See what our students have said about studying on our MSc programmes.
You can read longer profiles of some of our past students on our alumni pages.
I believe that the best experience in the Information School so far has been the possibility of getting in touch with professionals from this domain, through a Career Day event, where we had the opportunity to listen to what a day-to-day job involves as part of Big Data and Data Science and also the possibility to present ourselves and our interests to the professionals.
I made my choice to study the MSc Data Science solely based on the modules offered as part of the programme. I really wanted to study in this domain and when consulting the website and after receiving a presentation from the module coordinator, I was convinced that I would make the right choice. The particular modules chosen to represent the Data Science domain and the approaches taken to facilitate our understanding influenced my choice.
I chose to study at the University of Sheffield because it is a research intensive University, a member of Russell Group and it has a great reputation. Also, it was one of the best out-of-London universities I could find.
I enjoyed the high teaching quality and university facilities a lot. Also, my course organised quite a lot of events about cutting edge issues of the market and post-MSc career perspectives, which were extremely helpful. I selected this particular course because it was one of the most promising post-graduate courses in Data Science in the UK, focusing both on the theoretical aspect of data science and its practical/statistical part.
The course tried to introduce students to a range of issues concerning the data science market, focusing on 'here-and-now', rather than keeping the classes purely theoretical. It was a demanding course in terms of practical knowledge (statistics, data analysis, database design, programming etc) that prepares students for a range of significant tasks and makes them very competitive as far as their careers is concerned.
Facilities at the Information School are of high quality, the whole university is dedicated to a high-level student experience and life in it is always interesting and fun. The Professional staff are excellent; very friendly and supportive.
Sheffield is a great city, very sociable and active, full of happy and outgoing people. With two universities in the heart of it, there are loads of young people around and many options for going out. Sheffield rests easy in its musical heritage, as well as its famous, top quality in-house productions and theatres. As for nature lovers, this is a city with endless parks and the great Peak District just a short drive or train-trip away. Both the excellence of the University of Sheffield and the vigorous urban lifestyle make Sheffield a great place to study and live.
I really enjoy the interactions between staff and students. The lectures are filled with information which I find interesting and challenging, and there are vast amounts of links, books and other sources which allow further independent learning on aspects which appeal to me. I also love the fact that we are introduced to software which organisations use, as this looks really good on our CV for future employment. During my time at the information school, lectures have immersed themselves with students to help guide us through the course and this creates a welcoming and friendly environment for us to study.
After I have finished my degree, I aim to get onto a graduate scheme within an organisation and become a data analyst. Some possible organisations include IBM, Peak Indicators, and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), although this line of work is not limited and can be applied to all domains of work.
I chose to study at the University of Sheffield as I was looking for a data related course, and was lucky to find one in my home city.
I knew nothing about data before beginning the course, so I learned a lot. It was a steep learning curve at times, but really helped me develop skills necessary for a data science career. I carried out an internship with Sheffield City Council whilst studying which helped me with practical skills, experience and confidence.
I appreciated the opportunities to learn about data science from a variety of perspectives. I particularly enjoyed the Introduction to Data Science, Database Design, and Data Mining and Visualisation modules.
I found the Information School to offer great facilities and excellent staff, who always had time for students and were experts in their fields.
Jihad Al Wahshi
University of Sheffield was one of the top recommended universities in my country. Regarding my own criteria in selected this particular school it was due to the ranking and global reputation of the University, recommendations from my friend who already graduated from this department and the variety of the modules on offer.
I selected this course due to the relationship between my current job roles and the overall contents of this program. During my selection phase, I found that MSc Data science in University of Sheffield is really different in term of the modules and learning facilities. However, the key factor in choosing this particular course was a desire tomprove my analytical skills in mining big data to make effective decisions.
Studying at Information School is more than learning. The continuous support of the academic staff during the whole course is particularly valuable. Student Staff Committee is another plus point for students that allows them to share their views/ suggestions in and effective manner. Moreover, the student handbook is a very useful learning tool that gives clear instructions and guidelines for students.
|Digital Library Management||
I have been employed as a subject librarian for a number of years. The rapid advance of on-line resources made me aware of a need to enhance my skills and knowledge in this area, so I chose to study the MSc Digital Library Management over three years as a part-time student.
