iSchool day 1

Lou Rosenfeld has been begging me to use this blog for an exposé of the seamy underbelly of iSchool, so here you go, Lou, this is for you:

seamy underbelly of iSchool

I don’t know what this piece of equipment does but it’s about ten feet tall and was humming busily to itself under the iSchool offices when I walked by this afternoon. Is that seamy enough for you?

Day 1 of my return to student life was fun, if you can believe that. It was nice to go to a physical place to meet face to face with other people engaged in intellectual activity, something I haven’t had enough of in recent years. The faculty seemed to be enjoying themselves and welcomed participation from the class, although that was something of a challenge in one overcrowded section, and none of the students fell asleep or did any detectable IMing. Both faculty and students seemed a lot more clueful about technology than during my brief experience in the program ten years ago (which I guess is no surprise — perhaps there’s a School of Luddite Studies somewhere for which that’s not a true statement). If they were any more up to date they’d be in danger of accusations of trendiness; one course will be using a collective blog, the other a wiki, and one prof even used the bookstore that recently arranged its stock by color to illustrate a point. No explicit mention of or Flickr yet but I think they’re coming.

My schedule may be ambitious: a one-hour pass/fail general intro class, an intro to organization of information, and courses on knowledge management, information retrieval and DBMSs. No GIS course, a subject where I’d hoped to assemble a minor concentration to complement the information studies program, but that may be hard as other departments’ schedules for GIS courses conflict with the iSchool’s. And by starting out with three electives I may be in danger of a crunch when I try to squeeze in all my required courses later.

I wish I weren’t getting so many concerned looks when I tell people about my total of 13 hours, but since 9 hours is considered a normal load it doesn’t seem that far out of line to me. I admit to feeling a bit daunted by the growing reading list. I’m also uncertain about the many group projects are supposed to work, especially group presentations; will they be more like a barbershop quartet or an improv comedy troupe? But it’s good that I’ll be somewhat outside my comfort zone.

Speaking of comfort, on Tuesdays I’ve got six hours straight with no lunch break. If anyone can recommend a good brand of energy bar, preferably without a crinkly wrapper, let me know.

5 thoughts on “iSchool day 1

  1. Prentiss, you are such a rube. That’s clearly a CV-Z39.50, a machine which generates professional-quality metadata, term by rigid term.


  2. Hi. I’m a second semester ischooler. I just wanted to let you know that I got those same crazy looks from people when I told them I was taking 13 hours my first semester (and working 20 hours per weeek). But, I survived and am taking 12 hours this semester so it must not have been too horrible. I’ll see you in the IR class (I took the intro class, organization, and DBMSs last semester). Just to let you know, fall is probably a better time to fit in a GIS class because that’s when the geography department seems to offer most of their intro level classes.

  3. I always liked Balance bars, although Snickers has an energy bar that tastes much better. Just found your blog today. I’m a fellow newbie at the iSchool, although just for 4 hours this semester (180J and 384F).

  4. from my point of view here in literary-land, even 9 hours is completely nuts! it would not be possible!

  5. some of us do use and flickr, too. ^_^ haven’t incorporated into courses yet, but I suspect INF 312 will be seeing them soon, if not this semester. of course, that’s one of the undergrad classes.

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