INFO 281-10
Seminar in Contemporary Issues (1 unit)
Topic: Marketing Your LIS Skills in a Networked and Changing World
Spring 2016 Greensheet

Scott R Brown
Office Location: Via email or via phone as needed
Office Hours: Flexible

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore


Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 28th, 6 am PT 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 on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

This course runs from January 28th - February 26th – final assignment due no later than March 4th

Course Description

Course Overview

Please read this entire greensheet so that you have an understanding of this course, the approach, and the assignments.

You will walk away from this course with an approach to effectively making yourself stand out via social tools in a competitive information services and library market, and with a broader understanding of how you might apply your information skills to a variety of positions and settings.

For the final project in this fast-moving, four-week course, you come away with some kind of online presence, whether that be a new or improved LinkedIn profile, a blog, a Twitter feed, or another online tool.

This means that you will be enhancing or creating an online presence for yourself – making yourself more visible professionally online. If you are not comfortable with this idea for any reason, I encourage you not to take this course.

If that idea excites and interests you, please read on.

In university speak: this course provides approaches for identifying and effectively marketing LIS and LIS-related skills across a variety of fields. Students will be encouraged to think flexibly about their skills and career, and will have hands-on experience building their online network and presence. Since this is a 1-unit course, we will only be covering online marketing, but we will integrate concepts of networking and marketing, and how those contribute to a successful career, as we build our online presence.

Though we will look at examples of positions and job prospects across a spectrum of library work, we will focus on examples from professionals in alternative careers, the creation of an online presence that highlights this experience, and how you can bring many skill sets to bear in a world of information.

Purpose of course
The purpose of this course is to give the LIS professional an approach to marketing the broad range of his or her skills effectively for continued career advancement. The rapidly changing job market means that LIS professionals need to think creatively and flexibly about the valuable and unique skills they bring to the marketplace – both to “traditional” library and information positions, and to positions outside of the traditional information world, which is increasingly the world we live in. This course is intended to provide practical tips to help prepare for and navigate employment transition and change successfully, no matter the stage of your career. The course will also touch on the broader topic of managing career change and maintaining personal balance.

Classroom information
We will be using Blackboard Collaborate for all of our "live" class meeting sessions, and I will be recording lectures and demonstrations using Panopto. All sessions will be recorded, but we will have at least one synchronous session as a way to meet each other and form an initial network. We typically schedule another live session later in the course as well, as a way to check in and get together online.  

Initial synchronous Collaborate sessions
I am offering two initial synchronous sessions. You are welcome to attend either of the sessions below, depending upon your preference. You do not have to attend both. If you can, please try to attend one of these - that said, if you absolutely can't, I will be recording the sessions. I will share the same content in each session, but each will be unique based on who attends and questions asked. 

  • Thursday, January 28, 2016, 6 – 7:30pm PT
  • Monday, February 1, 2016, 7:30 - 9pm PT

Again, you are highly encouraged to attend one of these sessions at the scheduled date/time. They will be recorded, so if you absolutely can't make it, you can still listen to the session. However, this is your chance not only to get to know me and your classmates, but also to get your questions on the course and the work answered.

I will send out information on these sessions via email and via course announcement soon after the course opens on Canvas. 

General outline of course content:

  • The current job market: statistics and trends
    • Is there reason to panic?
  • Exploring your own skills
    • Information and beyond
    • Combining your skills – LIS + ?
  • Matching your skills to a variety of positions
  • The online world
    • Advantages of online networking
      • Examples of “success stories”, best practices
    • How to “be” online professionally
    • Online brand
      • LinkedIn
      • Blogs and microblogs
      • Other tools to build your brand
    • Connecting and networking
  • Looking broadly at your career
    • Mapping your direction, passions and interests
    • Ideas for personal learning and adding to your skills
    • Maintaining visibility of your skills
    • Resources

Course Requirements

Blackboard Collaborate
Students are expected to attend (if at all possible) one of the synchronous Collaborate sessions listed above, view recorded Panopto sessions in a timely manner, actively participate in online class discussions and forums, complete reading assignments and submit assignments on due dates. Additionally, we will be doing a lot of work on our online presences outside of the "classroom".

