skip to main content
Indiana University

Bloomington Campus bridge
Indianapolis Canal

Standard II: Curriculum

Appendix 2.2: Notes of faculty discussion of MLS curriculum

-----Original Message-----
From: SLIS Faculty List [mailto:SLISFACULTY@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU] On Behalf Of Nisonger, Thomas Evans
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 12:09 PM
Subject: Notes on January 22 MLS Meeting

Notes from the Open Meeting on the MLS Program January 22, 2008, 10 A.M., Bloomington campus

Present: Rachel Applegate, Ron Day, Noriko Hara, Marilyn Irwin, Elin Jacob, Kathy Schilling, Lokman Meho, Tom Nisonger, Alice Robbin, Howard Rosenbaum, Pnina Shachaf, Ralf Shaw, Kiduk Yang, and John Walsh.

Participating by Polycom phone: Mary Alice Ball, Jean Preer, and Jingfeng Xia.

Votes were taken on the 6 core areas identified at the December 12, 2007 meeting:

Reference Yes-17 Maybe-0 No-O

Collection Development & Management
Initial vote: Yes-10 Maybe-7 No-O
Revote after discussion: Yes-17 Maybe-O No-O

Knowledge Organization/Representation Yes-17 Maybe-O No-O

Research/Evaluation Yes-15 Maybe-2 No-0

Initial vote: Yes-8 Maybe-9 No-0
Revote after discussion: Yes 13 Maybe-3 No-0

Management/Leadership Yes 11 Maybe-4 No-1

Another core area was proposed for voting:
Information & Society Yes 1 Maybe-14 No-2

The voting confirmed the 6 core areas as: reference, collection development & management, knowledge representation/cataloging, research/evaluation, technology, and management/leadership. Note these votes related to core areas, not the make-up of the courses for the area.

Most of the meeting was devoted to discussing the technology area. A basic question concerned whether the focus should be on: 1) the application of basic skills; 2) a theoretical/conceptual coverage of basic skills; or 3) the impact of technology on libraries, organizations, and the environment. Several models were broached for how the technology course or courses would be configured, including: 1) maintaining S401 in a present or similar form without a general 500 level technology course; 2) revamping S401 into a joint S401/S500-level course in which the S401 would be opened to undergraduates and S500 to graduate students; 3) substituting a S500 level course for S401; 4) maintaining S401 plus adding a new S500-level course; and 5) offering a choice among several technology courses already present in

the curriculum.

A related question concerns how we advertise the credit hours: 1) 36 plus 3 hours prerequisite (the status quo); 39 hours (making the core technology course part of the regular requirements); or 3) 36 hours (eliminating an elective).

Other points that were made: 1) we need S401 because of the revenue it raises; 2) SLIS students need basic technological skills for more advanced courses, but some faculty, while teaching advanced courses, find they lack these skills; 3) S401 consistently receives poor student evaluations, with the students often criticizing the instructor's knowledge; 4) rapid changes in technology complicate designing course content and recruiting instructors; 5) SLIS should be looking forward rather than backward; 6) S401 presently teaches students what is needed for SLIS courses rather than for a professional position; 7) there is currently no waiver for S401 on the Bloomington campus, but a waiver is still offered on the IUPUI campus; and 8) we need a model outlining the content of a 500-level technology course.

The meeting adjourned at noon. It was decided to use e-mail to set the next meeting.

-----Original Message-----
From: SLIS Faculty List [mailto:SLISFACULTY@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU] On Behalf Of Nisonger, Thomas Evans
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 6:06 PM To: SLISFACULTY@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU
Subject: Agenda for Open Meeting on MLS Program on Dec 12

AGENDA Open Meeting on MLS Program
December 12, 2007 10:00 A.M.
University Library 2115E IUPUI Campus
Distribution of Notes from October 31 Meeting.
Including Key Constituencies in Review Process
Time of Next Meeting
Lokman Meho's Proposal of December 11, 2007 & Comments
Continuing Agenda from October 31 Meeting.

Other Issues

Agenda from October 31 Meeting.