Studying should always be a challenge, and this is certainly the case when one is also in full-time employment. The Information School at Sheffield is recognised as the best in the country, and support from not only the academic staff and my fellow students, but also the ICT team and admin staff, enabled me to ‘get the piece of paper’ but more importantly learn so much due to the diverse range of modules available through the course.
My studies have given me the confidence to embrace future developments in library provision and the skills set to manage change and ensure our students continue to enjoy a positive library experience.
I was recently awarded the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Fellowship Award which has given me valuable ideas and skills to practice in my profession. I also founded the Bhutan Library Consortium with seven member libraries from different academic colleges of the Royal University of Bhutan, and we currently have 17 member libraries.
I work to improve Literati, an online research platform that allows students to conduct research with the ease of Wikipedia, but with the authoritative, citable content of a reference library.
Because of the Digital Library Management programme at Sheffield, I was able to gain experience in how to build and manage content management systems within the context of digital libraries. In addition, I was able to take courses in website and database design, which gave me the skills necessary to become an attractive candidate in today's evolving workspace.
As a newcomer to the field of Information Science I found the course provided an excellent and challenging introduction to the subject. In addition to offering a solid grounding in the technical aspects of digital librarianship, the course also dealt with non-technical areas such as project management and strategy, and research methodology. The use of innovative assessment methods (such as the production of a short film) provided a chance to learn valuable real-world skills. Most importantly there was also a strong sense that students had a contribution to make to the department's research output, both in terms of discussion and debate with faculty, and the pursuit of interesting and relevant dissertation topics.
I studied a PhD within the School, working on a project in collaboration with OCLC entitled "The user-centred design of a recommender system for a universal library catalogue. I now work as a research associate in the school.
I moved to my present post at Healthcare Improvement Scotland in June 2012 and I am convinced my degree was an important factor in helping me pass the interview. My dissertation on the NHS Lanarkshire intranet from a knowledge management perspective was used by the organisation in the design of the new intranet site so it was good to do a piece of work which was then able to be used to make a positive change. I was able to get my dissertation published as an article which I am very proud of. It has also been selected to appear in the virtual issue of the Health Information and Libraries Journal to mark this year’s Health Libraries Group conference in Oxford. I presented on this topic at Health Libraries Group 2012 in Glasgow and I feel these experiences have raised my profile and have been really worthwhile in terms of connecting me to others in my profession.
Dr Ravi Sachdev
I had heard from others who had attended the University that they had found it rewarding and enjoyable and I was looking for a programme to help formalize my Informatics role at the hospital, while providing me with opportunities to fill the gaps in my knowledge. A master's degree seemed a good choice, and Sheffield's curriculum looked appealing. There have been some great moments, especially when interacting with the lecturer and fellow students live on Blackboard. I have learnt a lot through this programme, and, despite the hard work and long hours, found it quite rewarding. I have, in fact, already recommended this course to several of my colleagues in the field.
This course offered one of the few distance learning Health Informatics MSc courses available and it resonated with my career and current role. Also it offered a module on statistics which was a specific gap in my knowledge. I have been able to access support when required and I would recommend this course because of the flexibility it offers.
My post at Rotherham Social Services as an information sharing officer is one of a growing number of jointly funded posts between health and social services which aims to facilitate the sharing of information between the hospital trusts and social care agencies. Due to the fact that this is a new post and since there have been a lot of government initiatives, there has been a certain amount of development and bedding down with the job. One of my first tasks was to identify projects that were both feasible and would be of benefit to service users and the agencies involved. The security and confidentiality of service user information is in the spotlight at the moment, and I have been involved in highlighting this issue within Social Services because government guidance tends to relate to the Health Service only. Because this information is to be shared with Social Services and other agencies within the authority it is important that we all work to the same standards. The courses I took on the MSc in information systems modelling, organisational theory, and information management and policy have been especially useful in enabling me to understand the issues involved, and have provided me with an awareness of the nature of organisations and the politics involved. It was as a result of having completed the MSc that I was in a position to get this job and begin what has the potential to be an exciting career.
