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Student Guide

What is the Practicum?

The Practicum is a required, non-credit course for all MLIS students. It’s usually a 100-hour work placement, located in an approved site, working under the supervision of an experienced Information Management (IM) professional; the 100-hour placement is typically unpaid.

When can I do my Practicum?

If you’re a full-time student: after your first year
If you’re a part-time student: after 6 core classes

Your Practicum can be completed in the spring/summer (April to August) or concurrently with classes in the fall term of the second year.

How do I arrange a Practicum placement?

Placements are arranged through the MLIS Program Coordinator, JoAnn Watson, in November.

Make an appointment via the Doodle Poll (link provided via email after the Practicum Information session) to meet with JoAnn to discuss Practicum ideas. Meetings occur between 01Nov and 30Nov.

You must submit your completed Practicum Application form and up-to-date resume electronically to practicum@dal.ca at least one week prior to your meeting. The last day to book an appointment is 23Nov.

  1. CURRENT RESUME: Convert to a PDF and submit by email. Follow the naming convention:
    o Surname1st initial_Resume_YYYY_MM_DD
    o e.g. DoeJ_Resume_2012_11_21


  2. PRACTICUM APPLICATION FORM: Save as a Word document and submit by email. Follow the naming convention:
    o Surname1st initial_Application_YYYY_MM_DD
    o e.g. DoeJ_Application_2012_11_21

Can I contact potential Practicum sites directly to discuss placement feasibility?

Within HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality): No, this must be arranged through JoAnn.

Outside HRM: Yes, after meeting with JoAnn.

If I want to do my placement in another city, or country, can I?

Yes, but you still need to submit a practicum application form and meet with JoAnn in November to discuss your Practicum.

If you choose to do a placement outside HRM, it is your responsibility to:

  • Follow directions for Practicum application form submission
  • Meet with JoAnn in November
  • Contact prospective placement sites to determine feasibility for a placement
  • Advise JoAnn immediately when a placement has successfully been negotiated
  • Provide placement contact information to JoAnn

How do I apply for the Practicum?

Placements are arranged through the MLIS Program Coordinator, JoAnn Watson, in November.

Make an appointment via the Doodle Poll (link provided via email after the Practicum Information session) to meet with JoAnn to discuss Practicum ideas. Meetings take place in November.

You must submit your completed Practicum Application form and up-to-date resume electronically to practicum@dal.ca at least one week prior to your meeting. The last day for submitting Practicum applications is 23Nov.

You must submit two documents at least one week prior to your meeting with JoAnn:

  1. CURRENT RESUME: Convert to a PDF and submit by email. Follow the naming convention:
    o Surname1st initial_Resume_YYYY_MM_DD
    o e.g. DoeJ_Resume_2012_11_21


  2. PRACTICUM APPLICATION FORM: Save as a Word document and submit by email. Follow the naming convention:
    o Surname1st initial_Application_YYYY_MM_DD
    o e.g. DoeJ_Application_2012_11_21

Do I need to register for the Practicum?

Yes, but not until you have completed your practicum. You will register for INFO 0590 in the term following placement completion (i.e. if you complete your practicum in June, you will register for INFO 0590 in the fall term).

A final grade cannot be logged until you have registered.

How will I be evaluated?

Practicum performance will be evaluated based upon successful completion of the work placement, your performance during the Practicum placement, feedback from your Practicum Supervisor (Supervisor’s Report) and your own Practicum report.

A Pass or Fail grade is assigned after the Practicum has been completed and all course requirements have been met. All course requirements must be completed by February 1st of your graduating year.

Do I have to pay for the Practicum?

No. INFO 0590 carries no credit weight therefore has no tuition fees.

Do I have to complete a report?

Yes, please see the Practicum Report Guidelines.

  1. 100-hour placement reports: Due two weeks after the conclusion of the placement.
  2. Extended work placement deadlines:
    • Fall Registration: November 1st
    • Winter Registration: February 1st

What are my responsibilities as a Practicum student?

