Teaching Music Librarianship Online


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Presented by Dr. Sonia Archer-Capuzzo, Jackson Library Catalog Department. This presentation is based on my experience teaching Music Librarianship online to graduate-level students at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), two of the first universities to offer Music Librarianship online in the country. I presented my research at the Southeast Music Library Association (SEMLA) annual meeting in October 2013.

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  • This presentation is based on my experience as a teacher of music librarianship online for two different universities and on anonymous online surveys distributed to my former students during September 2013.
  • This is not unique to online teaching but can become especially important in this setting because it can be harder to keep students on track, gauge their comfort levels, and identify and react to problems.How do you organize topics, readings, assignments that will provide enough detail but not take up too much time that should be spent on other things? What I taught:* What is music librarianship? * Education, skills, etc. overview* Professional involvement * Acquisitions & preservation* Cataloging * Music reference* Music technology * Library instruction* Copyright * Management* Special collections & archives * Grant writing and library promotionWhat I’d like to add:* More in-depth summaries of different types of libraries* More on careers, job applications, interviews, and self-advocacy (student request)
  • Did weekly discussion boards for UNCG but not UIUC. UNCG students were required to lead two discussions during the semester in addition to chiming in every week. Somewhat disorganized.The UIUC students wanted weekly discussion boards!A potential solution: include the discussion board - stick to one discussion, two tops, per week - require postings every week (not late) – give students more control of the discussion, perhaps by coming up with topics (as at UNCG) or perhaps as discussion leaders. Have clearer and more stringent requirements.
  • UNCG had occasional meetings. UIUC had weekly meetings.Weekly meetings were more work for me, but the students appreciated them. It was also easier to make sure that they were doing the readings, keeping track of due dates, and staying engaged with the class.
  • * These were the most popular elements of both classes.UNCG: students could meet in person for our occasional class meetings or hook up online. We also took a fieldtrip to Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill together.UIUC: we had a day midway through the semester where most of us met in Illinois, at which time we took trips to the UIUC Music Library and their Sousa and American Music Special Collections/Archives. Those who could not attend could hear recordings of sections of the day online.Make sure to include some opportunity to meet up. I would love to do more virtual fieldtrips (video and audio diaries from students and from me). This could work well with the first assignment of the class, which is a report on a music library or collection. Guest speakers: on topics I knew little about and as a way to bring a diversity of voices and perspectives to the class. Students love the contributions of working librarians, and I love having someone else prep for the class.I would love to have more guest speakers come in, especially in areas of music librarianship that are often neglected in discussion, like public libraries, performance libraries, and archives (a big topic of discussion right now in the Music Librarianship Educators Roundtable).
  • Profile, IL Plan, and Funding Plan were not mentioned in surveys, but they were a big hit during the semester. Students commented on how they enjoyed the assignments and felt that they had learned a great deal. Very self-directed, but I could provide more structure for those who needed it.Bibliography wiki. Actually a bigger hit than I thought it had been. UIUC students requested more readings, which could have been addressed in part by this assignment. It is also self-directed, but for it to work, there need to be time and format guidelines.Open-ended project. Also a huge hit. I encouraged students to choose something they were passionate about. Some chose to write research papers, others to perform some sort of activity, like examining Special Collections reel-to-reel recordings and making preservation recommendations, performing a digitization or cataloging project, or designing an online library tutorial. Some took these projects and used them for later classes and/or further research.
  • 1. Interaction: weekly classes, weekly discussions, optional in-person meeting(s), fieldtrip(s), wikis, audio & video postcards. Make sure to find ways to connect those who cannot attend meeting and fieldtrip experiences.2. Guest speakers!3. Diversity: music experience varies, library experience varies, career interests vary, student learning styles vary. 4. The standard suggestions. In some ways, it’s harder to connect with students online, so it’s important to pay close attention to what’s going on to avoid leaving folks behind or making the class boring. The class needs to be challenging without being overwhelming (UNCG student).
  • Teaching Music Librarianship Online

    1. 1. Sonia Archer-Capuzzo University of North Carolina at Greensboro smarcherdma@gmail.com
    2. 2.      University of North Carolina at Greensboro Spring 2012 Students from UNCG and UNC-Charlotte Library and Music Majors 10 Students, 5 respondents to survey UNCG      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Spring 2013 Students from many universities Library Majors 16 students (15 surveys), 7 respondents to survey UIUC
    3. 3.  Focus vs. variety ◦ Students tend to prefer practicality over theory.  “There was a fairly wide range of experience levels among the students, and finding the right level at which to pitch the material must have been challenging.” (UIUC student)
    4. 4.  Discussion boards ◦ “...it was beneficial for students to take the lead for topics.” (UNCG student) ◦ “...some participants did not contribute to discussions in a timely manner.” (UNCG student) ◦ “...the fact that there was no regular posted discussion meant that there was actually less interaction amongst classmates...” (UIUC student)
    5. 5.  Weekly classes ◦ “I’m a big fan of regular collaborate sessions. Online classes are isolating.” (UNCG student) ◦ “...it was good to have regular interaction with the teacher.” (UIUC student) ◦ “Making the online course (as weird as this can be) more discussion based and less chat based would be really helpful.... The added benefit is building interpersonal relationships (as much as one can) with the other student who may be potential colleagues or friends in the future.” (UIUC student)
    6. 6.   In person meetings & field trips Guest speakers ◦ “Guest lectures were informative and contributed a “from-the-field” perspective.” (UNCG student) ◦ “The online course made it easier to bring in guest speakers from across the country.” (UIUC student)
    7. 7.  Music Library Profiles (UNCG & UIUC) Information Literacy Lesson Plan (UIUC) Project Funding Plan (UIUC) Bibliography wiki (UNCG)  Open-ended project (UNCG, some UIUC)    ◦ “...I especially enjoyed being able to compile other readings we found as supplement materials in the bibliography assignment.) (UNCG student) ◦ “The final project was extremely helpful for me. Given the freedom to pursue an aspect of music librarianship I was extremely interested [in], I was able to develop a project that increased my knowledge exponentially in that area, which I believe helped me land an internship and then my current full-time job in this area of music librarianship.” (UNCG student)
    8. 8.     Utilize and emphasize a variety of types of interaction Bring in guest speakers Respect student diversity in backgrounds, learning styles, and career paths The standard suggestions: ◦ Be clear ◦ Be available ◦ Be flexible
    9. 9. Sonia Archer-Capuzzo UNCG smarcherdma@gmail.com