After graduating I took up a position in an oil company's Records Management team as records systems assistant. A major part of the role has been developing and maintaining current records management databases and assisting in new database design and implementation. In terms of database development I drafted an extensive document of recommendations with the aim of automating records management processes and providing a user friendly interface for end-user searching. Studying database design and information systems modelling during the course was an important factor in securing this position, providing the skills and perspective to work effectively in the job. I have attempted to implement an information system shaped by the requirements of the 'real world' situation. Prior to the course I had a year of experience in an information centre which coupled with the MSc has advanced my career.
I did the MSc in Information Management part time over two years whilst I worked in a Department of the Sheffield University Medical School as IT Co-ordinator. I found that some aspects of the course were directly relevant to some of the tasks I had to carry out in the course of my job. I was thus in a fairly unique position to be able to apply to my job, in a practical way, some of the things that I learnt on the course, as I was actually working. This at times proved to be very useful. I have since left the University and I am now employed by Fretwell Downing Data Systems, a software house based in Sheffield. I am currently engaged as a software developer within a small team on a project to build a web-based application to deliver further education based courses online via the web. The dissertation project I undertook in my MSc was directly relevant to the work I am doing now.
On completing the MSc in Information Management I took up a dual role at the University of Leeds. Being a Faculty Team Librarian is the more traditional side of my role, being in charge of the law collection, managing a large book budget and liaising closely with members of the Law Department. A large (and rather unexpected) part of this role is to teach legal information skills to both students and staff within the Law Department, and to train my colleagues at the library in the use of new techologies for teaching purposes. My work on the Case Project is a much less traditional library job, my role being to promote and co-ordinate the sharing of resources with other law librarians across Yorkshire. Creating a Legal Information Gateway has been a focal point of this role and it is here that what I learnt at Sheffield has been the most invaluable - both in terms of the technical skills needed to create a site and in the awareness of issues of usability and navigation that are integral to a good site. Background knowledge gained from the course about new developments in electronic publishing have also been useful, and the research I carried out for my dissertation informs my current role both explicitly and implicitly in more ways that I can list! I can only hope that the course at Sheffield coupled with the experience gained before and after, will lead me to further jobs as challenging, enjoyable and rewarding as my current one.
I joined the MSc in Information Management part way through my PhD programme in Biblical Studies at Sheffield University, after realising that I did not want to teach. I chose that particular MSc programme because of its focus on both information studies/science and management studies, and the flexibility it offered for many career paths in business and information science. I was also lucky enough to be recommended for, and successfully awarded, a full AHRB studentship for the course. Despite my own concentration in business and computer modules, my interaction with the librarianship students in the department led me to acknowledge that academic librarianship was indeed for me. I graduated from the MSc and continued with my PhD studies, while also applying for various positions in librarianship. I applied for a job as a theological librarian at a seminary in Chicago and was offered it after the Library Director was impressed by the reputation and the content of the programme offered at Sheffield, particularly the focus on the use of information technology. Although I have only been working for two years, my workplace is already speaking of my becoming the Library Director and I was also recently recommended for the directorship of a large seminary here in the US. I am constantly using the knowledge I gained in my course at work, and would highly recommend the MSc in Information Management to anyone that wishes to get a professionally-accredited degree with flexibility for many different careers.
After graduating I decided to move to Norfolk to live and work, and after applying for a number of jobs I found work via an agency within the Computer Services Department of a local company. The post was more IT than information oriented and after this short-term contract expired I went to London and registered with some further information agencies. Following a brief contract with the BBC World Service (Information and Archives Department) the agency found me a permanent post at Business Link London East. My official title is information specialist and my responsibility is to develop a business intelligence service to the in-house personal business advisors. Hard work but very enjoyable. I feel the course at Sheffield has prepared me well for my current task as it introduced me to a broad range of skills necessary for work in a fast moving business environment. Most of the modules I took were useful, although the one that would have been most useful, Business Information, I didn't take! Lectures by visiting practising information professionals were also very helpful as it gave insight into the daily work patterns and practices of those already engaged in the front line.
