The UC Berkeley Extension indexing course, X477 Indexing: Theory and Application opened for registration in October 2004. This online course has five sections, taught by different instructors, and sections open and are available for enrollment twice a year, in January and July and even more often as per student demand. This award winning six-month distance learning course, developed by Sylvia Coates, allows students to move through the course at their own pace within their six-month term.
The UCB Extension X477 Indexing: Theory and Application Course is the recipient of the 2005 Distance Learning Community of Practice (DLCoPC) Award from University Continuing Education Association (UCEA). The DLCoPC Award is made in recognition of innovation and quality of instruction. UCEA has been dedicated to the advancement of continuing education since 1915.
This course provides a solid theoretical and practical foundation for becoming a professional indexer. Emphasis is on term selection, constructing a thematically structured index reflecting the text themes and concepts, working for different types of publishers requiring specialized specifications, running a successful indexing business, specialized types of indexes, and integrates the use of the three most popular indexing software programs as part of the curriculum and which are required for completing the assignments. Student versions of CINDEX, MACREX, and SKY have been generously provided by the vendors for the course and are available to students via downloads.
The course LMS (learning management system) allows students to easily access instructional material, and to actively interact with their instructor as well as with other students. There are weekly live chats during which students may directly ask working indexers questions about either the course, marketing, or general questions about indexing. The different instructors rotate monitoring the weekly chat and share their own indexing experiences with the chat participants. Students, who take advantage of the opportunity the chats provide, are able to develop valuable professional contacts with five different working indexers. This article includes a description by four graduates on their experience with the course.
The last two modules of the course include an introduction to embedded indexing in Word, Frame, InDesign, as well as taxonomy and thesaurus construction. This specialized material was written especially for the course by several experts actively working in those areas. And finally, reflecting the increasing globalization of the publishing industry, there is instruction on Australian, Canadian, and U.S. indexing conventions throughout the course. For those interested in more detailed information on the curriculum here is a copy of the most recent syllabus.