Online Education (LEEP)
For a variety of reasons, students who want to attend our well-regarded school are not always able to relocate to campus. We extend our program to them, and widen our sense of community, through our online scheduling option called LEEP. Via this program, candidates without on-campus access to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are able to complete our ALA-accredited Master of Science degree (MS), a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS), or a K-12 LIS Certification.
Our LEEP scheduling option is unique among schools of library and information science, and it provides significant advantages in a field increasingly involved in organizing and using electronic information. Simply put, our nationally recognized faculty combine very brief periods of on-campus instruction with Internet instruction and independent learning. Students complete the overwhelming majority of course work at the site they choose—usually their home or office—not a university satellite site. Our acknowledged quality is undiminished: In 2012, the ALA reaccredited our entire master's program, including LEEP in the positive, overall assessment.
We use advanced technologies that provide live, Web-based instruction: students hear faculty as they speak; they see slides and other graphics, and hear music and audio clips, as the professor discusses them; they "chat" with the professor and each other. And our LEEP staff continues to test and refine new technology, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of this exciting educational experience.
What do students say about LEEP?
Again and again, our students tell us they are extremely pleased with the LEEP scheduling option. Some approached the concept of online learning with reservations, but we haven't had a student leave the program because they thought this scheduling option "didn't work." Instead, they report that the flexible scheduling and technology make for a powerful and engaging learning experience. We're delighted to share students' opinions here.
Who enrolls in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UIUC?
LEEP students are expected to be strong academically, able to learn independently, and willing to collaborate with faculty in refining new ways to deliver instruction. GSLIS basic computer literacy requirements are needed; additional technological knowledge is not required, though helpful. Students must have access to the necessary technology at work or at home, including hardware (either Unix, Windows or Macintosh personal computers with sound capability), software, and network connectivity.
We draw students from a variety of backgrounds in the humanities, and the social and technical sciences, which is indicative of the multidisciplinary nature of the LIS field. Some have worked for years in the LIS field, while others are recent college graduates or in pursuit of a new career. An interest in finding, sharing, supplying, using, creating, and classifying information draws us together.
Many students and recent graduates cite the opportunity to design their own programs of study as a major advantage at Illinois; examples of specializations include reference and information services, community information systems, design and evaluation of information systems, and services for children and young adults. Graduates of the master's program are qualified to pursue careers as beginning librarians and information scientists in the information industry. CAS students are able to refresh and update their skills, gain greater specialization, or redirect their careers.
Where do students go after graduation?
In the first fourteen years of LEEP, over 850 master's students have graduated. Graduates have been competitive for positions of their choice, including advancing within their own organizations or securing more responsible positions elsewhere. Students without prior library experience have been hired by libraries. In many cases potential employers value the technical skills that students have developed, as well as their knowledge of library and information science, and are favorably impressed with the students as risk-takers and innovators who successfully pursued their degree online. Graduates are now employed in a broad range of positions such as interface designer at Intel, information specialist with the World Resources Institute, digital government information director at the Arizona State Library and Archives, hospital librarian in Pennsylvania, bank librarian in Florida, school librarian in Indonesia, children's librarian at the Sitka, Alaska public library, community college librarian in Michigan, and member of the team working on Coca-Cola's company intranet.
Students consult with academic advisors to plan programs of study that suit individual needs and specific career goals. We offer a wide array of classes via LEEP each semester. You can see some current and recent past course listings by reviewing course schedules; LEEP courses are those labeled "LE." Some course information is password protected at the professor's request, so you won't be able to view complete information for all classes.
Courses generally have up to two hours per week of "live" Internet interaction at a regularly scheduled time; additional communication and course work is accomplished at times convenient to the student. In addition to instructor-authored Web pages, students use text books, course packs, and materials available at libraries near their homes or obtained with assistance from the Academic Outreach Library. In many cases, live session lectures are recorded and made available via RealAudio from the LEEP Web pages.
Courseload and Limits: MS
The master's degree program requires 40 hours of graduate study, including two core courses, "LIS 501: Information Organization and Access" and "LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society." (These required core courses are regularly available via LEEP.)
Additionally, each semester, students pursue electives from a broad range of LIS course offerings. MS students may also opt to earn up to 12 hours in graduate electives through other UIUC courses and/or request transfer of LIS coursework from an ALA-accredited master's program (maximum 8 hours) or, alternatively, graduate level coursework from any accredited institution (maximum 4 hours).
