LIBR 240-12
Information Technology Tools and Applications
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Derek Christiansen
Office Location: San Clemente, CA. USA
Office Hours: TBD using student feedback, by e-mail and chat; online using Elluminate; via telephone by appointment.

Greensheet Links:

Course Requirements

ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

The access code for the ANGEL site will be sent via the MySJSU messaging system to those enrolled in the course as of the evening of January 18th. The ANGEL site will be open for self-enrollment on January 19th. Class begins on January 22nd on ANGEL.

No one is required to begin before the official start of class; however, 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 data structure.

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 application 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 learn how to develop web-based forms and lightly touch on the use of PHP (server-side) scripting language. We will use SSI (server side includes) for modular design, and work with photographic images and graphics (preparing non-text content  for the Web).

There will also be a focus on implementation of Web 2.0 technologies: blogs, wikis, Flickr, social bookmarking, and syndicating and subscribing to content with RSS. The course includes a brief introduction to XML.

Strong emphasis is placed on making a web site both accessible and usable, including developing an awareness of cultural issues.

Course Prerequisite: LIBR 202

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • See how the Internet fits into the history of disruptive technologies and how web development makes every person a modern Benjamin Franklin with his or her own printing press.
  • Build websites using modular, standards-based design techniques utilizing XHTML and CSS.
  • Use CSS to support different devices (mobile and print) and to quickly change the look of an entire web site.
  • Develop conceptual and practical strategies for presenting information on the web.
  • Understand the client-server relationship as it applies to the World Wide Web.
  • Use Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS, blogs, wikis, Flickr, and optionally podcasting and video blogging (e.g. YouTube).
  • Make webpages more usable and accessible; understand cultural issues.
  • Understand how accessibility enhances intellectual freedom, and how opensource projects contribute to disintermediation.
  • Evaluate websites based on the above criteria.
  • Incorporate tables, interactive forms, and images into web pages.
  • Understand the difference between client-side (JavaScript) and server-side (PHP) web programming and incorporate some JavaScript and PHP in web pages.
  • Demonstrate accessible form design and perform error checking on forms with JavaScript.
  • Understand XML and the DOM.
  • Connect the dots between the above listed technological capabilities and the below listed core competencies.

LIBR 240 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • (E) design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems;
  • (F) use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information;
  • (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.

LIBR 240 also supports these additional SLIS Core Competencies:

  • (A) articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom;
  • (C) recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • (J) describe the fundamental concepts of information seeking behavior;
  • (N) evaluate programs and services on specified criteria;
  • (O) contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

Course Requirements

Personality Requirements

Note that LIBR 202 is a prerequisite for this course, and optimally, the student should have enjoyed that course, 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 the Class Begins

Please do the following prior to the start of class on January 22, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. PT.

  • Order and receive the required text.
  • Self-enroll in the ANGEL system.
  • Acquire the software necessary to succeed (should all be free!)

Course Demands

This class requires a real time commitment. Depending on your comfort with the technologies covered, students spend 10 to 20 hours per week studying and completing assignments. You must have sufficient time to devote to the class if you want to be successful. The final project may take you 20 or more hours complete.

Measuring Student Learning Outcomes

Assignment Weight
14 weekly Assignments 80%
Final Project 20%

Extra Credit

Opportunities to earn extra credit points will be available for almost all assignments throughout the semester (including the final project).

Grading Philosophy, Late Assignments, and Incompletes

My grading philosophy is that all students can get an A if they simply do the work and take the time to read, do the exercises, etc.  Also, be smart and ask for help if you get stuck. The excellent thing about coding is that it assumes you know where to look when you don't know what to do. A lot of what you will be learning is knowing where to look for what someone else has already done for you.

I will accept late assignments up to 5 days past due, up to three times (excluding the final project!). After that I will not accept any late assignments. The idea is that sometimes life happens and there is no alternative but to prioritize (I am a Mr. Mom and know this well). But there is a three strikes rule: three late assignments and after that, no more excuses. Any assignment turned in later than 5 days after the due date will receive a zero.

The reason for the draconian assignment policy is simple: each of you will be building a code pyramid, and each assignment leads to the next in such a way as to make the prior assignments essential to comprehension of the next. Consistently late work will lead the student to getting hopelessly behind.

Final projects may be turned in between May 9 and May 16 (8:00 a.m. PT). No final project will be accepted after Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. PT.  If you have an illness (medical certificate supplied) or a family tragedy, please contact the instructor.

No incompletes will be awarded.


Acquire the following software:

Note: my course site will provide additional links to download software. Also, keep in mind that you will not be required to purchase software for this course. You should be able to complete every assignment with a computer, a fast connection, and free software...with one exception:

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements for image manipulation, so my tutorials will reflect that product. If you use GIMP (free but thin on support) or some other product, you will be on your own. BTW: Adobe has student discounts, and it is one of the few Web tools I feel is worth buying (currently $69 Education Pricing).

At the end of this course we will discuss development environments (SDKs and IDEs) and I will share my experience with several platforms. However, if you want to buy software, you are free to do so. But one warning...


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:

  • 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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