LIBR 287-17
Seminar in Information Science
Topic: Virtual Worlds: Traveling Through Times and Space: Birth of the Renaissance in Florence
Spring 2014 Greensheet

Lori Bell
Other contact information: (309)338-5115 cell
Office Hours: Arranged as needed

Greensheet Links
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Course Description

This course will immerse students in Virtual Florence during the Renaissance (1350-1550). Many of the topics and issues we associate with the Renaissance era began in Florence. Because of its unique economy, writers, painters, architects, philosophers and business, Florence was a model of Renaissance culture. Students will meet or become the famous characters of that time period including the powerful Medici family, Niccolo Machiavelli, the intriguing Borgia family, and the talented artists Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and others. Based on research conducted into the events taking place during this period, students will create and participate in an immersive role-playing experience. The experience will prepare the students to demonstrate the ways in which librarians, and archivists, and museum curators can create community and serve as teachers and leaders in portraying knowledge, history and documents in creative and educational ways using virtual world technologies.

Course Requirements

Course Format
The course will meet in the virtual world of Second Life on Thursday evenings from 6-8 pm pacific time. Attendance is helpful but not required. We will use for course communication outside of Second Life:


  • Assignment 1 - Discussion on spruz - 10 points - SLO3
  • Assignment 2 - Identify character - 10 points - SLO3
  • Assignment 3 - Visit library or archive; describe visit on spruz - SLO3
  • Assignment 4 - Introduction to Florence character -10 points - SLO4
  • Assignment 5 - Short Florence topic paper - 25 points - SLO1
  • Assignment 6 -Furnish/outfit home- 25 points - SLO1
  • Assignment 7 - Visit to 2 immersive/simulation sites, discussion - 10 points - SLO3
  • Assignment 8 - Plan./script for machinima - 10 points - SLO4
  • Assignment 9 - machinima - 40 points - SLO4
  • Assignment 10 - Visit to 2 historical roleplaying sims - disdussion - 10 points - SLO3
  • Assignment 11 - Display or exhibit for faire - 50 points - SLO4
  • Assignment 12 - Attend event; discussion - 10 points - SLO3
  • Assignment 13 - Presentation at Renaissance Faire - 50 points - SLO4

Late assignments
If you have a conflict which will cause you to need additional time on assignments, please contact me to arrange an alternate due date. Otherwise, there is a minimum 10 percent deduction for late assignments.

Course Calendar

  • Week 1 – January 23Course overview, tour of Italian village, introduction to course mentors, Second life skills review, introduction on Spruz.
    Assignment 1: Discussion questions on Spruz for everyone – due January 30 – 10 points

  • Week 2 – January 30Overview of European Renaissance, Identification of key historical characters
    Discussion/lab: Introduction to Roleplay in SL

    Assignment 2: For everyone – Make a decision about your character, email to instructor with paragraph why you want to be that character. Due Feb 6 - 10 points.

  • Week 3 – February 6- Introduction to Libraries and Museums in SL, Affordances of Virtual Worlds in displaying artifacts and collections
    Discussion/lab: Avatar enhancement or a group field trip to a library/archive
    Assignment 3: – visit 1 library or archive, share perceptions on Spruz. Due February 13- 10 points
    Assignment 4: – Write a short 1 page introduction to your character and post on the discussion board. 10 points due February 13

  • Week 4 – February 13 – Overview of Renaissance Culture, Politics, and Society in Florence, the Birth place of the Renaissance
    – Choice of homes; Field trips to furniture stores. Lindens for students.
    Assignment 6:
    - Students must furnish and outfit their homes – due March 6 – 25 points
    Assignment 5: - Choose an aspect of Florence culture during the Renaissance, write a short paper – 1 page- and post to spruz – due February 20 – 25 points

  • Week 5 – February 20 – Immersive Learning in and Simulation in Virtual Worlds
    Discussion/lab – Choice of field trip to an immersive learning site or where to get historical dress.
    Assignment 7: Visit 2 immersive learning/simulated learning sites and share on discussion board – 10 points – 5 points per site – due February 27