BSRIA is a well-regarded building services information, research, test, instruments and consultancy organisation. We're non-profit, with corporate members who have access to services including our technical library, abstracts database, publications and expertise. As well as leading on library and information delivery, I have responsiblities for delivering to external projects, including the Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). This is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, and focuses on knowledge exchange and innovation across the industry. I previously (before March 2010) worked for the research department at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), where I managed a 'knowledge communities' project for architects championed by the RIBA president. I developed an online networking platform and specialist communities for knowledge sharing, and had great opportunities for networking in the industry - I was also seconded in 2009 to the Creative Industries KTN. I worked whilst studying part-time at Sheffield, and my dissertation focused on knowledge management - so I built up valuable experience and contacts before graduating, as well as benefiting from some excellent teaching and guidance.
As a researcher at BCG my role is to utilize the plethora of available sources to satisfy the enquiring mind of the management consultant. Sometimes requirements may be as straightforward as company turnover, other times the mind of the business world trips a more complicated route involving cheese and market shares. The work is interesting and varied - I have researched seven different industry areas in the past year with no doubt more to follow! But what of Sheffield in my vocational tale? Sheffield has a good reputation and my MSc got me a foot through the interview door. The courses were wide ranging and provided a valuable introduction to the everyday tools of the information profession: online sources, new media and business information. Particularly useful was the importance placed on the Internet as in my current position I am responsible for training VPs on the web. Sheffield was hard work, but it was an enjoyable stepping stone to my current career.
After completing the MSc in Information Systems I entered the Graduate Trainee Programme at Compaq Computer Ltd. The Graduate Programme at Compaq is both enjoyable and intensive. There has been an abundance of training courses to equip me for a career as an IT Consultant, including consultancy skills through to project management. In addition, the majority of my time has been spent on undertaking the Microsoft Certification Systems Engineering (MCSE) examinations. I have also had the opportunity to gain practical experience in various locations throughout Britain in my chosen area of Network Systems Integration Services (NSIS). This has included the network migration of operating systems such as Windows 95 to NT 4.0. The experience gained from the various courses on the MSc programme has been an invaluable source of confidence to me. The requirement and documentation techniques developed during the dissertation period have also greatly assisted me in various other projects at work.
After graduating with a BA Honours degree in History I found myself in great doubt as to what would be the most suitable career path for me to take. After a lot of thought, I decided to make the transition over to the field of IT, recognising the demand which existed for IT-qualified professionals. I decided to enrol on the MSc in Information Systems at Sheffield to begin the conversion from an Arts graduate to a 'tech head'. Since finishing the course I have been working as a Web Developer for an American company called USWeb/CKS in London. The company develops a range of web-based applications for a wide range of blue chip companies and specialises in particular in e-commerce sites. Just recently I have been moved to the Microsoft team responsible for the maintenance and development of future projects, in particular their UK Intranet. Liasing between USWeb/CKS and the other team located within Microsoft's UK headquaters in Reading has meant that I have had to bring myself up to date with the latest Microsoft technologies. Without a doubt the MSc course proved to be an effective launch pad into the work I do now, despite the steep learning curve I am trying to overcome. The course proved to be a challenging, and enjoyable year, during which I discovered a range of subjects that made me more informed of the world of technology and the forces of change which are currently being unleashed. It focused my attention on crucial concepts such as e-commerce, and how the business world is changing to meet the demands of the Information Society and the growth of the Internet.
|Information Systems Management||
Since I graduated I immediately found a job and I have been working for a global company implementing an ERP solution (Microsoft Dynamics AX) and working on functional areas of a project lifecycle. I have been involved with large name clients and have been involved in project sizes of just myself leading a project to a group of multinational colleagues. I use a lot of my aspects from my degree in my job. As I am a finance functional consultant I use my Accounting and Finance undergraduate knowledge of accounting concepts and combine it with modules from the Information School such as Information Systems Modelling to gather requirements for business, and document and map processes. The Information Systems Project Management module has given me the commercial awareness I need when I am working on projects in terms of time management as well as liaising with different stakeholders of a project. I would say my degree is crucial in the job that I am doing and is why I was able to make an entry into this field quite late in my career changing from accounting to consultancy – even though I had no experience companies took me on because I had the knowledge developed from my degree.
