Technology and the Newbie

Deciding to make a mid-life career change from mom/educator to librarian came with many uncertainties.  Was I too old?  Would I be able to catch up on all the technology that I hadn’t used over the last few years?  What are the differences between Blended, Online, and Face-to-face classes and how would I choose?  When would I do the laundry?

I had an opportunity that allowed me to begin as a full-time student so I quit my job as a nanny, started volunteering at my local library, and jumped in.  I live two and a half hours from both Boston and West campuses, so I opted for one online class, and two West campus classes - one blended and one face-to-face.  By trying all three learning approaches, I will figure out early in my student career the pros and cons of each.

The laundry question is still being addressed…but no, I am not too old, and the technology wasn’t quite as scary as I first imagined, but be forewarned, you cannot avoid it.  Being a student means being technology-savvy, and being a librarian means being even more so.

First came TOR – the Technology Orientation Requirement.  If you already use technology, this will go very quickly for you, but if you are like me, it is invaluable and you will find yourself reviewing and mastering these skills early in your time as a student.   Eager as I was, I completed this online, assessed tutorial before the semester started, and I am so glad I did!  Fear not – the assessment is pass/fail, with multiple tries, and the tutorial is user-friendly. Additionally, Tech lab staff is ready to help via phone or email, or even in-lab workshops.  The mission of TOR is to make us ready to be GSLIS students! And what’s covered?   Everything from discussion posts to wikis to HTML to library database searching.  The first time I looked at the TOR topics, I said to my husband, “What was I thinking when I thought I could go back to school?!”   And now I use those skills every day in my classes. Thank you, TOR, for making this piece as stress-free as possible.

My advice to fellow newbies: Do TOR early, and if you aren’t familiar with Microsoft Office tools like Excel, take some time to learn them before classes start.  You will be much too busy learning about fun things like metadata to come up the technology learning curve on the go, but if you do need help, it is always available.  I am glad to be taking the required course Technology for Information Professionals this first semester, too, as that course content ties it all together nicely, and explains why as librarians, we not only care about technology but also embrace it!

 Next time…why Metadata is like Pizza…and why I can’t get enough of it.



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