INFO 200-10
Information Communities
Summer 2016 Syllabus

Professor Steven J. Tash
Phone: 949-683-7151 (text accepted)
Office Hours: text or email accepted 
Virtual office hours. Telephone and in-person advising by appointment

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning June 6th, 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.

Note: All INFO 200 students receive a complimentary student membership in a professional association, see:

Course Description

Examines information users and the social, cultural, economic, technological, and political forces that shape their information access and use. The different resources and services that information professionals provide for their user communities will also be addressed as well as ethical/legal professional practice. INFO 200 meets SJSU's graduate writing assessment requirement.

Note: iSchool requires that students earn a B in this 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.

Mission of the School
The School of Information (iSchool) at San Jose State University educates professionals and develops leaders who organize, manage and enable the effective use of information and ideas in order to contribute to the well-being of our communities.

Getting Started
iSchool utilizes a content management system called Canvas for class communications, submitting assignments, and grade records. This course will be available on Canvas. 

Weekly class sessions run from Monday through Sunday of the following week). Weekly material and assignments will be visible in Canvas from the beginning of the semester for students' semester planning. Assignments are generally due Sundays at 5pm Pacific Time.

Course Requirements

More detail on each assignment will be provided in Canvas.

Complete INFO 203 Online Learning: Tools and Strategies for Success. This is a mandatory 1 unit course that introduces students to the various e-learning tools used in the iSchool program, including Collaborate.  For more information, see:

Writing Requirement
If the instructor finds that a student's writing is unacceptable, the instructor will require the student to sign up for online writing tutoring. The student will ask the tutor to confirm with the instructor that he or she is attending sessions.

Reflection Blogging
You will use your blog on the Community Blogging platform for School of Information students in this class. Five posts will include substantial content, citations, and reflective thinking. Two posts - an introduction and final reflection - will count as part of participation for 200 (i.e. Blogs 1,7). Blog posts #2-#6 should form the basis of parts of your research paper and are worth 20 points.

Note: You will be writing on the open Web within the community blogging site. Be mindful of balanced, well-articulated arguments, statements and sharing. This assignment also serves as a way for students to find their professional, online voice.

Students will research and explore various topics related to their community group and report their findings on their blog. (CLOs 1, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Context Book Review/Reflective Essay
Students will read one book selected from a list provided at class site, and write a 750-1000 word reflection relating the topic and focus of the book to libraries or information environments, technology and the focus of our course. Publish the report as a post on your blog. Use images, video, or other media to enhance your artifact. More than one student can select the same title. The review should be a minimum of 750 words in length and no more than 1,000 maximum and can also include images and other media to enhance the posting.

Commenting, Engagement and Participation in Course Blogging Community

  • Description:
    Students are expected to interact weekly via the blogging community. This can take the form of commenting on other student blog posts, participation in groups, and status updates. Individual 200 instructors may also require participation in discussion forums within Canvas. 
  • Delivery:
    You will demonstrate active participation and engagement through your blog, commenting on your classmates’ blogs, project work and use of the course site. A minimum of six well-articulated comments (or other participation in groups, etc) is required. 

    Students will also write two blog posts as part of participation and engagement:
    • Blog Post #1: Introduce yourself. Share whatever you'd like about your goals in our school and the profession as well as your background and interests. (Participation)
    • Blog Post #7:  Personal reflection on information communities. What are you taking away from your explorations and research? What will inform your practice as an information professional? (Participation)

    Students should submit their community blogging site activity feed URL at the end of the semester, as well as any other appropriate URLS.   

Information Sources Survey
Using LIS guides, databases, and other relevant professional resources, students will locate and describe two information sources created for and used by the community they are studying. The survey will include a critical description of each source and an assessment its value to the community. Contains Title Page, Abstract page, Introduction, Discussion, and  Reference list. (CLOs 1,5)

Literature Review
Using LIS databases and other pertinent information sources, locate 10 to 12 secondary sources about your information community.  At least 8 of these sources must be scholarly, peer-reviewed studies (books and articles) of your community’s information behavior and needs.  The remaining sources can be professional or popular in orientation but still must provide useful data regarding your information community.  

The literature review (excluding the reference list) should be a minimum of 2,000 words in length and no more than 2,500 maximum, double spaced, and in APA format. (CLOs 1,2,3)

Research Paper
Purpose and Expectations
The goal of this assignment is to give you experience in writing a graduate-level research paper.  You will be required to identify an information community to examine, locate and critically evaluate the scholarly and professional literature relating to that community’s information-seeking behavior and needs, gather additional data about your users’ information practices and preferences from community-based resources, and report on the results.  This assignment will also introduce you to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.), the style manual used in most SLIS classes. You will be graded on the extent of your research, your description and critical analysis of your research findings, the evidence you provide in support of your discussion, the clarity and quality of your writing, and your mastery of APA formatting.  Successful completion of this paper satisfies San José State University’s Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).  It also meets 200’s student learning outcomes #2-#5.  (CLOs 1,2,3,4)