I'm working as a librarian in Leeds Public Libraries, based in the North East of the city. The work is very varied and I'm enjoying it very much. The MA in Librarianship at Sheffield proved to be excellent preparation in many ways for this role. For me the most valuable aspect of the course at Sheffield was that it made me think about why libraries exist and what their most important functions are. I have been surprised at Leeds about how much freedom I have in using my time as I see fit, so I have to put a lot of thought into my priorities. The lectures, discussions, reading and writing at Sheffield proved to be a very effective way of helping me to think about how to make the best use of my time. I spend a lot more time than I expected on teaching basic computer skills to library users, something that I have found really rewarding and I suspect is going to play an increasing role in public libraries. Marketing is also a big, and challenging, part of the job and I think that it is good that the course at Sheffield emphasised this.
I work at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds as Assistant Librarian. It was my fourth job interview, and when they said yes (somewhat to my surprise as I know nothing about things that are spiky and things that go bang!) I grabbed it. I report to the librarian and there is also a library assistant whom I am nominally in charge of. It's principally a staff library, but we also supply pictures of items in the collections to publishers for use in books. We also deal with members of the public, and intermittently liaise with the much smaller libraries in the Tower of London and at the Museum of Artillery in Port Nelson near Portsmouth. My pay is fairly low but there are definitely compensations: my first degree in history is now of serious use for the first time, as is my knowledge of French and Italian. The most useful part of the course at Sheffield has proved to be the familiarity with Word and the Internet. At the moment management doesn't really come into my job; it's all happening higher up the hierarchy. At any rate I am in no hurry to move on, for somewhat to my surprise I find myself in a job that is fun.
After completing the MA in Librarianship course at Sheffield, my first library job was a six month fixed term one, providing maternity cover as an Information Officer in the Leeds office of Eversheds (a law firm). From there I moved on to become the KM Resources officer at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary's Liverpool office, where I have been for the last eighteen months. The main part of my job involves being responsible for the day-to-day management of the Knowledge Centre, along with assisting the Research Officers with enquiries. I also have a Resources Assistant to manage. Other tasks I have include the production of a daily insurance bulletin and my contribution to the daily news and business headlines bulletin. As well as these another part of my job involves giving Knowledge Management induction talks/tours to the new starters, new trainees and summer students that we have here in the office. During my time at DLA Piper I have also been given responsibility for writing a guide to a section of a large online database and also worked with a colleague on producing induction programme guidelines and materials. I have also been given the task of organising database training for all the new trainees at the firm's 8 UK offices. Whilst here I have been given the opportunity to attend the BIALL conference through work and I am also now the chair of the local legal librarians group. I greatly enjoy my job and find that no two days are ever the same, the fast pace and continuing challenges are also aspects of the job that I enjoy.
I feel that the varied nature of the course in Sheffield, with the mix of both the more traditional and non-traditional librarianship skills etc, was an excellent preparation for my working life. I have particularly benefited from what the course taught me about information management, human resource management, and the internet and other research skills it taught, as well as the time management lessons that I learnt. I recommend the course in Sheffield and personally, my plan is to remain in the legal information sector and continue to develop my career.
I am Assistant Librarian in a busy and successful sixth-form college near the centre of Birmingham. The library team is small, which means that everyone has to pitch in and do a bit of everything - a great way to gain experience. Any given day I will find myself helping students and staff find the materials they need, sorting out IT-related problems, processing books and selecting stock; I also have full responsibility for our periodicals collection. I am given a large degree of independence in setting up special projects: so far I have been involved in promoting resources and services, am the editor of the library Newsletter (which I set up from scratch) and run an after-school book group. I will also be teaching information handling skills come September. And as if all this weren't enough, CPD is taken very seriously by the college, so that I have been able to get support for Chartership! The Librarianship course at Sheffield has given me invaluable practical knowledge which helps me get through my day: information searching skills, IT skills, and an understanding of how to work with people. But more importantly, the course has opened my eyes to the possibilities of libraries and helped me see beyond what my library already does. Without the MA I wouldn't have the skills or confidence to start up new projects or to do old jobs in a new and better way, and I would not be able to take advantage of the independence that is the best part of a job in a small library.
