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U. of I.'s top-ranked library school wins distance-learning award

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois’ top-rated library school has won another award for its excellence in online teaching and learning.

Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science and its partner, Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, have won the Sloan Consortium’s (Sloan-C) 2006 Effective Practice Award.

Illinois and Syracuse won for their distance education consortium called Web-Based Information Science Education, or WISE. Created in 2004, WISE was one of three recipients of the Effective Practice Award.

According to Sloan-C’s announcement, WISE offers unique distance education courses to students at its 12-member schools. WISE students can select from an extensive list of online courses, regardless of their locations, and can take courses with faculty members who are highly regarded in their areas of expertise.

Over the past two years, WISE has enrolled 198 students in 133 courses, and it continues to increase the quality, access and diversity of online education opportunities in library and information science, the announcement said.

WISE schools, in addition to Illinois and Syracuse, are Rutgers, Simmons and Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) and the universities of British Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Pittsburgh, Texas at Austin, Western Ontario and Wisconsin at Milwaukee. More information about WISE can be found at

Linda Smith, the co-founder of WISE and the associate dean of GSLIS, said the WISE consortium benefits participating institutions in “multiple ways."

“Students have access to a wider variety of courses, faculty can offer courses in special areas of expertise and program administrators can collaboratively develop best practices in online education for library and information science.”

Craig Tucker, WISE coordinator at Syracuse, said that WISE has set “a standard that can serve as a benchmark for institutions looking to develop online education programs as well as for the development of other quality online education projects.”

WISE will receive its award on Nov. 8 in Orlando during Sloan-C’s 12th annual international conference on online learning, this year titled “The Power of Online Learning: Realizing the Vision.”

WISE +, an outgrowth of WISE that is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has expanded the resources of the consortium to include 17 library association partners. WISE + provides pedagogical training for faculty and is supporting the creation of a digital learning repository for WISE courses.

The Sloan Consortium is an association of more than 1,000 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning. Sloan-C’s 2006 awards are posted at

The U. of I. Graduate School of Library and Information Science consistently is ranked No. 1 in the nation.