  1. Complete all INFO 0590 course requirements by the deadlines.
  2. Correspond in a timely, professional manner with all parties involved with the Practicum.
  3. Respond to JoAnn’s Notice of Placement, in writing, within three business days of receipt confirming your acceptance of the placement.
    Note: Acceptance of a proposed placement constitutes a binding contract on the part of the student to undertake the work involved.
  4. Acknowledge and agree that:
    a. You are subject to the policies, procedures, and regulations of the facility where the Practicum placement is completed.
    b. The facility where the Practicum placement is completed has the right to require the student to leave the facility because of the performance or conduct of the student.
    c. You have the responsibility to maintain appropriate behaviour while in the facility where the Practicum placement is completed, particularly concerning privacy and confidentiality of records and all other information related to that facility. All such information is confidential and cannot be communicated except as outlined in the policy of the facility. If confidentiality is breeched, the penalty may include termination of the Practicum placement.
  5. Immediately inform JoAnn about any concerns that arise during the course of the Practicum placement.

Can an Extended Work Placement be counted as a Practicum experience?

Yes, if it meets the following criteria:

  • 500+ hours of continuous employment in an information setting
  • Supervised by an approved, experienced information professional

If you choose to use an extended work placement (pre-admission or pre-graduation), it is your responsibility to:

  • Discuss potential extended work placements with JoAnn in November.
  • Follow directions for Practicum application form submission.
    • Complete either the Pre-Admission, or Pre-Graduation employment option on the application form (B).
    • Note: Pre-Graduation can either be employment during your time at SIM or through a formal internship.
  • Practicum Report submission:
    • Student:  provide a report on your Pre-Admission, or Pre-Graduation employment following the Practicum Report Guidelines by the following deadlines:
      • Fall Registration: November 1st
      • Winter Registration: February 1st
    • Supervisor:
      • if your supervisor provided a letter of reference to the MLIS Program no supervisor’s report is necessary.
      • if your supervisor did not provide a letter of reference to the MLIS Program, the supervisor’s report is to be submitted by the following deadline:
        • Fall Registration: November 1st
        • Winter Registration: February 1st

What if I’m interested in a Health Sciences library placement in a hospital setting?

Note: Immunizations, Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector checks are a requirement and must commence in December for an April placement.

You must make an appointment with JoAnn (via the Doodle poll) in early November if this is your interest.

It is strongly recommended that you begin to satisfy the immunization and security requirements over the December break in order to obtain formal approval for an April placement. Failure to complete the specified protocols in time will result in a cancelled placement.

What if I’m interested in a Records Management or Archives placement?

You must have completed the following prior to starting the placement:

  • INFO 5515 Organization of Information
  • INFO 6370 Records Management and/or
  • INFO 6800 Archives

Previous experience in an archive or an RM setting is an asset.

How do I know when I have secured a placement?

As soon as a placement has been confirmed with a placement site, JoAnn will send a Notice of Placement to your Dalhousie email address, arranging the initial contact between you and your supervisor. You must reply via email within three business days confirming your acceptance of the placement.

If I complete an unpaid Practicum is the placement site responsible for workers compensation?

Since 2014, the University has purchased occupational accident insurance to cover students participating in unpaid practicum placements that take place in Canada. This coverage does not include placements in Ontario and New Brunswick as our students are now able to participate in the workers’ compensation program in these provinces.

What are the course requirements and deadlines?

PRACTICUM INFORMATION SESSION Held in October. Attendance is mandatory.
 
PRACTICUM APPOINTMENT
Booking Students book their appointments via the Doodle poll
Timeframe November
 
PRACTICUM APPLICATION FORM
Submit Electronically to practicum@dal.ca
Due At least one week prior to practicum appointment.
Deadline Applications will not be accepted after 23Nov
 
RESUME
Submit Electronically to practicum@dal.ca
Due At least one week prior to practicum appointment
Deadline Resumes will not be accepted after 23Nov
 
ACCEPTANCE OF PRACTICUM PLACEMENT
Students must acknowledge acceptance of their placement within three business days of receiving their Notice of Placement.
 
