LIS 698, Seminar and Practicum
Fall 2013

Virtual DJ

Dr. Tula Giannini, Dean Pratt-SILS
144 West 14th Street 6th Floor
New York, NY 10011-7301
Phone: 212-647-7682   Fax: 212-367-2492

Seminar meeting:  Four Tuesday meetings as follows: 
Time: 4:00 to 6:15 pm
Place:  Room 613
Seminar Schedule:
1.  September 10
  Introduction, practicum experience - relating theory to practice.
2.  October 8         Project methodology; discussion of proposed project topics.
3.   November 12   Students present topics - class discussion  
3.   December 10    Project presentations  


Office Hours: By appointment during normal business hours or after class

Course Description
Students undertake 100 hours of work and observation in settings that meet individual career goals. The school approves sites. Faculty members oversee the practicum and conduct regular seminars for participants. Academic assignments accompany the work.

Course Overview

LIS 698, Seminar and Practicum provides hands-on learning and professional experience relating theory to practice for SILS students in need of experience working in a library or information organization, as well as experience for students who wish to deepen their experience working in a new setting.

 Practicum Hours - the practicum includes a total of 125 hours which includes:

  • 100 hours of supervised observation and practice in a library or other information setting approved by the instructor.
  • 10 hours of seminar classes (4 sessions).
  • 15 hours of project research and writing. 
The Seminar is:  
  • designed as an interactive session based on full participation of students.
  • moderated by the instructor.  
  • a forum in which students raise issues related to their work experience.. 
  • provides a setting in which students can share ideas and experiences and discuss issues relevant to their career goals and work experience.
  • a place to discuss and synthesize work experience relating it to students' course work
  • where students learn to apply research, assessment and evaluation methods to their practicum experience and projects.
  • where students can compare problems and common elements across various settings through class discussion.
  • a forum to share student experience and projects and to gain insight into a rich variety of settings.
  • Journal of Practicum Work:  create an entry for each day you work on site.  Record the date and number of hours worked - include a discussion of what you did, your observations and thoughts.
  • Completion of a project based on the practicum experience approved by the instructor. 
Instructor's role:
Conducts four seminars: 1. Introduction; 2. Discussion of individual projects;  3 & 4 project presentations.
The instructor’s role is to advise the student as necessary, and to oversee and evaluate the quality of the student’s practicum experience as evidenced by journal entries and course project and the evaluation by the site supervisor.   

The goals of the course are to provide an experience that will prepare students to work effectively in professional positions, and to bridge the learning gained in course work with the world of practice they will encounter after graduation.

Learning Outcomes:
Practicum and seminar learning outcomes for students include the following:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills learned in the Pratt-SILS program and apply them to a library or other information-providing work setting
  • Understand and evaluate information needs of users [as relevant]
  • Understand and evaluate roles and activities of supervisor and other employees
  • Identify and analyze information activities in relation to the mission of the parent organization
  • Design, manage, and carry out a project of value to both student and host site
  • Explore and understand professional opportunities
  • Demonstrate and reflect on one’s growth in confidence and competence in carrying out professional duties
  • Reflect on personal aptitude for the type of work carried out during the practicum
  • Analyze relevant literature and evaluate in relation to the practicum experience

Course Structure
The student and site supervisor work together to determine the practicum work schedule. Each student is required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of work fitted into the time-related work structure of the cooperating organization. To maximize continuity, the student is strongly encouraged to schedule more than a single day per week for the practicum, i.e., it is better to work two half days per week than one full day per week.

Students rarely have problems with their placements but, should this occur, please contact the instructor early in the term to address the issue or arrange an alternative placement.

Required Assignments Percentage
of grade  
Due dates
Journal [record of practice] includes verification of site work 10% Ongoing –  hand-in with final project at the end of the semester
Project and project presentation 40%   Proposal due by 3rd class meeting
Project itself due at last (4rd or 5th) class meeting. Presentations take place during the 3rd and 4th meetings.
Seminar participation 10% Attendance required at each of the four class meetings.
Site supervisor evaluation based on evaluation form
Student Evaluation Form For Site Supervisors
40% Due upon completion of the 100 hours

Seminars:   Attendance at seminars is required. Exceptions for good reason must be arranged with the instructor in advance. Participation in class discussion contributes to the final grade, and students need to be present to participate. Please be on time. Unexcused absences and frequent lateness will affect the final grade.  

