Category Archives: Distance learning

Contemplation

Sitting in the calmness of this Beaufort West garden, contemplating the stressful rush of adrenalin that was the last 9 months, it seems surreal. As if one life was lived adjacent to another.

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It seems so unreal to know that my studies are over…I did it!! I have a degree…Bachelor of Information Science. So far, of 5 results, 3 are in…all distinctions. So pleased.

And here we are, in South Africa, enjoying a break before the next phase of our lives… I hope to volunteer in libraries for 6 months, we will become grandparents in March, I hope to be in Aus for the birth, and hoping that my graduation ceremony won’t be at the same time. Then I will look for a job in Doha, until such time that we are sure we need to settle elsewhere. Please God, guide us.

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Filed under Distance learning, The joys of learning at 50+

Exam fever…

It’s that time of the year…I pick up a book to study and I get sleepy. Suddenly I remember the email I forgot to send, or that recipe waiting to be made. Oh, and look at the pile of washing, plus the garden needs weeding! Yep… Anything but studying! Got to get to it! It’s the final stretch…in two months all the hard work of DL can be over. Woohoo *claps with delight*

The practical portfolio is printed and ready for the courier. SUCH a relief! Hoping it gets a good grade.

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One thing I realised from doing this portfolio is the strength of my passion about school libraries! After last week’s final visit to get pupil demographics, I felt SO sad to see a school full of kids being disadvantaged because adults, who are stuck in the past, don’t utilise and support the school library.

After exams, perhaps a study-no-more “honeymoon” break with hubby. Thanks to him that I have reached the end. Brandtie, I salute you!

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Catching up…

It’s always daunting to see how fast time travels by. Since March I’ve not really known which way to turn, except for one week that we took for a ‘holiday’ in Cape Town after writing exams. Exams, I might add, that I passed well, considering what was going on in my life during the months prior to writing: Autism month…
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puppy training (being “abused” black and blue in the process)…
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a brother who passed away suddenly,
and a daughter far away ‘down under’, who suffered a miscarriage. Sad I wasn’t able to be there for her. 😦
Expat life!

Saw this on Twitter...

Saw this on Twitter…

Since this blog is mostly around my Distance Learning experiences and especially about building the practical portfolio this year, I’ve decided to enter my ‘Reflections’ from my portfolio task as blog entries. They will take the reader back a few months in time, but for me, it’s rewarding to see how my studies and abilities, develop and improve.

Research blues (April 2014)
Having completed one third of this portfolio I am feeling intimidated, wondering if I will actually make it through. Illness cost me a week’s worth of scheduled study time. I am tired and exams are approaching. Each time I think of a problem statement, I change my mind. This task feels like Mount Everest.

What I really want to research I have no clue how to approach…the correlation between the use of a library and school results…the attitude towards the library and how it affects school performance…the students’ attitudes towards the school library and how they reflect that of teachers and parents. I feel I know too little – about school libraries, about research, about anything, really. I feel discouraged and disoriented, probably because I am panicking right now. The School closes from mid-June until September. How will this task get done? I am totally overwhelmed with exams to study for, classification and cataloguing assignments to complete, a home to run with no domestic help, and son’s large puppy to cope with. Next step…email my lecturer!

Mid-year encouragement (May/June ’14)
Can one month make such a difference? Still overwhelmed, still snowed under with studies and work, but feeling a lot more positive about the Portfolio. Getting a reply e-mail from my lecturer was a relief, as I had misunderstood the brief. I thought that I have to conduct the research, not only plan it. Now, however, there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

I am surprised at how intimidated I feel regarding research. I always thought I could be a research librarian, or a research assistant, because I love looking for information, finding it, evaluating it. I had no clue what research involved until we did the RSC2601 course at 2nd Level. Now that I have to actually plan a research project I feel very unsure of myself – insecure in what I think, in what I plan, in what I decide. At this point I don’t have that autonomous confidence a librarian should have. I realise that I need to start believing in myself.

The one thing I miss with Distance Learning is conversation with fellow students. UNISA forums are not popular – people obviously don’t like to ask questions, or air their opinions on a public forum. Subject discussion re assignment or topics of interest would really be helpful in using correct vocabulary, expressing ideas and hearing those of others. In our assignments we express ideas, quote others, discuss our understanding on the topic; we get a mark, most often with no comment at all. It is difficult to know where we went ‘wrong’. I look forward to future employment in a library environment, to be exposed to the practical experience.

Completing Task 2 – July ’14
I have recently returned from a 5-week visit in South Africa. After UNISA exams my husband and I enjoyed a week’s holiday in Cape Town.

Feeling free

Feeling free

I left for Pretoria, while hubby returned to Doha.

View from Unisa over Pretoria city

View from Unisa over Pretoria city

I stayed in a gorgeous B & B, “de Vygeboom“. WOW! Immensely thankful for a warm bed and a quiet place to work on my Subject Classification assignment.

De Vygeboom B & B

De Vygeboom B & B

I attended the Information Retrieval workshop at UNISA which was fascinating and refreshing. We had a tour of the archives, Photo 18-06-2014 15 47 59

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learned more about ‘augmented reality’, blogging ;), databases Photo 17-06-2014 10 43 50

and saw the library’s automatic sorting machine in action. The cataloguing and classification course was especially valuable.

Cataloguing workshop

Cataloguing workshop

Being at UNISA campus for 2 weeks gave me new perspective and drive.

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Education is...

