LIBR 281-16 
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Community Informatics
Spring 2014 Greensheet

Dr. Christine Hagar
Office Hours:
Virtually, via e-mail, Blackboard IM drop-in office hours - TBA on the D2L course website, and telephone advising by appointment.

Greensheet Links
D2L Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

D2L Information: This course will be available beginning January 23rd 12:00 AM. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

This course explores contemporary theory, research, and practice in community informatics. Community informatics (CI) is broadly defined as the use and application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in local communities. Topics covered include: foundations of CI; community networks (e.g. in ethnic communities), differences in access and use of ICTs by communities (e.g. older adults); digital inclusion (digital divide); public access computing (e.g. in public libraries and community technology centers); social capital and social networks; public policy issues; digital citizenship; building community in libraries, and global approaches to CI. Topics are discussed in the context of local, national and international case studies. The course is particularly relevant to anyone interested in working with underserved communities.

Course Requirements


  • Participation & engagement (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5, SLO6)
    Students are required to make thoughtful contributions to class discussions, complete activities as posted on the course website (20 points - 5 discussion/activities, 4 points each).
  • Reflective Blog (Supports SLO1SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5, SLO6)
    Students will write 4 blog posts that may include comments and reflections on made in the Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) Discussion Group, thoughts on the weekly topics and reflections on observations of community informatics activities (20 points - 4 blog postings, 5 points each).
  • Analysis of public access computing site (Supports SLO2, SLO3, SLO4)
    Students will identify and analyze a public access computing / community technology center in their locality. The analysis (2000 words) will illustrate how the concepts discussed in class and in the readings may be applied to a real-life context (20 points).
  • Class community informatics symposium (asynchronous) abstract, paper, presentation (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5, SLO6).
    Students will submit an abstract on a topic of their choice, write a paper (2500 words) and make a presentation. The abstracts and presentations will be shared with the class (abstract 5 points, paper 25 points, presentation 10 points (total 40 points).

Further information about the assignments is given on the D2L course website.

Course Calendar - subject to change with fair notice

Date Topic and assignment due dates
Unit 1
Jan 23
Introductions, syllabus, course requirements
Unit 2
Jan 27 
What is community informatics (CI)?

Why study CI ?

Discussion forum
Unit 3
Feb 3 
Communities and technologies

Community networks
Unit 4
Feb 10
Digital and social inclusion 1

Real-life examples - making an impact on the individual, family, and community

Discussion forum
Unit 5
Feb 17
Social capital and social networks
Unit 6
Feb 24
Digital and social inclusion 2 Real-life examples - making an impact on the individual, family, and community

Discussion forum
Unit 7
Mar 3
Frameworks for measuring the impact of information and communication technologies

Ethical considerations in CI research
Unit 8
Mar 10
Building community in libraries. Libraries and community networks 1

Discussion forum
Unit 9
Mar 17
Building community in libraries. Libraries and community networks 2

CI and older adults

Analysis of public access computing site due March 23rd
Unit 10
Mar 31
Public policy. Broadband initiatives

Symposium abstract due April 6th
Unit 11
Apr 7
Ci and e-Health

Discussion forum
Unit 12
Apr 14
CI as a development strategy in low-income countries
Unit 13
Apr 21
CI and crisis response

Symposium paper due April 27th
Unit 14
Apr 28
Symposium presentation due May 4th
Unit 15
May 5
Symposium feedback

Grading and assignment due dates

Participation & engagement 20 points Units 2,4,6, 8,11
Reflective blogs  20 points TBA on D2L
Analysis of public access computing site 20 points March 23rd
Class community informatics symposium
5 points  April 6th
Class community informatics symposium
25 points April 27th
Class community informatics symposium
10 points May 4th

All assignments must be submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on the day the assignment is due. Late assignments will be reduced by 20% of point value per day late. Please contact Dr.Hagar if a medical or a family/personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time.

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 200LIBR 202LIBR 204Other 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.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Crandall, M. & Fisher, K.E. (2009). Digital inclusion: Measuring the impact of information and community technology. Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc. Available through Amazon: 157387373Xarrow 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.

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

More accessibility resources.