PRACTICUM REPORT

For 100 hour placements: Due two weeks after the conclusion of the Practicum placement.

For 500 hour (extended) placements: Due Nov 1st (for Fall registration) / Feb 1st (for Winter registration).

Final deadline for ALL course components: February 1st of your graduating year.

Why is a Practicum placement such a great opportunity?

The Practicum placement experience enables the student to test and evaluate theories discussed in class, to gain experience in an information setting, to refine specific areas of interest, and to explore areas of particular interest for course specialization and future employment.
This is accomplished through:

  • Extending studies beyond the classroom to practical, hands-on work experience in an information setting;
  • Evaluating and supplementing studies through the comparison of differing perspectives and methodologies;
  • Testing individual performance, problem-solving skills and ideas in the context of a professional environment;
  • Enhancing communication and report writing skills;
  • Making contact with potential employers and future colleagues in the professional community;
  • Providing feedback, via your report, on the Practicum and its relevance which allows SIM’s Curriculum/Continuing Education Committee to continually evaluate and improve INFO 0590.

  

Practicum Application

Submitting Your Practicum Documents

Practicum Application Form

  1. Download the Practicum Application Form [DOC - 93.4 KB]
  2. Complete the form in Word; save it using the specified naming convention:
    SurnameInitial_Application_yyyy-mm-dd (date of submission)

Current Résumé

  1. Convert your résumé to a PDF; save it using the specified naming convention:
    SurnameInitial_Resume_yyyy-mm-dd (date of submission)

Submit your application form and résumé to practicum@dal.ca.

Practicum Report

Formatting

  • 7-10 pages (excluding citations and cover page).
  • 2800 – 3000 word count total (excluding citations and support documents)
  • Double spaced
  • 10-point font (Arial)
  • Submitted as an attached Word file via email using the following naming convention:
    SurnameInitial_PracticumReport_yyyy-mm-dd (date of submission)

    And
  • Contain a cover sheet bearing the student’s name, the Practicum supervisor’s name, the name of the Practicum site and the dates of the placement.
  • Follow the APA author-date method of in-text citation; include a reference list

Content

The student must submit a clear and concise, professional report that analyzes the following:

Page 1 Description of the placement environment:

  • Type of organization, the size and nature of the community it serves.
  • Description of the internal administrative structure of the organization and its relationship with external authorities (e.g. Board of Governors, Trustees, etc.).
  • Particulars of the area of assignment, including if applicable:
                  - various services and functions
                  - organization of work and personnel
                  - relationship to other areas of the system

Pages 2-7 (minimum); 2-10 (maximum):

  1. Briefly describe:
            - tasks undertaken during your placement
  2. Reflect upon:
            - what you learned during the Practicum placement
            - the relevance of the placement in terms of your IM goals
            - the skills you used during the placement
            - the skills you could improve for career development
  3. Evaluate:
            - the elements of the placement, and your particular assignment
            - the relevance of the Practicum to the School's curriculum as a whole
  4. Provide a self-assessment of your preparedness for the work placement, making references to the MLIS Competencies.

Due Dates

Regular Placements (100 hours) Due two weeks following the last day of the practicum.
Extended Work Placements (500 hours)

Fall Registration: November 1st

Winter Registration: February 1st 

Reports must be submitted electronically to joann.watson@dal.ca no later than 5 p.m.

Late Reports

Failure to submit a practicum report by the specified deadline may result in a failing grade, unless prior permission has been given by the MLIS Program Coordinator to submit the report late, which normally will be for extended illness, medical, or family emergencies only. Reports will not normally be accepted seven days or more after the due date.