Spring Courses @ The Library

Posted on November 3rd, 2011 by

Library faculty are offering four courses this January and spring. Jeff Jenson’s January IEX course on genealogy has already filled, but you still have a chance to sign up for these spring courses.

NDL 201 – Reading Workshop is a .25 credit pass/fail course that meets half a semester on Wednesday afternoons, from 2:30 – 3:50. Students read and discuss a book together, read a book of the student’s choice, write a review of their chosen book to share, and reflect on their personal reading tastes. The purpose of this course is to enjoy reading and to prepare students to choose their own reading material after college as part of lifelong learning and personal identity.

Barbara Fister will teach a section of this course in the first half of the semester. The book we’ll read together is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, a book about a man living in New Orleans who stayed behind when Katrina hit. It’s a compelling story about his experiences in the flooded city, his eventual arrest and detention, and how his family tried to discover what had happened. It offers a lot to talk about, including how we as a people respond to disasters, both natural and man-made, how Arab-Americans are viewed in post-9/11 America, what is just, and what it means for an individual to do the right thing.  We’ll also talk about how to tell true stories in a way that does justice to the complexity of truth.

In the second half of the semester during the same time slot, Anna Hulseberg will teach another section of NDL 201, with Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother as the common reading. This book about “extreme parenting” raises questions about how families interact, what the role of parents should be, and cultural differences that shape family dynamics. It’s a funny, sometimes disturbing, tender, and controversial book about “a mother, two daughters, and two dogs” and “a bitter clash of cultures.” It should provide interesting fodder for discussion.

Students might also be interested in NDL301: Information Fluency. This .5 credit course, which will meet Tuesdays from 2:30 to 4:20, is designed to give students interested in going to graduate or professional school—or who simply want to know more about research—an immersion in the structure of the literature of their chosen field and exposure to research tools and collections. Students will conduct a literature review on a topic of their choice and will analyze aspects of their discipline’s traditions, compare them to traditions in other fields, and explore the social and ethical dimensions of research. It sounds a bit dry, but it’s actually fun. Students who are working on a major research project in another course may find this class helpful.

If you are interested in NDL301 but have a conflict with the Tuesday afternoon meeting time, let the instructor, Barbara Fister know (fister @ gustavus dot edu). We can find a time that works so that you can take the course by arrangement. 

photo courtesy of Alfred Hermida.


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