East meets West – Part III – The Follow-up
posted November 20, 2012 8:24 AM by Julie Steenson
I would like to follow up on Chelsea’s two blog posts about some of the differences between the Main Boston campus and West campus in South Hadley.
For a general feel, I will start by referring you back to my earlier post, “The Tale of Two Campuses,” but I will try to be more specific in this post.
Class Size – Chelsea is right here. I don’t know the names of half of the people in my Boston class but all my West campus classes have been small, leading to a very bonded group of people. At West, we bake brownies for class and seek out opportunities to work together via discussion boards, email, etc. during the week. The small class size does make a more “family” atmosphere.
Demographics –In general, we tend to be older on West campus and in my experience, there are also more men at GSLIS -West. There are many more career changers on West, and that leads to the bonding over fitting in classwork and group projects around family and job commitments. The majority (but not all) of GSLIS students I know in Boston are young, unmarried, and full-time students.
Exams – My biggest surprise in Boston is that exams are NOT the norm. Everything is projects. On West campus, it is more of a mix. I have confirmed this by talking to other students and comparing experiences in the same courses.
Days/Times – Boston offers classes six days a week, with many options for morning, afternoon, and evening. West campus offers one evening per week, and morning and afternoons on Saturdays only. That scheduling difference is part of the appeal for the career changers who, like myself, work during the week and are too far to pop into Boston for an evening class.
Involvement – Chelsea is also right here, but to be honest, I am not all that involved in either location because I have a very long commute. It is true that Boston offers more involvement opportunities, but whether you can take advantage of them depends on your life. In my case, I have one day in Boston, and one day at West campus, and I work the rest of the week so if an event doesn’t happen to coincide with my free time on that campus, I am not able to attend.
City Mouse or Country Mouse – The campuses are so different. You will think you stepped into Hogwarts when you walk into the buildings of Mount Holyoke College on West campus. A private residential women’s college at which we are guest students is very different than the bustling city campus of Simmons-Boston. This is just a preference thing. I like them both.
Technology – Both campuses offer technology courses, but there is just more of it at the main Boston campus. The ready availability of the GSLIS Tech lab in Boston allows classes to have labs more often, and the Tech Lab also offers many workshops all for free. Technology support and labs do exist on West but it is not as readily available.
Beatley Library – This is my one mark of favoritism. I LOVE Beatley Library in Boston, and the fun of being in a library school library, filled with mentoring librarians. That said, however, Beatley does FedEx books to the front doors of GSLIS West students (for free) and provides readily available online chat and support, and Mount Holyoke’s library is beautiful…I just can’t help myself though that I like to browse the GSLIS shelves in Beatley.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to post a comment. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it…after all, that is what librarians do!