LIBR 281-11
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Crisis/Disaster Health Informatics
Fall 2014 Greensheet

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

Greensheet Links
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Canvas Information: This course will be available beginning August 25th 12:00 AM. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

This course explores the inter-connectedness of information, people, and technologies in a crisis/disaster (e.g. hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemics) and the intersecting trajectories of social, technical and information perspectives in crises/disasters. In particular, it examines how information is generated, accessed, organized, coordinated, and disseminated during a crisis/disaster. The course also examines the multiple roles that libraries can play in crisis/disaster preparedness and response.

The first half of the course focuses on crisis/disaster information topics in general. The second half of the course focuses on crisis/disaster health information: for example, health information sources in crises/disasters; information dissemination during pandemics; health information provided by global related organizations, and agencies involved in crises/disasters. Students reflect on lessons learned from past crises and on strategies to manage future crises. This course equips students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to be key players in crisis/disaster response.

Course Requirements


  • Participation & engagement (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)
    Students are required to make thoughtful contributions to class discussions, complete activities as posted on the course website (12 points - 4 discussion/activities, 3 points each).
  • Blogs (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)
    Students will write 4 blog postings which may include comments and reflections on: the weekly topics, an information perspective on a current crisis/disaster, blogs posted by crisis information commentators (8 points - 4 blog postings, 2 points each).
  • Crisis informatics information resource (CIIR) (Supports SLO6)
    Students will create a Crisis Informatics Information Resource on a crisis/disaster of their choice. The CIIR may be related to the final paper (20 points).
  • Pandemic movie response (Supports SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5)
    Students are required to give an information perspective response to a movie about a global pandemic. Students will need to buy or rent the movie (20 points).
  • Final paper (Supports SLO1, SLO2, SLO3, SLO4, SLO5
    Students will develop a final paper proposal on a topic of their choice, write the paper (12 pages), make a presentation which will be shared with the class (Final paper 25 points, proposal 5 points, presentation 10 points (total 40 points).

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

Course Calendar

Date Topic and assignment due dates
Unit 1
Aug 25
Introductions, syllabus, course requirements
Unit 2
Sept 1 
Defining crisis informatics

Crisis life cycle: preparation, response, and recovery
Unit 3
Sept 8 
Information needs and information seeking in crises/disasters
Unit 4
Sept 15
Information systems used in crisis/disaster management

Using social media in crises/disasters
Unit 5
Sept 22
Big data, crisis mapping

Digital volunteering
Unit 6
Sept 29
Using traditional technologies in crises/disasters

Human-centered responses to crises/disasters
Unit 7
Oct 6

Roles for libraries and archives in crises/disasters

Final paper proposal due October 12th

Unit 8
Oct 13

Trust and information in crises/disasters

Unit 9
Oct 20

Disaster Health Information Outreach Network

Crisis informatics information resource (CIIR) due October 26th

Unit 10
Oct 27
Public health information

Information dissemination during pandemics

Unit 11
Nov 3

Health information in humanitarian crises/disasters

Pandemic movie response due Nov 9th

Unit 12
Nov 10

Case studies

Crisis/disaster preparedness for special populations e.g. disabled, visually impaired

Unit 13
Nov 17

Global health organizations

Final paper due Nov 23rd

Unit 14
Nov 24
Unit 15
Dec 1
Final paper presentation due Nov 30th
Unit 16
Dec 8
Course reflections

Grading and assignment due dates

Participation & engagement 12 pts TBA on Canvas
Blogs  8 pts Student choice
Crisis informatics information resource (CIIR) 20 pts October 26th
Pandemic movie response      20 pts November 9th
Final paper proposal       5 pts October 12th
Final paper  25 pts November 23rd
Final paper presentation 10 pts November 30th

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, family or 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 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. Explain the importance of information in crisis/disaster response.
  2. Recognize the inter-connectedness of information, people and technology in a crisis/disaster.
  3. Analyze information needs and information seeking behaviors of different actors in a crisis/disaster.
  4. Compare and evaluate technologies and human-centered approaches that support communities in a crisis/disaster.
  5. Identify the factors that impact the integration and coordination of information in a crisis/disaster.
  6. Create a crisis/disaster information resource.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  2. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.


Required Textbooks:

  • Hagar, C. (Ed.). (2012). Crisis information management: Communication and technologies. Chandos Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1843346478arrow 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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