LIBR 246-13
Information Technology Tools and Applications – Learning to use Drupal and Understanding Content Management Systems (CMS)
Spring 2014 Greensheet

Derek Christiansen
Office location: San Clemente, CA USA
Office Hours: by appointment via Collaborate

Greensheet Links


Important Information

Mandatory Collaborate Meeting: Thursday January 23rd 7:00pm PT all students are required to meet with me in Collaborate. I will email students the link to the meeting room via MySJSU prior to start of semester.

D2L Information: This course will not use D2L. We will use a Drupal instance found here:

I will email each student with login information and week 1 instructions via MySJSU on January 22nd.

No Textbook Purchase: we will not be using a single textbook for this course, but we will use many texts available through Safari Tech Books Online which are free to SJSU SLIS students through King Library. If you have not used this service before, please familiarize yourself prior to beginning of class as I will assume you know how to access online materials from King Libarary. Also note that all readings will refer to pagination found in the online version.

Domain purchase and hosting: each student is required to purchase a domain and hosting from GoDaddy web hosting. The domain can be less than $4 and hosting is $5 per month for a total of about $20 for four months. Therefore, total cost of materials for course is about $25. Note, according to GoDaddy you can use a discount code WOWlibr246 [case sensitive] to receive a 35% discount on your initial order. 

Course Description

We will build a website using Drupal v.7 (an open source Content Management System) and in the process learn why the CMS is important to information organizations. Most of the course content will be practical "hands-on" exercises in doing something rather than knowing something. Our class will be more like a wood shop class than a history class. When you are done you will have made something: a Drupal website and you will have become a contributing member of the Drupal open source community.

Course Requirements


There will be 15 weekly assignments, each of which is worth 10 points. Each week I will lecture live in Collaborate on Monday at 6:30pm PT. Each lecture will contain a technical demonstration of the assignment.  Each assignment will be due at midnight Pacific Time on the Friday following the Collaborate lecture (with the exception of the 1st assignment which is due Saturday 1/25/2014).  All lectures will be recorded so attendance is not mandatory with the exception of the first meeting on 1/23/2014. Each assignment is directly related to established student learning outcomes (SLOs) and core competencies supported for this course.

Assignments are subject to change during the progress of the course depending on our ability as a group to cover the material.  The course calendar of assignments which follows should be considered a rough guide of what to expect each week. I reserve the right to amend this calendar and any assignments upon adequate advance notice to students.

Course Calendar

Week #Lecture DateAssignment/TopicDue Date
 1  1/23/2014  Domain, host, Drupal 7 install (SLO#3)  1/25/2014
 2  1/27/2014  What is CMS, Users, roles, permissions
 content types (SLO#1, SLO#2, SLO#3, SLO#5)
 3  2/03/2014  Best Practices, Community Tools [Drush] (SLO#16, SLO#21)  2/07/2014
 4  2/10/2014  Modules management, blocks topography, file structure (SLO#4, SLO#6, SLO#18)  2/14/2014
 5  2/17/2014  Content types, Webform module (SLO#8, SLO#10)  2/21/2014
 6  2/24/2014  HTML editors,  IMCE file management (SLO#9, SLO#15)  9/27/2014
 7  3/03/2014  Theme Manipulation, SEO/Site Mgmt. (SLO#4, SLO#7, SLO#18)  3/07/2014
 8  3/10/2014  Display Suite (SLO#12) Community Tools [, CAMPs] (SLO#19, SLO#20)  3/14/2014
 9  3/17/2014  Views I & Feeds (SLO#13)  3/21/2014
    Spring Break  
 10  3/31/2014  Views II & Blocks (SLO#13) Community Tools [Devel Generate]  4/04/2014
 11  4/07/2014  Views III & Panels I (SLO#12, SLO#13, SLO#14)  4/11/2014
 12  4/14/2014  Panels II & Layout Builder (SLO#12, SLO#14)  4/18/2014
 13  4/21/2014  Views, Taxonomy & Panels (SLO#12, SLO#13, SLO#14)  4/25/2014
 14  4/28/2014  Page management (SLO#12, SLO#14  5/02/2014
 15  5/05/2014  Rules & Workflow Management, User Profiles, Community Tools [IRC] (SLO#11, SLO#17, SLO#21)  5/09/2014



  • Each assignment has equal weight (1/15th of grade, no extra credit available on any assignment).
  • Progressive grading policy allows assignments to be resubmitted to improve score.
  • Late assignments receive a zero (please contact me if medical or family emergencies prevent timely work submission).
  • Each week the student must create a homework content-type node within the course CMS (this will make sense after first lecture). Failure to create a homework node prior to the due date is the same as a late submission.

Other Relevant Information:

This course assumes the student does not posses coding knowledge of any kind. It does assume the student knows how the client-server structure of the Internet operates and the basics of file management (e.g., can you create, store and retrieve files and resources in a file structure on a remote server). 

Students with knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP will have an advantage in time only as any coding needed can be learned on the fly by the student.

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

LIBR 202other prerequisites may be added depending on content. 

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define the basic syntax of coding PHP programs.
  2. Use HTML forms with PHP.
  3. Use standard PHP functions and be able to write their own custom functions.
  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of MySQL and be able to use it in a PHP program.
  5. Build and maintain a small Web application.
  6. Identify the features of JavaScript.
  7. Incorporate JavaScript/Jscript into HTML using current versions of popular Internet browsers.
  8. Identify the types of data and operators in JavaScript.
  9. Incorporate variables in JavaScript.
  10. Declare functions and add objects along with their methods and properties in JavaScript.
  11. Manage JavaScript events by using event handlers.
  12. Create interactive HTML forms by applying the properties and methods of form objects and elements.
  13. Implement loops in JavaScript programs.
  14. Manipulate the images displayed on a Web page.
  15. Identify how information about a Web page is stored.
  16. Identify the functions of cookie attributes; create and manipulate cookies.
  17. Identify information provided by navigator object properties.
  18. Manipulate strings using the string object method.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 246 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information, including classification, cataloging, metadata, or other systems.
  3. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.


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;
    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.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.