Note again that this is a one-unit class spread over four weeks - it's intensive, and requires your attention throughout.

There are really no “right” and “wrong” answers for the assignments in this course; they will be evaluated instead on demonstrating your learnings, AND whether or not you followed the assignment details. Also, you will be graded on whether or not you seemed to have engaged in the spirit of the assignment – e.g., did you do the minimum necessary to complete it or did you bring reflection, passion, personal introspection and individual engagement to the assignment? Please keep in mind, however, that the ultimate purpose of the assignments and the course is to help you build the skills, mindset and online presence that will advance your own personal brand and your career as an information professional. Assignments are intended to be practical and to build upon each other.

Technology Requirements
You will need a current and fast internet connection like DSL, Cable, or FIOS, for the Collaborate sessions and Panopto recordings, as well as for using the online tools like LinkedIn that we will be addressing. Please see the home computing environment requirements at:

Grading and Assignments
Assignments will be graded according to the following point system:

Skills inventory 20 pts
Elevator pitch 20 pts
Buiding your brand online project (two separate assignments) 50 pts
Participation 10 pts
Total 100 pts

More detail on the following assignments will be given at the first class sessions.

  • Skills inventory (20 points)
    Using a three-tiered approach, we will look at all the skills we bring from our current and past work, experience and knowledge. What are all the skills you bring to the table: as an LIS professional, from your past work and volunteer experience, and from life experience? What do you bring from your past training and development? What will you bring from your future direction?

    This is the most content-intensive assignment of the course, outside of the final project.

The purpose and outcome of this assignment is to provide content for a LinkedIn profile, resumes, cover letters, and other career applications. It will also help you to re-visit your skills, and how we talk about ourselves and our skills.

LINKS TO Course Learning Objective #2

  • Brand assessment (part of your final "Building your brand" points)
    The brand assessment is an informal assessment of your "presence" before you start doing the work on your final project.

There are two parts to this assignment:

    • Personal brand: You will literally ask three different people to list your qualities: personal, professional, values, strengths.
    • Online brand: Where “are” you online? Do you use Facebook? LinkedIn? What do you use personally or professionally? Have you written reviews? Do you have a web page? You will list all of these properties out.

More on this assignment in class.

LINKS TO Course Learning Objectives #2 & #5.

  • Elevator pitch (20 points)
    After you've looked at your skill set, you will work on developing your “elevator pitch”, a 30-second, easy-to-understand synopsis / “short-hand” of how you bring value to your potential employers and to your career.

    LINKS TO Course Learning Objective #5.
  • Building your online brand – final project (50 points)
    Focusing on one online tool - for example, LinkedIn, or a blog - you will begin building or updating your online presence, integrating your skills, passions and interests. You will also begin (or re-invigorate) the process of marketing yourself online through these tools, and building your networks and connections. Note that there are two components - content and connections. This will be expanded upon in class. 

    The purpose of this assignment is to take advantage of and maximise the effectiveness of online tools for making your skills and expertise more visible to potential employers and clients - to help you stand out from other candidates. This is done through both the strength of your network and the quality of the content you share. The grading of this assignment will focus both on your efforts in building your network and in enhancing and driving the quality content you can share as an information professional.

    Part of the grading of this assignment will also include an assessment of your brand before you start - see "Brand assessment" above.

    More information on the details of this assignment will be given at the start of the course.

    LINKS TO Course Learning Objectives #3 & #4
  • Participation (10 points)
    You will be expected to view all Panopto and Collaborate recordings, and to participate in our synchronous online session (if at all possible). We will also have discussion forums, and your participation grade will be based primarily on your interaction in those discussion areas. Your participation will also be based, as mentioned above, partially on your efforts in your assignments.

Course Calendar
(subject to change)

Week beginning: Topic for meeting/recordings Readings, assignments, due dates

Introduction, format, overview of course. Current job market, examples of current and emerging information work, online presence, variety of tools available.

Skills inventory assignment and brand assessment assignment given and explained.

Final brand project explained. 