Journal (10%)  
One of the major benefits of doing a practicum is the opportunity to observe a workplace, participate in its activities, and reflect on the experience. The journal is a systematic record of these observations and reflections about the practicum experience. 

A journal entry should be made for each time the student works at the site.

Each entry should note the number of hours worked that time, and a running count of the total hours accumulated thus far.
We will discuss work experiences in seminar sessions.

Topics for journal observation:
The journal is a record of what is being learned, and should encompass the total practicum experience, including interpersonal and organizational issues as well as tasks performed. 
Journals will be evaluated on the basis of how well they describe and reflect upon such matters as the following:

  • How student was introduced into the organization and what type of orientation.

  • What happens - What takes place, including day-to-day routines and critical incidents
  • Tasks - Major tasks and accomplishments that day
  • Issues - Issues or problems that arise for the student or in the organization and how they get resolved
  • Staffing - Staffing patterns or levels of staffing, and their effects on how work is done
  • Physical environment - How physical layout, furniture, noise, temperature, light, etc. affect service or ability to carry out responsibilities
  • Resources – Perceived adequacy of funding, its effect on collections, services, ability to carry out projects and duties
  • Social climate - Interactions among workers; overall social climate (friendly, distant, etc.)
  • Users - Types of users served; typical needs of patrons
  • Staff/user interactions – Nature of contacts; frequency; content covered; pace or pressure
  • Service philosophy – Perceived standards or orientation toward service 
  • Challenges - Particular challenges for this organization and how they are being met
  • Management style - The management style practiced by mentors and others
  • Quality of supervision received – Direction, training, feedback, access, and mentoring
  • Meetings - What takes place at meetings the student is invited to attend
  • Developmental progress - Development of skill and confidence in carrying out duties
  • Explanations and hypotheses - Generally, why things seem to be the way they are
  • Critical perspective - How things might be done differently or more effectively
  • Self-evaluation – Strengths and weaknesses; how one might have made different choices if one were doing it over
  • Reflection – Making sense of the experience both ongoing, and at the end of the term

Selecting a project topic/ subject:  Identify a topic based on your practicum work.  Bring focus to a specific aspect that has emerged as significant drawing upon you experiences and interactions at your site through work, observation, conversation, etc.  The literature review will allow you to gain broader and more general perspectives on your topic and to contextualize it within professional practice. 
Here you will find helpful project information and resources:

PROJECT ELEMENTS: the project should include:
  • 1. Project Identification Sheet: each student must submit a project identification sheet which includes the  following:
  • student name, course title, instructor
  • site location name
  • site supervisor's name and title
  • project title
  • one paragraph project abstract
  • an illustration (photo, drawing, etc.) related to your site.
  • 2. Literature review - this should consist of several current articles related to your topic. For each article include full citation and one paragraph on article perspectives specific to your topic - thus, not an abstract of the whole article - not the published abstract. 
  • 3. A Sampling of your practicum work on site including a page of discussion on the nature of the work, etc.
  • 4. Digital Observations and Perspectives - Discuss how  are digital technology and tools are being used (or not) in  your work and across your institution; how are these related.  About one page.
  • 5. Analysis and evaluation - write several pages on your topic that includes elements of critical analysis and research.   This is in essence a research paper based on your site work and lit. review.

Research - use observation, interviews, discussion, anecdotal evidence, data collection (statistics, policies, other pertinent documents), comparison to other similar sites that you have experienced and draw on your literature review.
Critical analysis - this demonstrates your ability to analyze and think about what you are doing and thus go beyond the descriptive to discussion that shows how you think about and have evaluated your work environment and experience.

  •  5. Presentation of your work and project:  (about 10 minutes)  The final two seminar sessions are devoted to student presentations. Show and discuss the work that you have been doing on site and discuss the focus of your project including issues that you addressed.   This can take a number of forms depending on the nature of your work.  Use Power point or some other e-presentation format.  
  • Students must sign up for a presentation time.  Sign up sheets will be available in the SILS office.
  • Final Grade: In order to receive a final grade, students must have submitted three things: 

            1. Journal, 2. Project, 3. Site-supervisor evaluation

Student Agreement : Enrollment in this course signifies that the student agrees to abide by and adhere to the policies and regulations specified above and held by Pratt Institute. It is understood that the instructor may adapt or change this Syllabus and the assignments contained within it according to circumstances that may arise during the course of the class.