Education is…

Meeting fellow students and lecturers, and talking about subjects, problems and assignments was motivating. To hear that we all face the same issues, fears, joys, and anxieties was a huge relief. Isolation does negative things to one’s self-esteem. I remained in S.A. a further two weeks, to do assignment work without the normal interruptions of home.

Back in Doha, I tackled Portfolio Task 2 with renewed vigour. (Task 1 was given a good review, much to my relief.)

Portfolio Task 1, marked. Whew!

Portfolio Task 1, marked. Whew!

Other assignments were also waiting. Time was against me, and I was not able to read through the books and articles as I would have hoped. As I was completing this task, I was surprised how much clearer it became. Now, at the end, I still wonder if I have approached the research plan correctly; however, I am encouraged to perceive the positive difference in my approach, compared to 2 or 3 months ago.

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Social media in schools

Here are some interesting viewpoints on social media in schools.
Interesting. Just wondering if it would work in all cultures.

On the Distance Learning front…
I’ve been reading a lot for essay purposes… just two left! Woohoo! I’ve had essay-glut-syndrome… My brain does not want to cooperate anymore.
I haven’t visited the school this last month. I did give them a copy of the SWOT and a copy of my ‘way forward’ planning for the library. I’ve had ZERO comment/feedback, which leads me to think they are not impressed. Wonder what my lecturer’s opinion will be. Gulp. I know I’m making myself horribly vulnerable, but…watch this space for feedback on that issue.

Incidentally, I recommended blocking Facebook access on the library computers… It’s just so obvious why the Yr 12s and 13s prefer the PCs facing the wall! *thinks bad setup*

On other news…
My two Aspies (hubby and son) came home with a puppy 3 weeks ago, much to my horror at first…but it was love at first sight for all of us, and there you are…an instant, unasked-for, unplanned, edition to our family.
Luke….

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Of course all disciplining/feeding/control of said pup falls in my quarter! Sigh! And all while I chase those darned deadlines and really, really, need to concentrate! Oh well, ‘concentrate’ has been out the window! I plod on, counting down to November – the month of bliss – when my studies will be over!
Needless to say he is so adorable, feels the love, and therefore rules the roost!
Till next time…

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Filed under Distance learning, Secondary School libraries, The joys of learning at 50+

Mundane DL turns into fun PD

Through all the work and pressure of deadlines approaching, I’ve just remembered that I have a blog which I have not posted to for a while.  What to talk about? All I have is the mundane of life at the mo…

  • Working through a module ‘Serving the User’.  I giggle each time when I think of how much R David Lankes hates the term ‘user’, and how we’re required to use it.  I must say I agree with him…I love the term ‘member’ instead (Expect more. Lankes 2012, p61).  With this subject I’ve been challenged to think of how Outreach and Extension Services can be used in my community.  That got me thinking about the huge numbers of computer illiterate labourers that are in this country, where much of everyday life takes place on the net – e-health, e-government, e-banking…  A challenge indeed!  I wonder if, and how, the fancy new National Library (due to open in 2015) will reach out to them.      
  • I’m also working through a module called the Political Economy of Information. Okay, whatever!! Can’t wait to see the end of it.  In South Africa’s scenario I only see regression from 2000, after Pres. Mandela stood down from politics.  South Africa’s ‘secrecy bill’ is a crying shame. This article from 2013 is still just as relevant.
  • In between, I’m practicing classification – for two hours each morning, while my brain is working at its optimal best from the caffeine kick, I tackle the Dewey system with various topics.  Let’s just say, out of every 5 I appear to get one and a half correct! Waaah.  😦  Well, I mean fully correct. (I do get at least the first three numbers correct, thankfully!)  Hopefully that improves by the end of the year before the exam.  I do love it though. It’s a challenge. 

So, with two essays due by the end of February and by the end of March, I’m going to have some reading to do.  That intimidating portfolio is pushed aside for now, except for a day or two, here and there. 

Every now and then I treat myself to a Twitter session.  Tonight, once supper was out of the way and the dishes were washed by my ever-supportive hubby, I sat in the bath and had the pleasure of following Buffy Hamilton’s real-time experience with library lessons.  Sessions which she referred to as ‘Book Tasting’. Oh wow, wow, wow!  I have to admit, that silent reading in the school library has become my pet-hate, but having the privilege of seeing this process (via Twitter, no less!!) has me realising that I know nothing at all!  Well, I do know that the teens I’ve witnessed are bored silly, but that’s because it’s not being done in a way that will make it exciting for them. Thank you Buffy! I am learning. Looking forward to your Blog post.  🙂

Oh, and Woohoo! for Twitter! I get to have some PD at any random hour I choose!  It’s just wonderful. 

And so a very mundane DL evening, was turned into a fun PD experience.

 

1 from hubby for Valentine's day, and the other from my garden.

1 from hubby for Valentine’s day, and the other from my garden.

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Hello blogging world!

It’s Winter 2010…two weeks to Christmas. I’m embarking on this thing called Blogging. Feeling brave.

Just returned from Brisbane where we attended our lovely daughter’s graduation ceremony. Can’t believe she has qualified already. Where did time go? And I’ve just completed my first year of studies while working FULL TIME. Needless to say, I resigned, so that I could rather study full time.  But now I find I’m in two minds regarding what I should do…find a job? Study full time? I’ve just registered for four 2nd yr modules….four! That’s a lot for me. Decisions, decisions… Oh well, MERRY CHRISTMAS to anyone on the Information spectrum who might read this! 🙂

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