Pete comes from the UK, lives in Turkey, and is studying in Borås, Sweden. By studying for a Master's in digital libraries and information services through distance studies, he can study at his own pace and at a place of his choosing.
"It can be quite challenging to motivate yourself when you don't have any study buddies around, but at the same time, I can organise the work as I want and take it at my own pace," he says. Each term, there is a week when he is on campus at the University of Borås. For some, these times can clash with something else. There are clearly both advantages and disadvantages of distance learning.
He has a background in IT, but over the last ten years, while living in Turkey, he has been teaching English. He says he would like to work in digital library environments for children and that the interdisciplinary Master's programme in library and information science was perfect because it gives him the opportunity to both develop his IT skills and to build new knowledge as humanities is part of the educational programme.
"I like that the educational programme is interdisciplinary. For me, the technical parts are easier to understand and therefore I try to push myself a little extra in those parts. But I also enjoy the challenge of the new theoretical elements, such as when we learnt about traditional and digital reading behaviours in the e-book course."
Nordic researchers linked to the programme
In the e-book course, students immerse themselves in three aspects of e-books: digital reading, distribution, and production. According to course coordinator Alen Doracic, "That we offer a course on e-books at the Master's level with those aspects is unique at the moment and provides students with both a breadth and depth in the field. Digital technology and digitalisation have changed reading habits and media consumption; the course discusses research on different types of texts and readability."
"In the distribution part, the focus is on the Nordic and Swedish e-book market, the actors, and the legal issues. The course has been developed as a collaborative project with the University of Oslo and Akershus, University of Stavanger, and the University of Copenhagen. In this way, we have tied several leading Nordic researchers and the latest research to the course, which will be offered again as a programme and standalone courses and in the spring of 2018."
Music interest became an e-book
At the end of the e-book course, the students carry out a major project. Pete decided to develop an interactive e-book.
"I have a technical background and I decided to challenge myself with the project by making an interactive e-book where audio and video are integrated into the final e-book."
He plays guitar and when he is going to learn a new song, he goes online to find information about the lyrics, chord progressions, and rhythm. Often, he also wants to find an original recording to listen to and, even more preferably, a video lesson with an experienced teacher to watch. For the most part, he manages to find all the material through searches in various places, but the thought behind his e-book was to gather everything in one place.
"In the course, we learned to encode text and convert digital material to various formats, such as HTML5 and ePUB. During one of the weeks of teaching in Borås, I also got tips from a fellow student for a coding language that could be used to encode musical notation. Using the knowledge I have acquired during the course, I created an e-book file that contained a handful of songs; each song is connected to all the elements I was looking for."
Read more about the Master's programme in Library and Information Science with a specialisation in digital libraries and services
Read the blog on The e-books research project