s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: summer and fall

Saturday, April 08, 2006

summer and fall

This Monday I get to register for summer and fall classes. I wanted to take “Thesaurus Construction” in the summer, but they weren’t sure it was going to be offered. I have to take at least one summer class to keep my assistantship, so I was also considering “History of the Book” and “Great Printers and Their Books” as backup options. However, it looks like the Thesaurus Construction class will carry, so I’ll take that (assuming I can get in).

In fall, I’m planning on taking “Foundations of Information Processing in LIS,” “Digital Libraries: Research and Practice,” and “Information Modeling.” At some point I should probably take “Reference and Information Services,” but that class is offered every semester and the others aren’t, so I’m not in any rush. Other classes I’ve considered for fall are “Searching Online Information Systems” and “Interfaces to Information Systems.”

The tricky thing about the classes I want to take is that they’re all LEEP (distance education) classes, which means that they’re only offered online. This makes the scheduling sort of odd, because they’re all offered in the afternoon or evening, to accommodate LEEP students who are working during the day. My earliest class will start at 2pm (which is still a bit early for an evening class), and my latest one will end at 9pm. I had another (on campus) class this semester which ended at 9pm, which made for a very cold walk home in January. So I may very well be quite grateful to be able to “attend” class from the warmth of my own bedroom.

Aside from the fact that I, as an on-campus student, have to request special permission to enroll in LEEP classes (priority is understandably given to off-campus students), I am just a touch concerned about the lack of human interaction fall semester promises to provide.

I am not someone who has a high need for human interaction. My (nonexistent) dating life, my non-participation in ward activities, my non-participation is department functions, my well-worn library card, and my newly acquired interest in knitting all attest to this. However, I do have a minimal need for human interaction, which is something that I have been known to forget until it’s been days since I’ve had a conversation that was more than a perfunctory exchange of factual data and I suddenly become REALLY lonely.

I prefer classroom interaction to purely social interaction for a number of reasons. First, the default in a lecture situation is actually not to interact, which means that if I think you’re boring to talk to, I can just ignore you. (“You” refers, of course, to some nameless boring person, and not to you, gentle reader.) I can’t really just ignore people in a purely social situation. And if I do decide you’d be interesting to talk to, then we have our classwork in common, which makes it easier to start a conversation for someone like me, who has a hard time with intermediate-level small talk. Also, the fact that we’re both enrolled in a class together implies that we have some general academic interests in common.

Oh, and you’ll notice that my fall classes bear very little resemblance to the ones that
Melyngoch is planning on taking. I can only assume that they are not offered at her school, and that’s why my program is ranked first in the nation. She seems quite resigned to the situation, though, and I greatly admire her brave, cheerful outlook in the face of a complete dearth of information science classes. Mel, you’re an inspiration to us all.


At April 08, 2006 8:10 PM, Blogger Th. said...


I can't decide how I feel about Thesaurus Construction, but the backups sound great.

Lady Steed, with whom I was just discussing this, feels the same only more so (in both directions).

At April 09, 2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Katya said...

Th. - The backup classes would be fun, but Thesaurus Construction will be very useful in my chosen specialty, so I think I'm going to stick with that.

At April 11, 2006 7:48 PM, Blogger Melyngoch said...

by the way, there are a NUMBER of library and information science classes on my campus, and not a SINGLE ONE of them deals with texts in medieval Latin, so I just didn't see why I should bother.


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