Assessment of student learning outcomes.
MLS Curricular Issues:
Foundation Courses: Should S503 be required of all MLS students? Should S506 be required of all MLS students?
Foundation Courses for "Management and Leadership" area.
S401: number of credits? Renumbering to graduate level course?
Added to foundation courses?
Number of credits advertised for MLS?
Overlap and duplication among courses.
Other curricular issues.
Plans for future meetings and including key constituencies.
Other issues.

-----Original Message-----
From: SLIS Faculty List [mailto:SLISFACULTY@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU] On Behalf Of Nisonger, Thomas Evans
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2007 5:13 PM
Subject: Notes on MLS Open Meeting

Notes from the open meeting on the MLS Program October 31, 2007

Present: Rachel Applegate, Noriko Hara, Marilyn Irwin, Elin Jacob, Lokman Meho, Tom Nisonger, Jean Preer, Howard Rosenbaum, Kathy Schilling, Pnina Shachaf, Ralf Shaw, and John Walsh Regrets: Ron Day, Alice Robbin

Rachel Applegate introduced the topic of student learning outcomes assessment. She stated that pressures for such assessment come from three sources: 1) the accreditation process on both the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses; the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation; and Indiana University itself. She suggested that development of a SLIS student assessment process was desirable. Points made during the discussion included: SLIS has assessed student learning outcomes through surveying recent graduates, surveying employers of SLIS graduates, and relying on the course grading system.

Surveys of students and employers are considered indirect measures. Direct measures would be: a final comprehensive exam, a capstone project, and student portfolios (about half of ALA accredited programs have at least one of these).

The question of a capstone project received little attention in the discussion. A number of problems were raised regarding a comprehensive final exam, including difficult experiences with it at other institutions and problems developing a common set of questions since students will have taken different foundation courses.

Most of the discussion focused on the portfolio approach. Specific suggestions included having students compile their own portfolios, taking a random sample of students, and examining the bottom 10% of student papers. Points regarding the portfolio approach included:
Portfolios would provide concrete evidence to be used in accreditation. Specific projects may represent a capstone of what a student has learned in a course.
It might be evaluating the instructor.
Students might not be motivated to submit portfolios.
Faculty might not be able to assess work done outside their specialty areas.

Rachel Applegate, Lokman Meho, and Kathy Schilling will form a subcommittee to further investigate this issue.

The question of whether S503 (Representation and Organization) should be required of all MLS students was discussed next. Points raised in the discussion included:
S503 is more theoretical, S504 (Cataloging) is more practical. Students who take S503 are better prepared for other SLIS courses and the job market.
S503 is required for the Digital Library program.
In the earlier curriculum, S503 belonged to the "hard core" of 4 courses for both the MLS & MIS, but students were only required to take 3 of the 4.
When the present MLS curriculum was designed, Danny Callison strongly believed that school media students should be required to take S504.
Adoption of S503 requires either an "up" or "out" approach. We would either have to up the foundation courses to 6, or remove S504 from the foundation courses. (Most attendees seemed to think that adoption of S503 would result in making S504 an elective.)
The school media certification process requires they take a cataloging course.
If S503 is required, school media certification specialists would not have a single elective course.
If S504 is not meeting student needs, perhaps the solution is to change the course content rather than remove it as a foundation course.
The requirements have to be the same for all students.
Considerable attention was given to the idea of making S504 an elective and creating a separate Representation and Organization course for school media specialists.

Marilyn Irwin will investigate to determine if such a course would meet the school media certification requirement.

Next, the issue of whether S506 (Introduction to Research) should be required of all SLIS students was addressed. The following points emerged during the discussion.
The same "up" or "out" issue comes into play.
That students who take S506 are better prepared to read and critique research papers.
Academic librarians need to understand the research process and how to conduct research.
Public and school librarians do not necessarily need to know how to conduct research.
While there is some overlap in course content, S506 and S505 (Evaluation of Resources and Services) address different student needs and interests.

Several people explicitly stated they preferred the present system because of the flexibility it offers in meeting different student interests, although some seemed to favor requiring all students to take S506.

It was decided it would be fair to alternate meeting sites between Bloomington and Indianapolis. The next meeting will be held on the IUPUI campus on Wednesday, December 12 at 10 A.M. in UL 2115E on the second floor of the Philanthropy Library area.