Click on any question to find answers to frequently asked questions, or scroll down the page to see all of the questions and answers.
Is this program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA)?
No. Mansfield University's Master of Education in School Library and Information Technologies is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. For reasons noted below we do not seek accreditation by the American Library Association.
Unlike a traditional Master of Library Science degree (MLS), Mansfield's SL&IT program is focused exclusively on school librarianship. In contrast, ALA-accredited schools require courses on all aspects of librarianship and information science. ALA also requires accredited universities to employ primarily full-time, professional college professors with PhDs, rather than practicing school librarians.
If your are interested in school libraries and K-12 education then our program should be far more relevant and attractive to you. It's practical, up-to-date, and convenient. If your career goal is to work in a college or other type of library then you should pursue an ALA-accredited MLS. In fact, almost all college and university libraries, and many large public libraries, require the MLS degree for employment. For a list of all ALA-accredited institutions in North America visit the American Library Association.
Do SL&IT courses count toward PDE's Level II Inclusion/SAS requirement?
(For Pennsylvania certification only)
No, the 32-34 credits in the M.Ed in School Library and Information Technologies do not cover the 6 credits of required course work on inclusion or Standards Aligned System (SAS). You will need to satisfy these credits elsewhere. Several inclusion courses are offered via the Ed/Special Ed Department at MU or through your IU or district. For SAS, note that Wilkes University now offers an online course, though most teachers can satisfy this requirement from their own IU.
How do the courses work?
Students log into a password protected web site to view the course syllabus, weekly readings, and assignments. Most of the courses have accompanying textbooks. There is some audio and video delivered over the web but that is not the main mode of communication.
Most of the courses have assignments where students will observe or participate in a school library near them. All the courses will rely heavily on the "Forum" or threaded discussion, a kind of e-mail or bulletin board program for class discussions. Students will be assessed on their participation and on assignments. The software includes an online grade book so students can check their progress at any time.
Are there certain times when I have to be on-line?
Our classes emphasize flexibility as much as possible. In most cases you do not need to be online at any specific time. Nevertheless, classes are set up to follow a regular 15 week semester (12 weeks in the summer) and you'll need to work on each module during its scheduled week. With the exception of important discussions and group work that require frequent and early participation, it is entirely up to you what time or day to work on assignments. Weekly deadlines are nevertheless enforced, as listed on the course syllabus.
How much time per week will be required per class?
Our online classes are not easy! Figure on 6-9 hours per week, per class—3 hours in class plus an additional 3-6 hours of homework each week. Note, however, that many students spend more time than that.
Are there any residency requirements?
No, we are 100% online.
Do I need an education background or teacher certification?
Yes. This program is designed to be an add-on certification. That is, someone who is already a certified teacher could take this program and have library science K-12 added to his/her certificate (after passing the appropriate PRAXIS exam and applying to the state for certification).
Someone who is not currently certified would not be eligible for certification without completing a number of other requirements including child development and educational methods courses as well as a student teaching experience. MU does not offer these classes online.
If you are not certified and want to find out what it would take for you to become certified in another area you should talk to a certification officer. In Pennsylvania you can find them at colleges and universities that offer education degrees. In New York State you can contact a regional certification officer who is often located or affiliated with county boards of cooperative educational services.
If you are interested in pursuing initial certification at Mansfield University you should speak with MUs certification officer, Lori Cass. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 570-662-4873.
Will New York State accept this program?
Mansfield personnel met with New York certification officers and New York will accept the library program for certification. It is an approved Pennsylvania program and New York and Pennsylvania have an interstate certification agreement. We were told that when someone from New York completes the program we would supply them with a letter stating that they had completed an approved program and then they'd take that to a regional certification officer and they'd process the certification.
Do you accept graduate transfer credits?
Mansfield University will accept in transfer up to six graduate credits (two 3-credit courses) from an accredited college or university. Courses must closely match those in our program, which typically means school library or library science courses. Other requirements for transfer include:
Courses would have been counted toward a graduate degree from the sponsoring institution.
Courses are appropriate at Mansfield University as determined by the department offering the degree program and the grades are B or better (if the previous school awarded a “P” grade, and this is verified as equal to a B or better, then it will be accepted).
Courses were taken within 5 years prior to admission. Any courses beyond the qualified time periods become a Graduate Dean decision through petition.
Courses are included on an official graduate transcript received by Mansfield University. A "Request to Transfer Graduate Credit(s)" form can be obtained online.
If youd like us to consider a course for transfer credit please send your request along with a course description and copy of the course syllabus to the SL&IT Department Chair, Cindy Keller.
Could I receive continuing education credits for these courses?
Absolutely! Our first priority is to train new school librarians to meet the shortage, but we have a number of librarians taking courses for continuing education as well.
If I only want to take a few courses what do I do?
If you don't plan to complete the entire program complete the online application and check "Non-Degree Seeking" under "Graduate Codes." The application is required even if you take only one course.
Can public library librarians benefit from the courses?
While the program is designed with school librarians in mind, it could be beneficial to public librarians. We ran the courses by an advisory group made up of district library coordinators who said that 8 of the 10 courses would be very appropriate for continuing education for public librarians. However, we can not guarantee that our Masters of Education degree will qualify applicants for all public library positions (some libraries accept the M. ED. and some require a Masters in Library Science).
What's reciprocity and how do I obtain it?
Reciprocity is an arrangement whereby students complete the certification requirements of another state and then obtain a similar add-on certificate for their own state. In the case of MU's program, the student would satisfy requirements of the Pennsylvania Dept of Education, as long as their state is a participant of the Interstate Certification Agreement. For additional information, and a special note for New York students, see our quick Guide to Reciprocity.
Whom do I contact with complaints about the university or program?
Recent federal legislation requires colleges and universities to provide greater consumer protection to current and prospective students. For online learners those protections extend to all US states and the District of Columbia (i.e. even if you do not reside in Pennsylvania). For details and a list of contacts in all 50 states see our Distance Education Compliance page.