LIBR 281-12
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Information Privacy
Spring 2015 Greensheet

Dr. Cherie Givens
Office location: Virtual
Office Hours: By appointment, and during weekly drop-in office hours posted in the Canvas course website.

Greensheet Links

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 22nd, 12:01am PST unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open at 12:01am PST on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course is designed to give you a practical understanding of information privacy, its fundamental concepts, privacy issues that exist in information environments, and professional viewpoints about information privacy. It will introduce you to current information privacy issues, laws, agencies that protect or enforce consumer privacy, and privacy protection approaches.

Course Requirements

This course is divided into 4 Units. Each unit lasts approximately 1 week.

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Information Privacy
  • Unit 2: Data Privacy Laws, Regulators, and Ethics
  • Unit 3: Privacy in Libraries
  • Unit 4: Policies and Programs

Readings (Reading/Viewing): Readings for units will include textbook passages, articles, websites, and lectures. Some lectures will be recorded and videos are also part of the required viewings for this course.

  • Please secure a copy of the Swire and Ahmed textbook prior to the start of this course. We will read chapters 1-3 as part of our readings for the first two units.

Assignments and Discussions: Detailed instructions and grading criteria for assignments and online discussion guidelines are provided in the course site. All submissions are expected to be of graduate level quality and will be graded on the clarity, quality, organization, and presentation of ideas and on how closely assignment instructions/guidelines were followed.

  • Assn 1 Information Environment Description and Annotated Bibliography: (20%, Due February 6 by 11:59 pm (PST)) Group assignment to provide a detailed description of the information environment selected and supporting annotated bibliography. Working in groups of 3-5 students, each group will provide a description of their selected information environment (approximately 6-8 double-spaced pages), followed by an annotated bibliography of 12-15 articles, books, conference papers, and/or websites pertinent to the selected environment that supports the detailed description of the environment and the information privacy issues of the environment. SLOs 1,3,4
  • Assn 2 Evaluation of Information Environment: (30%, Due February 14 by 10:00 am (PST))Working in the same groups and building on Assn 1, students will prepare a evaluative report about their selected information environment. This report will demonstrate the group's ability to synthesize the key points from our lectures and readings and build on that information to analyze the information privacy issues present in specific information environments. The group will demonstrate knowledge of the environment through a detailed description and analysis (12 -15 double-spaced pages in length) of the types of privacy issues and protections present in it. SLOs 1-4.
  • Assn 3 Presentation of Evaluation Findings: (10%, Due February 14 by 10:00 am (PST)) Group presentation recorded in Collaborate that provides a comprehensive overview of your group's evaluation from Assn 3. A 15-20 minute professional presentation that introduces your selected environment, focuses on privacy issues and protections, addresses key findings, and offers resources for further information is required. If you have not already done so, be sure to review the Collaborate tutorial materials: SLOs 1-4.          
  • Discussions: (40%, Dates - See Calendar Below) There are a total of 4 Unit Discussions, an Introduction Discussion and a Group Discussion forum. Each of the four unit discussions is worth a maximum of 8% of the course grade depending on the time, content, quality, and minimum number of postings during the discussion week (Saturday - Friday). The Introduction Discussion (Jan. 22-25) is worth a maximum of 3%, and the Group Discussion (Jan. 22 -29) is worth a maximum of 5% if participation is timely and in accordance with discussion guidelines (available on the course site). Dates of participation and topics of discussion forums are listed in the chart below. SLOs 1-4.

Course Calendar

Assignments and Online Discussions Due Dates and Times (Pacific) Weight 100%
Introduction Discussion  January 22-25 3% 
Group Discussion Forum  January 22 – 29 (Notice of group formation and identification of members must be emailed to the instructor by 10:00 am (PST), January 30) 5% 
Unit 1 Discussion: Origins of Information Privacy and its Impact on Our Lives, SLO 1 January 24 -30 8%
Unit 2 Discussion: Data Privacy Laws, Ethics, and Regulators, SLOs 1-3 January 31 – February 6 8%
Assn 1 Information Environment Description and Annotated bibliography (Group Assn), SLOs 1,3,4 February 6 by 11:59 pm (PST) 20%
Unit 3 Discussion: Information Privacy in Libraries, SLOs 1-4 February 7 - 13 8%
Assn 2 Evaluation of Information Privacy Environment (Group Assn, working with same group), SLOs 1-4 By 10:00 am (PST) February 14, evaluation must be submitted to instructor through assignment link and a copy placed in Discussion 4 forum to share with the class.  30%
Assn 3 Presentation of Evaluation of Information Privacy Environment (Group Assn, working with same group), SLOs 1-4   By 10:00am (PST),  February 14, working link to presentation must be posted in forum for Discussion 4  10% 
Unit 4 Discussion:  Policies and Programs, SLOs 1,3,4 February 14 - 20 8% 

* The above dates are subject to change with advance notice.


  • Late Submissions: All assignments must be successfully submitted by the times (PST) and on the dates they are due. Late submissions will be reduced by 10% per day and will not be accepted more than 2 days after the date due and time. Remember to submit early as computer difficulties can impede your ability to submit in a timely manner. Participation in all discussion forums for credit must be completed during the assigned dates and times.

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. Define information privacy and articulate its fundamental concepts.
  2. Explain the ethical positions of professional library, archival, and information management associations concerning information privacy.
  3. Discuss the origins of information privacy and identify the laws and agencies that protect or enforce information privacy in the United States.
  4. Discuss common information privacy approaches and security controls used in information environments including libraries, hospitals, corporations, and government agencies.

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.


Required Textbooks:

  • Swire, P. P., Ahmad, K., & McQuay, T. (Eds.). (2012). Foundations of information privacy and data protection. International Association of Privacy Professionals. Available through publisher.arrow 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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