The usual full-time load is 12 hours during the fall and spring semesters and eight hours during the eight-week Summer Session Term II. A master's degree candidate with a full-time load can complete the 40 hour program in one year, though most LEEP students pursue the degree part-time over a longer period. Master's degree students must complete all requirements for the degree within five years after registering for graduate work.
Courseload and Limits: CAS
This 40 hour course of study is structured to encourage students to design programs that meet specific educational and career goals. A sequence of 32 hours of courses is developed by students with their advisors. The final 8 hours are the CAS project, a substantive investigation of a problem in librarianship or information science, which is followed by a final oral examination.
Up to 16 credit hours may be taken at UIUC outside of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. A maximum of 12 graduate credit hours, with a grade B or better, may be transferred in, subject to review by GSLIS and the Graduate College. Transfer hours cannot have been used to fulfill the requirements of a degree earned at another institution and must have been completed within the last five years at an accredited institution. Overall, a total of at least 24 credit hours (16 hours of course work plus 8 hours of CAS project) must be completed at GSLIS.
Completion of the 40 hour Certificate of Advanced Study varies widely. Full-time students may finish in two semesters and one summer, but students have five years to complete the program.
Master's students enrolled via the LEEP option for summer begin the program with a 10-day on-campus session in July; for Spring enrollment, students attend a 7-day session on campus in January. While on campus, students complete the two-hour required course "LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society" and a number of non-credit technology workshops. CAS students begin in all semesters after having completed non-credit technology workshops. Each online course includes one brief on-campus session (grouped together--you'll travel to campus only once each semester), which provides opportunities to use materials otherwise unavailable, to give presentations, and to continue to build community among students and faculty. Check out the GSLIS events calendar to find out when upcoming on-campus sessions are scheduled.
In order for us to teach our courses at the graduate level, you are expected to have certain computer skills. You can acquire these skills before you begin the program or by taking special free workshops that are offered by GSLIS and the LIS Library during the early part of the semester. Please visit our Computer Literacy Requirements for more information.
During your time at GSLIS, you will have access to many technology resources, including the Help Desk. We encourage you to share your feedback and questions with us and do hope you take advantage of the support we offer the GSLIS community. Please feel free to contact us with questions by emailing -help, at support.lis.illinois.edu-.
In addition to these basic computer literacy requirements, students must have access to the necessary technology at work or at home, including hardware (either Unix, Linux, Windows, or Macintosh personal computers), and network connectivity.
Technologies currently in use support the following activities: asynchronous discussions via electronic bulletin boards; live session interactivity (class presentations by faculty, students and guest lecturers; group Web browsing; text-chatting; break-out rooms for small group discussions); archive of live sessions (including all class components--audio, webpages, text); collaborative document creation and editing (create, edit, and share documents online without leaving one's web browser).
A full-time technology coordinator and graduate assistants provide training and technical support to faculty and students. The technology coordinator works with each faculty member preparing a course to identify the technology available to support the instructor's goals for a course. Other technical support tasks include troubleshooting when students call or e-mail regarding technical problems, helping faculty put material on-line, setting up and monitoring synchronous sessions, and identifying and evaluating possible new technologies.
LEEP students pay full tuition charges at the in-state or out-of-state rates, depending on where they reside, and they register through the Office of Online and Continuing Education (OCE). Tuition for students in the LEEP program is charged per credit hour. Detailed information about tuition and cost can be found on the OCE website.
Students budget for books and supplies, technology upgrades, transportation for campus trips, housing during campus trips, and Internet access. Students are eligible for financial aid such as loans but not for graduate assistantships, which require on-campus residency.
Complete information about these tuition and fee assessments is available from OCE, (217) 333-3061, (800) 252-1360, or online.
Master's students begin their LEEP program with a 7-day campus stay for spring enrollment or 10-day campus stay for summer enrollment. Each semester of enrollment, all students travel to the Urbana campus for a two- to five-day stay.
Arrangements for accommodations during campus stays are coordinated by GSLIS staff in on-campus housing or hotels. Room rates are per-person, and meal tickets and plans are available for purchase.
In addition to travel costs, students need to budget for course materials, and a computer, software, and Internet service provision if without current access to these at home or work.
Admission requirements for GSLIS Programs are standard across scheduling options; admission via the LEEP scheduling option requires applicants to meet GSLIS admission criteria. Preference will be given to students who are strong academically, give evidence of ability to learn independently, and demonstrate willingness to collaborate with faculty in building a successful learning community.
For More Information
Contact the GSLIS admissions officer with questions about the program or the admissions process: (800) 982-0914 or (217) 333-7197, or see the Admissions section of our website.