  • Week 6 – February 27
    Introduction to Characters – Assignment 7 -
    All students will come to class in costume and introduce their character in a 5 minute introduction – in text or in audio – 10 points
    Lab/Discussion -
    Introduction to Building and Decorating Workshop or field trip to Ideal City in SL
    Assignment 7: – Write to discussion board about what you learned in building workshop or on field trip to Ideal City – 10 points

  • Week 7 – March 6 – Preservation and Documentation of Virtual Worlds
    Lab/Discussion – Introduction to Machinima
    Assignment 8 – detailed instructions to come – Develop a plan for a machinima or power point you want to create 5-7 minutes long about your character, your home and the culture. Plan is due March 20 – worth 10 points.
    Assignment 9 – After your plan is approved, create a 5-7 minute long machinima or power point. Due April 3. – 40 points

  • Week 8 – March 13 – Lecture on Florence art and architecture and historical roleplaying sims in Second Life
    Lab/Discussion – Field trips to historical roleplaying sims
    Assignment 10 – Visit 2 historical roleplaying sims and share perceptions on discussion board – 10 points

  • Week 9 – March 20 – Lecture/discussion Florence trading and business– 30 minutes
    How to create a simple exhibit, display, ideas and examples -45 minutes
    Lab – working on exhibits/displays
    Assignment 11 – Choose a topic for Renaissance Faire display. Get approval from instructor. We will assign spaces on the campus. Due April 25-26. Display is worth 50 points.

  • Week 10 – March 27 – spring break – no class

  • Week 11 – April 3 – Roleplaying event – specifics to be announced for everyone
    If you cannot attend, you can attend a roleplaying event at another location.

  • Week 12 – April 10 – Lecture/discussion on Religion in Florence – 30 minutes
    Event planning in Second Life – 30 minutes
    Brainstorming for Renaissance Faire – 30 minutes
    Assignment 12 –
    Attend an event in Second Life of your choice – share on discussion board.- 10 points
    Assignment 13 – Turn in a topic for a 15 minute presentation at the faire- can be on the same topic as display. Due April 10. Presentation due April 27-28 and will be scheduled at student’s convenience. Worth 50 points.

  • Week 13 – April 17 – Lecture/discussion on florence topic – 30 minutes
    Lab/discussion – Work on Faire displays

  • Week 14 – April 24 –Lab/discussion – work on Faire displays, talks
    Renaissance Faire
    – Friday April 25 and Saturday April 26
    Everyone will have a display and a presentation during the faire – 50 points apiece – total of 100

  • Week 15 – May 1 – Course evaluation discussion and Role playing event

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, Other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Develop conceptual and practical strategies for presenting information on a mobile device.
  2. Explain the elements of a good user experience.
  3. Describe user research techniques and a design and innovation methodology.
  4. Articulate the relationship between design thinking, user experience, and innovation.
  5. Analyze library websites with user research techniques.
  6. Evaluate a library website and identify good aspects and areas that could be improved.
  7. Describe how libraries can improve their physical touchpoints with user research techniques.
  8. Apply design thinking skills to identify opportunities for libraries.
  9. Identify nontraditional user-centered library programs or services and use them to explain opportunity for the future of libraries.
  10. Describe the web service model and be able to access and retrieve information from a 3rd party service.
  11. Design interfaces to display web service content on a variety of mobile devices through responsive web design.
  12. Examine programming and markup languages used for web application development.
  13. Navigate an IDE (integrated development environment) for web application development.
  14. Describe the model-view-controller (MVC) programming model.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 287 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  3. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  4. N Evaluate programs and services based on measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Crum, R., & Paoletti, J. (Eds.). (2008). Renaissance Florence: A social history. Cambridge University Press. Available through Amazon: 0521727871arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hinrichs, R., & Wankel, C. (Eds.). (2012). Engaging the avatar: New frontiers in immersive education (research in management education and development). Information Age Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1617357510arrow 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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