INFO 281-16 (1-Unit)
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Open Education Librarianship
Summer 2022 Syllabus

Dr. Steven J. Bell

E-mail policy: I will regularly be reviewing and responding to e-mail and discussion board posts before 9:00 am and after 7:00 pm EST. I will not be responding to e-mails between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am EST Mon-Fri. Please anticipate more limited and slower response times on weekends. If I am going to be unavailable owing to travel or other reasons, I will provide advance notice so students can anticipate delays in responses.

Other contact information: (use for more urgent matters)
Office phone: 215-204-5023 M-F 9 am to 5 pm ET
Office Hours: Zoom meetings available by appointment

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning June 1, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets. 

This is a 4-week, 1-credit course that runs from June 29th - July 26th

Enrolled students will have access to the syllabus in the Canvas site for this course, which will provide additional information on course policies, assignments, and more.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Global higher education is shifting to an environment of openness that supports faculty adoption of Open Education Resources (OER) for affordability, improved learning, and open pedagogy methods to engage students more actively in the development of learning resources. Transitioning to zero-cost learning materials is an approach that contributes to student success by offering equitable access to learning materials - as opposed to systems in which costly textbooks and access code content disadvantage less affluent students. In this course students will gain skills enabling them to lead OER initiatives, support educators seeking to develop open pedagogy-based courses, help educators and students (K-16) identify and evaluate open learning resources and engage with other academics to promote cultures of openness in primary, secondary and post-secondary education institutions. This course will help to prepare students for positions as scholarly communication and OER librarians.

NOTE: This course is recommended for students primarily seeking a career in academic librarianship. It is also relevant to students planning to work in K-12 educational environments. Although students primarily seeking careers in public librarianship may find this course of interest, past students on the public library track have indicated in their SOTES that this course was less relevant to them.

Course Calendar

Subject to change with fair notice.

This course will run on a Wednesday-Tuesday schedule. New material will be available on Wednesdays and assignments will be due by 11:59 pm on Tuesdays (unless otherwise specified). 

Week 1: Wednesday 6/29/22

Introduction to the open education movement; the textbook crisis; defining open education and open pedagogy; OER and copyright

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board (graded); readings; no-risk quiz; assignment # 1

Week 2: Wednesday 7/6/22

Role of the open advocate; advocating for open education; becoming an open leader; OER legislation; SPARC and OER; introduction to open pedagogy; identifying and creating open pedagogy assignments

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board (graded); readings; no-risk quiz; multimedia assignment # 2

Week 3: Wednesday 7/13/22

Leading an OER initiative; components of an OER initiative; identifying and finding OER; free versus OER; leading OER workshops; Creative Commons licensing

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board (graded); readings; no-risk quiz; assignment # 3

Week 4: Wednesday 7/20/22

Trends in OER and open pedagogy; inclusive access deals; textbook publisher trends; DEI in open education; state/regional initiatives; open vs affordable;OER research; talking to educators about OER

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board (graded); readings; no-risk quiz; multimedia assignment # 4


Subject to change with fair notice.

Assignment – Module 1

Response to an OER Myth -  Students will identify a known myth concerning open education resources and will write a response to counter the misunderstanding around this myth.

Targets Course Learning Outcomes #2 and #3

Assignment – Module 2

Open Pedagogy Video - Students will create a short video (4-5 minutes) in which they either (a) describe how an existing course assignment could be converted to an open pedagogy assignment or (b) Identify an existing open pedagogy assignment or product of an open pedagogy assignment and explain how it fulfills the goals of open pedagogy and why it benefits student learning and participation in open education.

Targets Course Learning Outcome #1

Assignment – Module 3

OER Treasure Hunt - Using a template, students will identify an existing college course and its required textbooks and the cost of those learning materials; students then seek out OER to replace those textbooks identifying resources located and any identifiable evaluative material; students write a reflective essay on their Treasure Hunt experience.

Targets Course Learning Outcome #3

Assignment – Module 4

Contribute to an Open Education Workshop – Students will select any course topic of their interest and then develop a 5-minute video (e.g., a presentation with voice-over narration) that could serve as a module or component of a broader "Introduction to Open Education" workshop for educators or librarians who are new to OER or other aspects of open education.

Targets Course Learning Outcomes #1, #4 and #5 or #6


Grading will be based on 100 possible points.

There are graded discussion board assignments.

Assignments are due on Tuesday and must be submitted by 11:59 pm.

Late submissions lose 1 point for each day of lateness up to a maximum of 7 points.

If life circumstances require students to request an extension, please do so several days before the assignment is due or as soon as possible.

Communication and interaction throughout the semester via the course site are expected and required.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Advocate for open education values and strategies within an academic institution or other educational community.
  2. Differentiate OER from other learning content.
  3. Competently search for and identify OER across academic disciplines.
  4. Clearly explain open pedagogical methods and identify examples of open pedagogy assignments and projects.
  5. Gain familiarity with OER policy and legislation for advocacy development.
  6. Identify trends in open and commercial publication of learning material.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of those principles within that profession.


No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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