After finishing the MA course I found a temporary job working in the medical records library of a hospital near my home in South Manchester. I then found a job working for Sheffield University at the library of the National Centre for English Culture and Tradition where I was responsible for a major retrospective cataloguing project. During this time I also began work on my Chartership and took part in several conferences and courses which built on the knowledge I gained whilst doing my MA. I then moved from Sheffield to London where I am currently working as Information Officer for an insurance brokers in their 'Business Information and Knowledge Centre'. The main part of my job involves managing the company library and carrying out online research work. In addition, I have recently become involved with a project on knowledge sharing which involves travelling to regional offices promoting intranet usage within the company. Sheffield definitely provided me with a good grounding in preparation for my career, particularly with regard to both information management and human resource management.
After handing in my dissertation and having a few weeks off to recover I began work as a Children and Young People's librarian for Northamptonshire County Council Libraries and Information Service. I'm based at Daventry, one of the Area Headquarters, and am responsible for children's stock in 10 static and 2 mobile libraries. It has been quite a challenge, especially as I completed my graduate trainee year in a University library, but the work is very enjoyable. As one of a team of professional librarians I have a share of the enquiry desk duties and I am currently involved in the People's Network rollout in my area, training staff to use the system and troubleshooting some of the more simple problems. I feel that the course at Sheffield, especially the modules based around research methods and ICT have enabled me to take on this type of role confidently. In the autumn Daventry Library will become a Learndirect Centre and I am looking forward to this new challenge. The majority of my work is based around the services which are offered to children and young adults. I am responsible for buying and allocating new stock, managing collections of AV material and promotion of the library service amongst other things. I am also involved in a Chartership training programme and will be starting to write my Professional Development Report very soon, though at 5000 words it is not so daunting a task as writing my dissertation.
|Library & Information Services Management||
I work as an Assistant Librarian in the Library and Information Services Team for English Nature, the government agency concerned with nature conservation and geology based in Peterborough. My main responsibilities are cataloguing the vast range of material that makes up our collection. Daily duties include assisting in current awareness and parliamentary briefing serices, and enquiry and literature search work. I am also involved in setting up our new library information system, which entails a large amount of editing the database, writing online staff manuals, and training regional staff around the country. The job is enjoyable, challenging and is proving to be ideal as my first professional post, allowing lots of opportunities to gain a wide range of information management skills and support with external Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This includes being a member of the Eastern branch of the Career Development Group. I also hope to begin my chartership very soon. The skills I gained on the Sheffield MA course are proving very useful, although some are on hold until I take up either a management position or move to a more electronically advanced organization.
Since graduating I have worked for Kings College London (KCL), starting there as a Senior Information Assistant in Journals/Document Delivery. I have now progressed to Counter Services Supervisor at the St. Thomas Medical Library. The work is interesting and sometimes challenging as the library not only serves the staff and students of KCL, it deals with several local NHS trusts. I am also involved in delivering teaching and inductions for a whole range of users. Like most librarians I attend a lot of meetings and spend a great deal of time interacting with the users. I enjoyed the MA course at Sheffield, and benefited a lot from it. I learnt new skills such as searching the internet and databases effectively, as well as management skills and was able to build on existing skills such as interpersonal and communication skills.
After an 8 month appointment at Cyprus International Institute of Management, I currently work with Athens International Airport as a Document Management Co-ordinator in the company's Central Information Unit. Working for the development and management of Europe's largest infrastucture project and having to combine internal and external information sources is my job's most intriguing element. Being a member of the team that creates an information centre from scratch, in a country with an information management infrastructure in its infancy is an ongoing challenge for me and my colleagues. My team is in charge of developing the company's information and document policy which is a great stakeholder of the company's Knowledge Management Strategy. I map the company's diverse information needs and introduce services that address them; assist in designing databases that aim at unveiling tacit knowledge, provide current awareness services, organize information provision through the corporate intranet, design and implement processes for the company's document management. The course in Sheffield provided me with a very strong background in meeting my current responsibilities: business information, on-line searching, html coding. However, I have to single out management courses and especially human resources management, as well as the mentality that professional development is an ongoing process that is achieved through continuous training and professional networking.
