Information Resources, Services and Technology for an Aging World
This term-long, 3-credit online-only course will focus on collection development, reference, and education services for older adults, and their professional and family caregivers. The course will cover the critical evaluation of materials in print, non-print, and electronic formats, and a discussion of information services provided by healthcare organizations, community agencies, medical center and hospital libraries, public libraries which serve an aging population, and academic libraries serving students in the helping professions.
This course is especially appropriate for those interested in working in medical and public libraries, healthcare organizations, community agencies, and academic libraries which students intending careers in the helping or service professions, especially in fields that focus on older people.
The first four sessions provide a general background in gerontology, geriatric medicine, and the demographics of aging, with an emphasis on understanding user information behavior and information needs, including the information needs of both the older adults and their family and professional caregivers
A second set of four sessions provide a general background to the problems and issues of information services to an aging population, with a special emphasis on issues in collection development and the use of information technologies by and for this population.
The last four sessions focus on special sub-populations of older adults, and their specialized information needs, including minority seniors, those in institutions, those with chronic diseases, the disabled, those with mental illness, and those who are dying.
- Session 1: Introduction; class logistics; terminology
- Session 2: Demographics and stereotype
- Session 3: Information behaviors of older adults and their caregivers
- Session 4: Information services for older adults; specialized libraries
- Session 5: Materials in book and periodical formats
- Session 6: Materials in audio-visual formats and realia
- Session 7: Materials in electronic formats, and on the Web/Internet
- Session 8: The use and development of specialized information
technologies for older adults
- Session 9: Specialized materials and services for older adults living with chronic
diseases and mental illness, and those who are living in institutional settings
- Session 10: Specialized materials and services for older adults from special
populations (minorities, those with disabilities, rural elders, etc.)
- Session 11: Specialized materials and services for those at the end of life and their
- Session 12: The future for information services for older adults and their
- Attendance via the weekly use of materials provided through CourseWeb
- Readings as assigned
- Active participation in the class Discussion Boards
- Written exercises as assigned
- Site visits to libraries or information agencies serving older adults
- Weekly online discussions of the "clipping of the week"
- Weekly online discussions of the "reference question of the week"
- A final project
Readings will be taken from web-based sources, and will include the professional and popular literature in gerontology/geriatrics and the literature of library and information science, as well as examples of materials designed especially for an aging population. At a minimum, students will need to be able to access the ULS and HSLS library collections via the VPN, and have access to a public library.
- MLA members can take the course for 3 graduate credits or for non-credit (CE certificate).
- MLA members who want graduate credits will be offered a $500 tuition scholarship from the School of Information Sciences; they must be be enrolled as post-master's certificate students or as special students, and they will pay either in-state or out-of-state tuition.
- MLA members who want to take the course without graduate credits will pay $1000 for the 12-session class.
- Any MLA member who enrolls in the course will have access to all the electronic resources of the University of Pittsburgh library systems for the summer term.
The first class materials will be distributed during the week of May 12th, and students will receive twelve sets of course materials (one each week) for the ensuing eleven weeks (until the week of July 25th). The course will end on August 1st. Course participation requires that students access the Blackboard7 course management system used by Pitt; the class is delivered in units that consist of a set of PowerPoint slides accompanied by an audiocast of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours per week, all provided through the web-accessible course management system.
If MLA members have questions or want to enroll, they should get in touch with the Director of Online Education;
Susan W. Alman, PhD
Director, Online Education
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
135 N. Bellefield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260