Hi, my name is Jo and I'm a newly qualified librarian working in several academic libraries in Cambridge.

I originally created this blog as an electronic learning journal whilst participating in an extended shadowing programme prior to starting the MA in Information Services Management at London Metropolitan University.

The views expressed here are entirely my own.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Thames Valley University and City University Open Events

I've now been to two open events, one at Thames Valley University on 20 October and one at City University on 1 November.

The St Mary's Road campus of TVU is located in a relatively quiet suburban area of Ealing and is quite small and in need of some updating. Although the area is very pleasant it is another 40 to 50 minutes travel each way from Kings Cross and would mean additional expenses for tube/bus fares. The staff struck me as being very helpful and friendly and I was left with an impression that they are genuinely committed to doing their best to enable their students to succeed. Unfortunately, as the open day was primarily for undergraduates, the leaders of my chosen course weren't on hand as it is only offerred at postgraduate level. However, the tutor I did speak to was able to answer my general questions and did refer me to the course tutors who responded to my request for more detailed course information very quickly. The university prides itself on the strength of its vocational courses and the high percentage of students that go straight into work in their chosen field. This is reflected in the course content which I would describe as very practical with a focus on professionalism. However, although I believe that the core modules would give me a thorough professional grounding, there is just one speacialist module in indexing and retrieval and no elective modules to allow students to explore areas of particular interest further.

City University is located perfectly for me in the Islington area just 20 minutes or so walk from Kings Cross. It is a large modern campus but with the original red-brick College building. The site has undergone recent refurbishment with a new Student Centre and Careers Office. The univesity prides itself on having one of the highest proportions of postgraduate students of any UK university. The course content appears to be much broader than that offered at TVU with more core modules and a choice from a list of several elective modules. The tutor I spoke to characterised the course as offering its students the opportunity to study information and library issues within a number of different professional contexts. This is particularly appealing to me as I have only worked in an academic library and for a short amount of time. I was also attracted by the flexibility offered via the university's virtual learning environment, CitySpace, which renders attendance not always necessary. I was also reassured that my lack of work experience in libraries would not put me at a disadvantage and that students are rarely turned away. I was also informed that the course is rarely oversubscribed and that interviews are not always necessary. I do, however, have a real concern that the course may be too broad in scope. I was also disappointed to find that there are no detailed module outlines readily available, as they have been from other universities, which makes it difficult to compare this course to others in any significant depth.

My immediate conclusions are that TVU may be too far away to communte to easily and that the broad content of the City University course may mean that it is not for me. However, there is time for further comparision and reflection as I will be visiting the University College London campus on 7 November and will be visiting the London Metropolitan University campus later in November.

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