LIBR 281-13
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Exploring Future Technologies
Spring 2014 Greensheet

Dr. S Alman
Office Hours:
(By Appointment)

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D2L Information: This course will be available beginning Thursday, Jauary 23, 2014. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

Investigation of major contemporary issues within the information profession; topics range from censorship to the need for a national information policy and change each time the course is offered.

Students will gain skills to plan strategically for the changing technological landscape. The course design enables students to participate in futuring activities through readings, video presentations, guest lectures, interaction with today’s futurists, and individual research.  After an historical overview of forecasting students will become immersed in the literature and practices of current technological futurists, gain skills to plan strategically for the changing technological landscape, and use tools for the development of a group digital poster on the future of technology.

Course Requirements

Mode of instruction
This course will be entirely asynchronous. We will use D2L for online discussions, for the submission of assignments, and for accessing readings and course materials.

For detailed requirements and grading rubrics for each of the assignments, please see documents in D2L. Please note that the due dates listed below are subject to change with fair notice.

  1. Tech, Journal, and Product Watch Reports, Participation & Engagement (Supports SLO #3; Core Competency H): Students will interact weekly via the course learning community. Students will be actively reading a wide variety of publications and scanning for new products, and they will report their findings by posting to the specified Discussion Forum.
    1. Students will share their work during several points:
      1. Week 8 :What’s the Next Big Thing?(What have students identified to date in the course in preparation for the poster development)
      2. Weeks 14-15 (Digital Poster).
  2. History of Forecasting and Futuring (Supports SLO #1, #2, #4, #5; Core Competency H): Students will have the option to develop one of the following: paper (suited for submission to the SLIS Student Research Journal), LibGuide, or media-based presentation relating to the history of forecasting and essential resources to explore emerging technologies.
  3. Grant Proposal Collaboration. (Supports SLO #6, Core Competency N) Using grant proposal materials and strategic planning skills students will develop a plan for a technological partnership.
  4. Futuring Career Opportunities. (Supports SLO #3, Core Competency H) Students will scan the literature and identify positions that have a futurist component. Students will develop a chart that includes position titles, needed skills, and types of organizations that employ futurists.
  5. Digital Poster on Emerging Future Technologies. (Supports SLO #5, #7, Core Competency H, N) Students will develop and present a digital poster using the theme “What If…)

Late Assignments Policy
There will be a late penalty for assignments turned in after the due date without prior approval. If your life circumstances require you to seek an extension, please do so at least several days before the assignment is due. No extensions will be granted for discussion posts.

Course Calendar
(Dates Subject to Change with Fair Notice)

  • Part 1: Futures Overview
    Weeks 1-4 (January 26 – February 22)
    • History and Keeping Current: Background, Techniques, Professional Societies, Publications
    • Emerging Technologies: Who and What to Watch
    • Environmental Scanning: Leadership and Management
    • Futurists
  • Part 2: Technological Innovations: The New Digital Age
    Weeks 5-8 (February 23-March 22)
    • Role of the World Wide Web: Past, Present & Future
    • Cutting Edge Technologies
    • Future Technologies
    • What's the Next Big Thing?
  • Part 3: Key Impact Factors
    Weeks 9-11 (March 30 – April 19)
    • Big Data (Michelle Chen
    • Cybersecurity (Tonia San Nicolas)
    • Funding and Collaborations
  • Part 4: Futuring
    Weeks 12-15 (April 20 – May 13)
    • Digital Poster Design
    • Careers for Futurists
    • Poster Presentations
    • Wrap-up

20% of the final grade is given to each assignment

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 200, LIBR 202, LIBR 204, Other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Articulate major issues and problems related to metadata.
  2. Apply current metadata terminology and concepts, including major content and encoding schemes for digital libraries.
  3. Analyze and critically apply different approaches to metadata creation, storage, management, and dissemination within different information communities for different purposes.
  4. Critically analyze and compare different metadata standards and their applicability to different contexts, and apply basic metadata quality metrics to assess the relative quality of different types of descriptive metadata.
  5. Create descriptive metadata for digital resources, and design and plan metadata database templates for digital resource projects.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of information policy issues and services from an ethical standpoint, as well as noting the differences between professional ethics and legality.
  7. Build the skills needed to make decisions on complex cases related to information access, services, technology and society.
  8. Analyze the importance of professional conduct in the workplace, including those elements related to interpersonal interactions, sensitivity to organizational culture, ability to take initiative and risks, and socially responsible behavior as it relates to ethical (professional) dilemmas.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Articulate the ethics, values, and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom.
  2. C Recognize and describe cultural and economic diversity in the clientele of libraries or information organizations.
  3. E Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  4. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.
  5. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information, including classification, cataloging, metadata, or other systems.


Required Textbooks:

  • Schmidt, E., & Kohen, J. (2013). The new digital age: Reshaping the future of peoples, nations and business. Alfred A. Knopf. Available through Amazon: 1480542288arrow 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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