Tag 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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