The MLIS program has taken me almost four years to complete. I have been advancing through it rather slowly, taking one or two classes at a time, a full-time job posing time constraints to an otherwise faster progress. This is my 12th semester in the program and I have come to appreciate the slow pace. Such rhythm allowed me to not only to gain deeper understanding of the subjects I learned. Taking my time with the program also afforded me the opportunity to apply my learning potential to the fullest, while acquiring the new knowledge, mastering new skills, and building meaningful academic relationships with my professors and my peers. And for that I am very grateful.
It was through feedback from my instructors and my classmates that I have learned about my personal strengths. While I earned two of my previous master’s degrees in a traditional, face-to-face learning environment, the MLIS program at SJSU was my first attempt at online learning. As I plugged along through my first classes, I’ve come to realize that being prepared for online learning is not only about mastering digital literacy skills and following professors’ instructions. It is also about time management, self-discipline, self-motivation, and the ability to work both independently and as a part of a team. In order to work successfully on group projects, effective communication is a key; in the online environment it manifests itself not only in good interpersonal skills and the ability to express thoughts clearly and concisely, but also in the proactive approach to discussions with peers and instructor, and participatory learning culture, overall. Through my MLIS coursework, I have grown to master the skills and the attitudes of a successful online learner.
People get motivated differently, based on their personal preferences, learning styles, and life circumstances. “Motivation can fall anywhere on the continuum from amotivation (lack of the intent to act), to extrinsic motivation (seeking to avoid punishments and gain external rewards), to introjected regulation (studying or behaving well because one feels pressure from within), to identified regulation (recognizing the importance or value in developing a behavior or skill), and finally, to intrinsic motivation (behavior motivated purely by the inherent benefits),” Froiland, Oros, Smith, and Hirchert maintain (2012, p. 91). “Extrinsic goals are contingent on some type of reward or praise from others (e.g. wealth, grades, looking good) while intrinsic goals promote self-actualization (e.g., personal growth, becoming healthier or helping others),” the authors explain (ibid., p. 97). Personally, I feel that intellectual growth―a purely intrinsic motivation factor―and career growth―a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic goals―have been two most important drivers in my motivation to learn while in the MLIS program. Whereas the intrinsic motivators in the career growth, in particular, include the ability to help others by having a meaningful job, opportunity to gain respect from colleagues, and gratitude from audiences served, the extrinsic motivator manifests itself in the income received on the job, allowing to support the quality of life.
A believer in self-actualization and a life-long learner, I took close to heart the skills and abilities set forth in the San José State University learning goals for life-long learning: “critical and creative thinking, effective communication, conscientious information gathering and processing, mastery of quantitative methodologies, and the ability to engage effectively in collaborative activities” (San José State University, n.d.). Passionately interested in international librarianship, I approached my MLIS coursework with the understanding of social and global responsibility: “The ability to act intentionally and ethically to address a global or local problem in an informed manner with a multicultural and historical perspective and a clear understanding of societal and civic responsibilities” (ibid.).
There is currently a growing sense of the critical, multifaceted role libraries and librarians play in society. “Libraries can help people decide what information they can trust,” according to a recent report by Pew Research Center (Horrigan & Pew Research Center, 2016). “37% of Americans feel that public libraries contribute “a lot” in this regard, a 13-point increase from a survey conducted at a similar point in 2015,” Horrigan observes (ibid.). “Library and information professionals can educate, transform, and empower to enhance positive change and development in communities around the world,” Ford points out. “Information overload makes it increasingly difficult to separate what is important to know in order to make good decisions and be successful in a global society” (2008, p. 195). As I mentioned in the statement of my Professional Philosophy, I gravitate toward a blended librarianship profession—the kind of a career that combines elements of traditional librarianship as well as the skills of educators and technologists. Now, on the verge of graduation, I am confident that the strengths I have acquired while in the MLIS program, along with my life-time commitment to becoming an information connoisseur, will serve me well in matching my skills to the information needs of today, at the intersections of the librarianship theory, praxis, and the global learning community.
Ford, B. J. (2008). LIS professionals in a global society. In K. Haycock & B. E. Sheldon (Eds.), The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts (pp. 195-203). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Froiland, J.M., Oros, E., Smith, L, & Hirchert, T. (2012). Intrinsic motivation to learn: The nexus between psychological health and academic success. Contemporary School Psychology, 16, 91-100. Retrieved from http://www.casponline.org/pdfs/pdfs/intrinsic_motivation.pdf
Horrigan, J. B., & Pew Research Center. (2016, September 9). Libraries 2016. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/09/09/libraries-2016/
San José State University. (n.d.). Mapping of MLIS Program Learning Outcomes (Core Competencies) to University Learning Goals. Retrieved November 6, 2016 from http://ischool.sjsu.edu/sites/default/files/content_pdf/ulgmlis.pdf