Web-Based Information Science Education: Leveraging the Power of the Network to Re-Define the Global Classroom

Web-Based Information Science Education: Leveraging the Power of the Network to Re-Define the Global Classroom

Kathleen Schisa (Syracuse University, USA), Anne McKinney (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA), Debbie Faires (San Jose State University, USA), Bruce Kingma (Syracuse University, USA), Rae Anne Montague (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA), Linda C. Smith (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA) and Marianne Sterna (San Jose State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-623-7.ch015
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Abstract

Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) is a collaborative distance education model that increases the quality, access and diversity of online education opportunities. The WISE Consortium is a group of graduate Library and Information Science (LIS) programs founded on three pillars: quality, pedagogy, and collaborations (Montague & Pluzhenskaia, 2007). This chapter outlines the approach to achieving these three pillars and the assessment mechanisms used to measure the consortium’s success. Highlights include WISE Pedagogy, the administrative division of WISE dedicated to providing faculty development resources for online education, and WISE+, an initiative that supports partnerships enabling WISE schools and LIS associations to develop courses together suitable for graduate credit and continuing education. While the WISE consortium is specific to LIS education, the model could be applied more broadly to other disciplines.
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Introduction

Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) is a distance education model that aims to increase the quality, access, and diversity of online learning opportunities in Library and Information Science (LIS) education. Established in 2004, The WISE consortium is a group of LIS programs that work together to define standards and metrics for online education, to provide a collaborative marketplace for online LIS courses, and to share faculty development resources. While WISE is specific to LIS education, the core model and principles could be applied to online education across a broad array of disciplines.

This chapter discusses the core model and activities of WISE and special initiatives including WISE Pedagogy, the administrative division of WISE dedicated to providing faculty development resources for online education, and WISE+, an initiative which supports partnerships that enable WISE schools and professional organizations to collaboratively offer courses suitable for graduate credit and continuing education.

History of WISE

WISE was conceptualized in 2002 during a conversation on quality and access in online LIS education between colleagues Linda C. Smith (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Bruce Kingma (Syracuse University). Over the subsequent two years, Kingma and Smith collaborated to define quality metrics in online education. During that time, Syracuse and Illinois began sharing online courses, allowing students matriculated at one school to enroll in electives hosted by the other with minimal administrative burden (e.g., no need to transfer credits; tuition paid to the home institution).

In 2004, Kingma and Smith received a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to establish WISE. This enabled the co-founders to bring additional schools on board. The consortium has since grown to 15 member schools and, as of fall 2010, 595 courses have been offered through WISE, and 917 students have enrolled through the consortium. WISE Pedagogy has served numerous faculty from WISE schools and the greater LIS community through online and face-to-face workshops and on-demand Web resources.

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The Wise Pillars

The vision of WISE is based on three pillars of online education identified by the founding schools:

  • 1.

    Quality: the need for quality metrics for online courses and programs,

  • 2.

    Pedagogy: the demand for pedagogical training for faculty teaching online, and

  • 3.

    Collaboration: the value of collaboration between academic programs for the benefit of their students (Montague & Pluzhenskaia, 2007).

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