IFLA SL Newsletter

– a commentsblog

The Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning (TL-DL) program at the University of Alberta.

By Jennifer Branch
The University of Alberta
jbranch@ualberta.ca

TL-DL is one of the few remaining places left in Canada that helps teachers become teacher-librarians. We offer our students the opportunity to take online courses towards a diploma or Master of Education in teacher-librarianship.

TL-DL became available in 1997; previously courses were offered on campus in a traditional format. Our enrollment for 2006 numbers over 35 students in the Master of Education program and over 35 in the diploma program. Students are studying across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Yukon. As well, we have students studying from around the world. Most of our students are already in teacher-librarian positions, a change from 20 or 30 years ago when teachers trained and then became employed as teacher-librarians.

Education for this program is designed to develop professional and personal competencies in multiple areas.  We currently offer a variety of school library courses in areas such as management, collection development, information materials, information technology, leadership, inquiry-based learning, intellectual freedom and social responsibility, and organization of information.  We also offer online courses in Canadian children’s literature, comic books and graphic novels. 

We have a strong team of instructors and advisors who do research in the area of school libraries and/or are school-based teacher-librarians or curriculum coordinators including Dianne Oberg (PhD, Alberta), Jennifer Branch (PhD, Alberta), Lois Barranoik (PhD, Alberta), Lorine Sweeney (EdD, Alberta), Dawn Keer (MLIS, Alberta), Joanne de Groot (MLIS, Alberta and PhD Student, Alberta) and Gail de Vos (MLIS, Alberta).  The instructors meet on a regular basis to discuss online pedagogy, current research, curriculum and competencies for teacher-librarians, and future course offerings. Teacher-librarians from the area often join us so we can keep up with changes in current practice.

Self-motivation and organizational skills are paramount to success when taking online courses.

While participation may be less structured than attending regular classes, our courses are designed in a relatively structured manner, and follow the university academic calendar.  Each course is designed to maximize opportunities for sharing ideas, collaborating with class members online, discussing issues and benefiting from each other’s experiences. Interaction with and the support of other members of the class play a significant role in providing focus for learning, motivation and in enhancing the online learning experience. 

For more information, please contact Jennifer Branch at jbranch@ualberta.ca

or check out our TL-DL website at www.quasar.ualberta.ca/tl-dl.

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January 14, 2007 - Posted by | 2. Issue 42, 3. Theme:42: SL-education, Canada

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