Tag Archives: UNISA

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…
2013-03-28 16.03.27

puppy training (being “abused” black and blue in the process)…
Photo 01-07-2014 16 35 05

Photo 02-06-2014 15 41 35

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. ūüė¶
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‚Ķthe attitude towards the library and how it affects school performance‚Ķthe students’ attitudes towards the school library and how they reflect that of teachers and parents. I feel I know too little ‚Äď 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äėwrong‚Äô. I look forward to future employment in a library environment, to be exposed to the practical experience.

Completing Task 2 ‚Äď 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

Photo 18-06-2014 15 48 25

Photo 18-06-2014 15 54 57

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.

Photo 26-06-2014 15 12 32

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Distance learning

Blogging not my forte

Everyone blogs! If you’re a librarian, you blog! Well, I’m a different librarian, or at least student-librarian.¬†(Ah, yes…I discovered a little late in life that I had missed my vocation).

Anyway,¬†¬†I just can’t seem to latch on to this blogging thing. I do keep a journal…couldn’t go without it. But using language in an entertaining manner for the public to read is not one of my talents. I was brought up half Afrikaans/half English, and this did not help my vocabulary and grammar. (Talking about being a different kind of librarian…do all librarians love cats? It seems that way! I don’t like cats. Yes, you read right…I DON’T LIKE CATS! Feels good to say it too. But then, there are those two that belong to my daughter and son-in-law, that have kind of crept into my heart!)

With 7/30 modules left to complete¬†a Bachelor’s degree in¬†Info Science, 2014 is going to be a slog; I’m doing Distance Learning through the University of South Africa. I should complete this in Dec 2014. Roll on 2015, when I can get out there in the ‘real’ library world, hopefully¬†equipped to make a difference somewhere.¬† As an expat in Doha, Qatar, I have my eye on the VERY handsome, modern Qatar National Library. Aah, as they say, dreams are good friends!

This year¬†the course focus is on subject organization, cataloging, classification, user needs, political economy of information and more. Also a practical portfolio to do.¬† I love cataloging…sounds crazy, but someone has to love it, right?! However, this course is designed to make you a ‘jack of all trades’.¬† We’ll see where my strength lies when I get out there. By nature, I love to help, to serve, and make things easier for others.¬† So maybe it will be¬†reader guidance.

For now, though, bring on 2014!  Dying to get this year behind me.   I hope to keep a record of my experiences in this final year.  Cataloguing, here we go again!


Tools of the trade

Leave a comment

Filed under Student librarian

Oh boy…

What have I let myself in for?  Was I naive? Can I really do this?

Last year’s journey of discovery was amazing.¬†¬†Wrote in for 6 modules….got to do some volunteering at 2 different libraries, (a school¬†and a museum library)….¬†it was just fantastic!¬†By the end of the year I had to give¬†up the volunteer jobs to be able to cope with¬†exam prep.¬† Throughout¬†all this, my home life changed dramatically – circumstances I¬†shall blog about in the near future. But, I plodded on….prayed…plodded¬†on….and passed.

Hello¬†2013….where am I in this course?¬† Can I call it 2/3 of the way through? No,¬†probably not, since I still have 4/10 modules of only the 2nd Level to complete.¬† This year I have registered for 2 modules¬†from the¬†3rd level’s requirement, and suddenly I¬†find out what it is like¬†to be in your final year….NO MORE¬†POINTERS!¬†Discover for yourself! Read, read and read!

Can I do this? Time will tell…I’m not a natural lateral/out-of-the-box thinker, and with no-one to engage in conversation¬†during each day of hard slog, it’s going to be a challenge to stay motivated.¬† Oh there is the UNISA forum, but people are more interested in forming little email cliques and Whatsapp chat groups, than actually¬†partaking in discourse¬†on the forum.¬† Is this because the lecturers access the forums?¬†Or because their English is mostly so poor. (Talking about Africa here.) Or is it because the students¬†like to use the ‘gangsta style slang’ and not the required proper form of English grammar and spelling.¬†Whatever! The forums don’t work! Point is, I’m on my own…the Internet and a host of blogs, journal articles and I, in deadly silence!

Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this….but then I think of my dream – to have a profession and to do what I love – working in a library.

Right…¬†I’ve always been up for a challenge.¬†¬†This one might beat me.¬†Will I let it?¬† Please God,¬†give me the abilities I don’t have….perhaps then I’ll get through. (Oh, and while you’re about it, refresh my tired brain; it IS only January.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Distance learning woes

2012 Nerves

So, looking back, the 1st-year subjects are down with ease! Now 2nd year has begun and I’m really sweating.¬† Do I have enough time to get through all this material? Do I have the ability? My memory is questionable…stress??¬† The ACRONYMS are killing me.¬† How in the world does any¬†information professional¬†remember all these acronyms? And I already feel as if I’m sinking in a quagmire of metadata, microdata, motivation equation, knowledge – what is it?¬† There are¬†interests, preferences, attitudes to make up user behaviour, all affected by record behaviour and contexts of user behaviour…whoa!! At least I recognise one thing…dear old Maslow. Thank goodness for something I know! But wait…what’s this? It’s being taken a step further…reading needs, escapist and aesthetic needs etc. etc.

So they say the world may end this year? Might I be so lucky! And then there’s talk of war in the Middle East…now that would mess up my plans! Just my textbooks alone would make up my allotted 30kgs if we had to flee, but there’s no way I’d leave them behind! Would be good if a certain country across the way would quietly shut its mouth and behave!! We’re all a tad tense.

Ok, enough already….back to the books. Bibliographic control, basic descriptive cataloguing, classification…

As they say locally, Inshallah, next month I may have a more positive outlook. Gulp. ūüė¶

Comments Off on 2012 Nerves

Filed under Student librarian

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! ūüôā

Leave a comment

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