I work within the RIBA's Research & Development Department, whose motto is 'capturing, sharing and applying professional knowledge in architecture and the built environment'. I'm involved in the strategic planning and implementation of a key initiative, 'RIBA Knowledge Communities'. This is broadly aimed at providing professional networking, communities of practice, and a 'knowledge bank' for architects. I'm also leading on a 'wiki' project focused on developing connections across the architectural research community, and contribute to a range of other initiatives. My role is challenging and rewarding, and I enjoy liaising with internal staff, students, academics and researchers, library professionals, external consultants, and practitioners. More widely, I'm currently on the Steering Group of the Professional Associations Research Network. A combination of library and information roles in a number of sectors, and part-time studying at the University of Sheffield enabled me to further develop specialist, technical, and transferable skills, which have proved to be invaluable.
There were a number of reasons which drew me to the University of Sheffield Information School. The fact that the Masters programme being offered by the University of Sheffield was newly accredited by CILIP was a major factor in my selecting it, as several of the other rival universities were needing to go through accreditation again in the very near future, and I did not want to embark on a course which may not be accredited by the time I had completed it. I also was really impressed by the course description, which offered a very structured taught course with enough optional modules to personalise my learning experience. Comparing this course against other university courses available, even those which were not distance learning, this course offered more practical modules which appeared to me at the forefront of current library trends.
At the time of taking each module, it has immediately felt like it would be my favourite module, as all of the staff are very enthusiastic and their passion easily transfers to us as students. In particular, however, I have found the ‘Academic and Workplace Library, Information and Knowledge Services’ module to be my favourite. It is hard to explain why, but I really felt like each week we were covering content that I’d just read about in some magazine or article, or which had come up at work recently. It was very apparent that a lot of effort had been made to ensure the module covered contemporary topics and in such a way that the concept could be introduced, studied, understood, and applied as necessary, in a weekly module. As a learner, this feels like a daunting task, and yet I never felt rushed or incapable of grasping the content. I was highly impressed with the passion of the teaching staff and their talents in being able to teach effectively at such a quick pace.
I was apprehensive as to how much I would like attending online lectures as well as concerned about the workload of a part-time Masters degree along with a full-time job. Fortunately I have found that I really enjoy the online lectures, and that I have been able to balance my work load with my education successfully. The online lectures are convenient and in some respect huge timesavers, as you do not need to travel to and from a classroom to attend the lectures. It is also useful to be able to attend the lecture asynchronously (as opposed to attending it ‘live’) as this means if you are busy at work, or travelling, that you still can keep up with your coursework. The ‘classroom’ is as far away as your nearest internet connection, and I can admit that I attended a live lecture while in the middle of the Atlantic ocean on a cruise ship!
As a mature student, I had been out of formal education for around 8 years prior to embarking on this course, so I had long since given up writing formal essays or other assessed work. Fortunately I have been able to pick things up again quickly and I have found that many of my assignments have achieved a higher grade than I anticipated. It has been interesting connecting with other classmates in a digital environment, and the use of Google+ has helped us interact with one another on a regular basis. I was also fortunate enough to be able to attend a special workshop which was held face-to- face, where distance learning students were invited to attend, if practicable. It was a wonderful experience to meet not only my fellow classmates in person but also to meet my professors, all of whom were thoroughly engaging and just as passionate in person as they had been online. It was a fantastic opportunity and I certainly hope that this will become a more permanent fixture within the module. While I realise not everyone canpossibly attend these types of events, the opportunity to meet one another was a really great experience.
I’d been wondering if I should do this degree for years now, and worrying about how I would cope with the workload and the content. I have personally found that you may have a lot more free time than you realised, and being busy is a worthwhile feeling! Now that I have embarked on this course, I am excited to reach its conclusion, and I certainly feel like I am capable of doing just that – finishing this degree, without losing my head or losing my job! I was so apprehensive but, as one of my fellow classmates said at the workshop we attended, ‘It’s not as bad as I thought it would be’. It has also given me a real edge amongst my colleagues as I have a current awareness of trends and issues, as well as practical knowledge of these topics, that many of my colleagues lack, even those in positions above me. It has also been useful in my understanding the actions being taken at my workplace and even some of the ways in which I have been impacted by changes at my library.