Synchronous Collaborate session; all students will decide on the online tool they'll be using for their final assignment.

Initial final project assignment: brand assessment

Reading: Dority, Ch. 1 & 2

Online tool choice due no later than midnight, Friday, 2/5/2016 - via discussion group

Start skills inventory!


Skills inventory; mapping your skills at different parts of your career; integrating multiple degrees and training.

Best practices and examples.

Discussion of elevator pitch assignment. 

Techniques and tools: LinkedIn

Skills inventory due by midnight, Friday, 2/12/16 - in Canvas

Both parts of initial brand assessment due by midnight, Friday, 2/12/16 - in Canvas

Reading: Dority, Ch. 6

2/15 Techniques and tools: LinkedIn (continued), Twitter, blogging, other platforms

Elevator pitch due by midnight, Friday, 2/19/16 - in Canvas

Reading: Dority, Ch. 7 & 8

2/22 Looking at your career broadly; interests and passions assessment; mapping your future; integrating online brand and future strategy into your work; online networks for professional development and connection

Final online project due by midnight, Friday, 3/4/16 - in Canvas

Reading: Dority, Ch. 9 & 10

Late Assignments - Important

Due to the very short timeline of this course, and the high enrollment numbers, getting behind in assignments is HIGHLY discouraged.

Assignments that are turned in past the due date WILL only receive half credit, no matter how good they are, and no matter what the excuse.

I will not accept any assignment more than 1 week late, and you will receive 0 points for that assignment.

Accommodations may be made only in exceptional and extreme emergency cases. It is your responsibility to alert me to these situations as soon as possible.

“I’ve been busy” is not a valid excuse. “I didn’t know the due date” is not a valid excuse. “I thought I had posted it” is not a valid excuse. We are all busy adults, including myself, and you have advance notification of all of the course requirements and due dates. Turning in assignments late due to lack of planning is not fair to your fellow students, to me, or to yourself. Please don’t do it.

If you have special accommodations, PLEASE alert me to this NOW, rather than waiting until your first assignment is due.

I hate having to give these kinds of guidelines and warnings, and the great majority of students don’t need them. For those of you who don’t need them, thank you for your hard work! 

Information on Textbooks and Readings
You may already have the required title in your collection, or have it from another LIS course. If you don't, I highly encourage you to purchase and read the book. I am including it as required because it provides the basic philosophy for the work we will be doing. I will tie in some of our assignments to the text - I do encourage you to use the text on your own because it gives you an overview for looking at your career and what you can do with your degree and skills. 


  • Dority, G. K. (2006). Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 159158180X (other editions also available)

We will also have additional readings and resources available throughout the course.

Suggested reading - not required:

  • De Stricker, Ulla & Hurst-Wahl, Jill, The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook: Define and create your success, Chandos Publishing, 2011.
  • Dority, G. Kim, LIS Career Sourcebook: Managing and Maximizing Every Step of Your Career, Libraries Unlimited, 2012. 
  • Fourie, Denise K. and David R. Dowell. Libraries in the Information Age: An Introduction and Career Exploration, 2d ed. Libraries Unlimited, 2009. 
  • Kane, Laura Townsend. Working in the Virtual Stacks: The New Library & Information Science. American Library Association, 2011. 
  • Lawson, Judy; Kroll, Joanna & Kowatch, Kelly, The New Information Professional: Your guide to careers in the digital age, Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010. 
  • Shontz, Priscilla K. and Richard Murray, eds. A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science. Libraries Unlimited, 2007. 
  • Singer Gordon, Rachel, What’s the Alternative? Career options for librarians and info pros, Information Today, 2008.

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

INFO 281 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the current job market for information professionals, no matter where they are in their careers.
  2. Discuss the broad set of skills and interests that LIS professionals bring to the marketplace.
  3. Use online networking and career tools to connect with potential employers, recruiters, customers, and clients.
  4. Raise the visibility of their online profile and professional skills.
  5. Develop a broad and flexible perspective on their own careers.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  2. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.


Required Textbooks:

  • Dority, G. K. (2006). Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 159158180X. 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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