Now I know this is the norm in most classes but it seems more immediate when your professor can actually count the number of your posts) plus our conversations last for one to two weeks. We do have the normal group of super participators that talk early and often, but overall I feel like more people get in on the discussion. However, when discussion participation is not a part of our grade discussion boards can become a desert wasteland (like the case with my indexing class this quarter).

Now that you have the basics of the online education, let me get on with my day. My indexing class had an assignment due on Wednesday and this week it was a partner assignment. We each indexed the same article and then swapped our indexing terms and answered a series of questions about the consistency measurements of our terms. Out of all the group work I’ve completed this partner work is my favorite type. Also I enjoy seeing how another student indexes the same materials and getting to compare our results.

After finishing my assignment I jumped onto my Management class’s discussion board to catch up on the chatter since last week. By the time  I finished all this it was time to wrap up my work for the day.

My evening consisted of making some delicious home made chicken nuggets, watching Supernatural, and working on my indexing and transcriptions for Hiring Librarians! So there you have it – a normal day in the life of an online student.

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Tuesday – Day in the Life

After a very unusual Monday, my Tuesday was mostly by the book. Tuesday and Thursday I hop on the bus at 10 am with my morning coffee and head downtown to Sub Pop Records. Right now I’m nearing the end of my quarter long internship in digital asset management. I do work for both the music label’s archive and marketing department.

On Tuesday I balanced work for each department. For the archives I continued to work on my music video back up project. Right now Sub Pop does not have physical copies of more recent music videos in the office. They have an offsite company that holds the videos and that company has physical backups but not available to Sub Pop. So right now I’m burning the high quality video files onto DVDs and recording the video details (codec, data rate, etc). On the marketing side I was collecting data about the different email lists the marketing department manages for certain bands. I found that my multitasking online student self was right at home for the combined work. It was nice to have a separate task to work on while the DVDs would burn.

When I left my internship at 3pm, my “normal” day was a bit diverted because instead of hopping on my bus home I headed down to the very awesome Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library to spend a few hours . My deviation in routine was due to the very not normal way I spent the evening. Michael and I met up at El Corazon to see The Hushed Sound perform on their reunion tour! We first saw them in 2005 when we (and some of the band) were still in high school. It was an awesome concert with four opening bands and we walked away with three new, awesome CDs.

I’m just glad to get back to my normal days and nights now. Having a real life during the last two weeks of the quarter is rough.

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Day in the Life: Pleasure Reading

I must admit the beginning of my “Day in the Life” series isn’t the most accurate representation of my usual life. Today my husband, Michael, and I will spend half the day wrapping up a visit from two of our friends who came into town for Emerald City Comic Con. (Yes if you plan correctly you CAN have some semblance of a personal life in library school!) The weekend was full of geeking out while meeting some of our favorite artists, comic book writers, and actors (I met Sir Patrick Stewart!).

However, my day of getting very little done benefits you all! Let’s talk about pleasure reading. Since starting library school I, like many of you, have had little or no time to read for pleasure. Even when I do find that I have free time when I can pick up a novel I find my eyes swimming and my brain just shutting down. I can hear my inner voice yelling “NO MORE WORDS!” I started brain storming for some reading entertainment that I could indulge in that did not involve computers, blogs, or libraries. I found the answer this summer – comics. Now I know that word is a bit loaded. Even now that I’m a comic reader I still think of super heroes when I say the word, but there are as many genres of comics as there are fiction.

Personally I’d like to endorse my favorite genre of comics – the LAF Triumvirate (Literature-based, animal, and Fairy tale based fantasy) comics. This growing genre of comics will please any library student. Your favorite literary heroes step off the page of their novels and into comics usually leaving behind the restrictions their plots. This results is wonderful, fresh stories with the graphics that stimulates your word weary brain. Here are some of my favorites.

Fables – “When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the “mundys,” their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown. From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world.” (From Amazon) This is a long series (over 130 comics so far), but with a great fleshed out universe. It also has several spin off series. It is worth while series and great for those of us with a weakness for long series.

Kill Shakespeare – “This dark take on the Bard pits his greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) in an epic adventure to find and kill a reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare” (From back of book) This a short two book adventure that is rumored to become a movie in the near-ish future (There is a screenplay ready)!

The Unwritten – This series follows Tom Taylor the son of a famous writer who based his main character the wizard Tommy Taylor on him (these books are a great echo of the Harry Potter series – however all the other literature mentioned in the series is real). Everything gets complicated when a woman accuses Tom Taylor of being the incarnation of Tommy during a Q & A session at a convention. Tom’s life only gets worse as he discovers what his father had created the Tommy Taylor books as a way to fight against a secret cabal that has been controlling the word through literature. Unwritten is a relatively new comic with under 50 issues out.

Sandman – Neil Gaiman’s wonderful comic series from the late 80s and early 90s. This series bridges the gap between superhero and literary-based comics. The series starts out in the world of DC comics with appearances by such notable characters as The Joker. Later in the series Gaiman’s characters inhabit their own universe full of wonderful characters including Dream, Death, Delirium, Destiny, Desire, Despair, and Destruction. If you enjoy Gaiman’s novels then you’ll enjoy his comics. However, if you are not versed in DC lore then you might want to check out the Annotated version from the library so you can get all the DC allusions. This might be a great series to start with since it has an ending.

Comics are wonderful pleasure reading during grad school. They stimulate other sections of your mind with the illustrations. They are short reads, and they scratch that fiction itch.

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