Riding the waves: A case study of learners and leaders in library and information science education
Rae-Anne Louise Ruth Montague, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . Awarded
This study examines learners and learning in the context of an established, multimodal graduate degree program originally developed as a distance education option. It is a learner-centered inquiry, building on Deweyan understanding, considering processes of individual and collective transformation within a particular educational environment.
This case study is based on LEEP, a multimodal (synchronous + asynchronous + residential) program option at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, established in 1996. As LEEP is considered highly successful, in terms of growth, retention, data from course and program evaluations, awards, etc., it offers novel opportunities to explore emerging educational issues. Two aspects of this study deserve particular attention: program-level emphasis and hybridization. Program-level emphasis enables a consideration of learning experiences that extend between and beyond individual classrooms. Hybridization is based on LEEP as a multimodal program attracting both on- and off-site students.
Upon entry, students indicated intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and concerns related to joining the program. Students also shared details of the wide spectrum of competencies they bring into LEEP. During studies, students are involved in engagement spanning modalities at both the program and course levels. Within a context of ongoing support and interaction, they draw upon much of their pre-existing knowledge base as part of LEEP activities. In terms of collective engagement, as givers and receivers, students share encouragement, perspectives, information, and questions. Students' comments reveal the presence of an underlying competency based on service orientation plus communication. This seems to be the basis of leadership development in LEEP. Within their experiences, students also encounter challenges, which may be considered counterforces. Some of their struggles are reoriented as opportunities to develop new competencies and build understanding. Towards the end of their programs, students reflect upon their experience and manifest significant transformation.
The final section of the study proposes a model of learning and leading based on LEEP student experiences. This results in the development of new questions for future exploration.
Montague, R.A.L.R. Riding the waves: A case study of learners and leaders in library and information science education. Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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