Monday, November 17, 2008

LIS 768: A Thank You to Michael Stephens

17 November 2008
Dear Michael,

I just wanted to say, “THANK YOU!!!” for such a great class. LIS 768 (Library 2.0) was, hands-down, one of the most useful classes I’ve had the pleasure of taking thus far in the pursuit of my MLIS. I currently work in a small rural public library (and plan to remain there), and unfortunately, some of what is taught in the MLIS classes really doesn’t apply to us and our daily reality. The content of this class transcends location; Library 2.0 isn’t just for the big urban libraries—in fact, there is probably more benefit for a smaller library like my own.

At the end of the last weekend, you asked us to tell you what you did right, and what you can improve upon for the next time you teach this class. I’ll start with what you did right.

By building in time for us to actually play with the different things presented during class time, you allowed us the freedom to truly discover (almost risk-free) what we could do with whatever it was we’d just learned about. By being able to explore and take the applications for a test drive, I learned so much more about what I liked and what I didn’t like. There were things, like Second Life, that I doubt I’ll use again; but at least I know about it! Over the course of the term, with regard to ‘computer stuff’, I became as fearless academically as I am at home doing my own thing. I learned that there is no right way to use Web 2.0 applications, and indeed, by thinking out of the box with some of it, I can tweak it to use at the library as well.

I know I really enjoyed the way you not only shared your knowledge and experience with us, but also listened to what we had to say as well. If you didn’t know the answer to something, you were up front with us and told us so. When my group decided to tackle Drupal, you were excited for us, offered to host our project on your server, and gave us the name of a person who had previous experience with Drupal in case we had questions (and we did!). I also appreciated how you made yourself available to us through various avenues, and didn’t adhere to formal office hours.

As to what you can improve… :) I think I’m not alone in wishing that this class could have lasted all semester. I know we only scratched the surface of what all is out there! So, if you can work on that…

I liked reading the context book and applying it to the Library World; I just felt like I was doing it in a vacuum. I don’t know of a better way to do the assignment because of the nature of the class, though. There just seemed to be kind of a disconnect between the assignment and the rest of the class. Same with the final paper-I know there has to be a final project (or something), but instead of a paper, is there something else that would suffice?

In my blog post about reflecting and wrapping up, I wrote this:
From LIS 768, I'm taking away a renewed sense of, "Hey, I can do this." Very empowering. I'm excited to see what I can take back both to my 'everyday' life, and to my library. My world has opened up immeasurably because of using these new tools. Although there are moments that I wish I could just hit a pause button for awhile so I can get caught up, for the most part I just remember the most important thing we learned this semester--Have Fun. Play. Don't Be Afraid to Explore. And, I know that just because the formal class is over, that doesn't mean I get to stop doing any or all of those things.

So, thank you for coming to St Kate’s for LIS 768 and guiding us through the (at that point) somewhat bewildering world of Library 2.0. Thank you for being one of the people in the profession who really ‘gets it’. Being able to actually use what I learned in a practical sense at my library is just an added bonus.

Thank you again,
LIS 768 @ St Kate’s Fall Term 2008

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