LIBR 240-12
Information Technology Tools and Applications
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Derek ChristiansenEmail
Office Location: San Clemente, CA USA
Office Hours: by appointment

iSchool eBookstore

Course Prerequisite: LIBR 202

Important Facts:

  1. This course does not use D2L; we will use a site developed by the instructor.
  2. Instructor's course site:
  3. Class officially begins on Wednesday, January 25th.
  4. Our mandatory Collaborate/Elluminate orientation session will be held at 6:00pm PT on Wednesday, January 25th.
  5. Instructions for accessing the course site will be emailed from the MySJSU system to enrolled students on the morning of January 25th.
  6. You will have to purchase a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements for the image manipulation requirements of the course. Any version (Elements, CS3, CS4, etc) of this software is acceptable.
  7. The first few weeks are intense. Special attention to detail is needed as you will be setting up your development environment as well as creating your first web page on day one.
  8. Software must be installed and ready to use during the Collaborate/Elluminate session.

Course Description

This course examines the different ways in which we structure, store, process, access, and present information on a website.  Emphasis is placed on the tools of information technology. Special consideration is given to the application of these technologies within information organizations. 

The focus will be on best practices in modular web design: standards-compliant XHTML for structure, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for presentation, and some JavaScript (client-side scripting language) for interactivity.

We will lightly touch on the use of PHP (server-side) scripting language, as well as SSI (server side includes) for modular design.

There will be work with images and graphics (preparing non-text content for the Web) using Photoshop Elements (any version).

Hand's-on use of Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, digital storytelling, shared resources, etc) and analysis of the implications for information-seeking.

A practical introduction to XML via RSS and ATOM.

Strong emphasis placed on making a web site accessible, usable and findable (including an awareness of cultural issues and diversity).

An introduction to HTML 5 with an emphasis on emerging code standards in relation to legacy technologies.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the course, a student should be able to articulate understanding of/display competence using:

  • Structure and operation of the Internet and Web (e.g., file formats, transfer protocols).
  • Client-server relationship as it applies to the World Wide Web.
  • Software tools used to build websites (text editors, FTP clients, Linux servers, Apache web server).
  • Construction of websites using modular design based on a building block approach.
  • XHTML in a "hand-made" way which doesn't rely on WYSIWIG editing using Dreamweaver-type software.
  • Theory and premise of CSS use for layout and presentation.
  • CSS design strategy based on the box model of page layout.
  • Use CSS to change the look of a web site and enable end-user design input.
  • Conceptual and practical strategies for presenting information on the web.
  • Issues and practicalities of non-text information (images) in web pages (sizing, pageload speed).
  • Importance of universally adopted standards with special focus on Unicode in an international world.
  • Add an interactive client/server form to a web page with JavaScript and PHP.
  • Create collaborative content via Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Make web pages more usable, accessible, findable and understand the cultural issues of information presentation.
  • How XML, XSLT and the DOM create communication links between sources of information (i.e., RSS syndication).
  • Connect the dots for these technological capabilities within the scope of their use in libraries/information organizations.

LIBR 240 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • (G) Understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge.
  • (H) Demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities.

Course Requirements

Personality Requirements: LIBR 202 is a prerequisite for this course and the ideal LIBR 240 student should have enjoyed  it (especially the technical aspects of creating a database and then making queries against that DB). We will be writing code, and that means time alone in front of a computer. If the Zen of computing pleases you, then you will enjoy my course. You will have fun if you let yourself.

Technology Requirements: You should not take this class unless your computer and Internet access meets the minimum requirements described on the SLIS Home Computing requirements page see:

You WILL NEED a high-speed connection (DSL, cable, etc.) to successfully complete this class.

Tasks To Do Before Class Begins: Please do the following prior to the mandatory Elluminate session on Wednesday 25 January at 6:00 pm PT.

  • Order and receive the required text.
  • Acquire and install software necessary to succeed.

Course Demands: This class requires a real time commitment. Depending on the comfort with the technologies covered, students spend 10 to 20+ hours per week. Students must devote sufficient time to the class to be successful. The final project may take 20+ hours to complete.

Measuring Student Learning Outcomes

Assignment Weight
14 weekly assignments [8 points coding, 2 points participation] 80%
Final Project [35 points] 20%

Extra Credit: Opportunities to earn extra credit points will be available on most assignments throughout the semester.

Grading Philosophy: My grading philosophy is that all students can get an A if they simply do the work and put in the effort.  Also, be smart and ask for help if you get stuck. Coding assumes we know where to look when we don't know what to do. A lot of what we will learn is knowing where to look for an existing solution out there in wilds of the WWW.

Late Homework: late assignments receive a ZERO as a general rule, but if you have an illness or a family emergency, please contact me before the due date to arrange a modified homework schedule. In addition, all homework (even late homework) must submitted in chronological order in my grading system.

Due Dates: My course site uses a time-stamped server mechanism to record (down to the second) when students submit completed assignments.

Academic Integrity: Files are time-stamped when uploaded to the student sandbox. Working on homework after submission will be regarded as a breach of academic integrity.

Student Benefit: The draconian assignment policy requires students to keep pace. Each assignment leads to the next in such a way as to make the prior assignments essential to comprehension of the next. It is easy for a student to get hopelessly behind.

No incompletes awarded.


Acquire the following software:

You will have to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements for image manipulation (~ $60); older versions are OK.

Handcoding: I will require you to handcode your assignments. This means that if a student has experience using Dreamweaver or some other HTML WYSIWYG software package, it will not be allowed. To truly learn how to code, one must code.


In addition to the textbook, other required and recommended material will be assigned.

Required Textbooks:

  • Castro, E. (2006). HTML, XHTML, and CSS (6th ed.). Peachpit Press. Available through Amazon: 0321430840. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Crawford, M. (2010). Shop class as soulcraft: An inquiry into the value of work. The Penguin Press. Available through Amazon: 0143117467 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Krug, S. (2005). Don't make me think: A common sense approach to web usability (2nd ed.). New Riders Press. Available through Amazon: 0321344758. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • McFarland, D. (2009). CSS: The missing manual (2nd ed.). Pogue Press. Available through Amazon: 0596802447. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

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;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — 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 the following semester. 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.

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

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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