I tried teaching subject/classification first (I always do subject headings first, classification second - never thought about doing it a different way :-)) because students always pick up subject heading assignment so much more quickly than anything else (despite my own passion for & expertise in description).  I did that in part because of an end-of-course discussion with one of my first cataloging classes - they thought it might be better to start with the easiest thing.  
However, it did not work well at all - as Kathleen points out, description provides necessary context, and without it, subject heading assignment is sort of undocked, and isn't easy to grasp.  So, I've happily gone back to teaching description first.  
I also devote time to online catalogs, which works best at the end of the course (although I do have some searching exercises interspersed (sp?) along the way).  
Allyson Carlyle
Information School
University of Washington


From: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education & training on behalf of Kathy Nystrom
Sent: Thu 8/25/2005 10:30 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: update of chapter about DDC

I teach classification before subject headings--regardless of the textbook
order--primarily because I think there's more to learn/it's harder for
students to grasp the intricacies of number classification.  By teaching
them first, I give them more time in the class to work on call # structure
in exercises, since we continue to work on description, headings, then
number classification, & then subject classification as we work thru
exercises throughout the class.  In other words, records just get longer &
more complete as we progress. 

This gives them the most practice, of course, on description--which is the
most rule-bound and thus allows less variation based on cataloger
judgment--but I've never figured a way to make sense of starting with number
classification & then subject headings *before* description :-)  Somehow,
that's too much like dropping folks into the middle of unrelated chaos--I
prefer to give them some context first!

Kathleen A. Nystrom, Adjunct Instructor for School of Information Science &
Learning Technologies, University of Missouri--Columbia
Head of Cataloging
Eden-Webster Library System
470 East Lockwood Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63119-3194
(314)963-6086 (fax)
[log in to unmask]

 > -----Original Message-----
> From: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata
education & training
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Cheryl Boettcher Tarsala
> Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2005 12:06 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: update of chapter about DDC
> I am really intrigued by this difference in cataloging course
> structure. I never realized before that (the previous to 10th ed of)
> Wynar was set up to teach classification before subject headings. My
> colleague at Illinois does this, too, and I can't quite get my mind
> around it. What is the idea behind it?
> Does anyone else teach the units of basic cat & class in a
> "different"order (i.e., different from those in textbooks like Chan
> or Wynar/Taylor)?
> Cheryl
> Arlene Taylor wrote:
> >
> >Because I have rearranged chapters for the 10th ed., this chapter is now
> >numbered 15.  (At the suggestion of several of the book's users, and
> >because I myself teach subject headings before classification, I have
> >rearranged the chapters accordingly.  I have also placed the authority
> >control section right after the chapters covering AACR2.)
> >
> --
> Cheryl Boettcher Tarsala
> Adjunct Assistant Professor
> LEEP Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
> [log in to unmask]
> [log in to unmask]
> The views expressed here are my own and not those of UIUC or GSLIS.