Assignment Points Due Date
5 Reflective Blog Posts 20 points Blog Post #2 due Sunday 6/19 @5pm PT
Blog Post #3 due Sunday 6/26 @5pm PT 
Blog Post #4 due Sunday 7/20 @5pm PT
Blog Post #5 due Sunday 7/24 @5pm PT
Blog Post #6 due Sunday 7/31 @5pm PT
Context Book Review Essay (blog posting at your blog site) 10 points Due  Sunday 7/3 @5pm
Information Sources Survey 10 points Due Sunday 7/10 @5pm PT
Literature Review  10 points Due Sunday 7/24
Research Paper 30 points Due Sunday 8/7
Commenting, Engagement,
and Participation in Course
Blogging Community & INFO 200 Community Blog Postings + Classmate Postings
10 points Blog Post #1 due Sunday 6/12

Blog Post #7 due Blog Post #7 due 8/11 @5pm THURSDAY**

Submit your INFO 200 Community Blog Activity Link at same time as your post#7. Activity link will be used to make sure you commented on classmate and/or community postings.

Assignment Deadlines
Most assignments are due Sundays and must be submitted by 5 pm  (Pacific Time) on the day the assignment is due. Late assignments will be reduced by 20% of point value per day late. Please contact Professor Tash if a medical, family or personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time.


Week Topic/Module Assignment
Information communities and the social construction of knowledge INTRODUCTION

Set up an INFO 200 Community Blog where you can post your required blogs and ALSO comment on classmate and/or INFO 200 community member postings. Blog Post #1 due 6/12 @5pm PST: Introduce yourself. Share whatever you'd like about your goals in our school and the profession as well as your background and interests. (Participation)
6/13 -6/19
Information users & information seeking behavior: theoretical overview Blog Post #2 due 6/19 Sunday @5pm PST: Describe the Information Community you are choosing to explore for the course and the research paper. Utilize Durrance and Fisher's definition and characteristics of Information Communities to describe your choice to the class.
6/20 -6/26
Information seeking behavior and information communities Blog Post #3 due 6/26 Sunday @5pm PST: Report on the information-seeking behavior and information needs of chosen community. Utilize theories covered in the lectures and assigned readings.
6/27 -7/3
Researching information communities   Context Book Review/Reflective Essay Due 7/3 Sunday  @5pm 

7/4 HOL
Connecting information users with information: Research-based information resources and services Information Sources Review Due  7/10 Sunday  @5pm PST
7/11 -7/17

Community-generated information resources and services

User experience

  Literature Review Due 7/17 Sunday @5pm PST
Legal issues in information access<

Ethical issues in information access
Blog Post #4 due 7/20 WEDNEDAY @5pm PST: Summarize one of the peer-reviewed articles relating to your information community you've found. Briefly describe the author's credentials,  the scope of the study, the methodology, and findings of the piece. What insights will inform your literature review and research paper?  


Blog Post #5 due 7/24  @5pmPST: Report on an ethical or legal issue pertaining to your information community. Use the modules on ethical issues and intellectual freedom as resources to define and reflect on the issue.
Emerging technologies

Creation culture
Blog Post#6 due 7/31  Sunday@5pm PST

From your research, report on your community’s use of emerging technologies. How do they use technology to advance the community or share information? This post MUST be media-based: a video, other media, or infographic.
Teaching and learning 
Research Paper Due 8/7 Sunday @5pm PST
8/8 -8/12

Global librarianship

Community informatics

Closure of Course
Blog Post #7 due THURSDAY 8/11 @5pm PST:  Personal reflection on information communities. What are you taking away from your explorations and research? What will inform your practice as an information professional? (Participation grade-INFO 200 Community Blog link to show commenting activity for term)

Distance Learning
Distance education is constantly evolving and an on-going learning process for both students and instructors. Each semester this course is updated to reflect new technology to make distance education more dynamic for the student. Online classes are a two-way learning process between the instructor and the students.


This course satisfies the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

INFO 200 gives students graduate-level writing experience, including a literature review and research paper. Graduate-level academic writing is formal and logical. It involves the avoidance of bias, the inclusion of evidence, and the development of strong arguments. Scholarly writing uses concise, precise, and clear language, is cohesive, and utilizes a logically organized flow of ideas. Successful completion of the research paper satisfies San José State University's Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). If the instructor finds that a student's writing is unacceptable, the instructor will require the student to sign up for online writing tutoring. The student will ask the tutor to confirm with the instructor that he or she is attending sessions.

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 200 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define the concept of community within a framework of information creation, use, and exchange.
  2. Locate, synthesize, and properly cite research and professional literature relating to specific information communities.
  3. Describe the various theories and research devoted to information use and behavior.
  4. Articulate prominent issues related to diversity, special populations, emerging technologies, and ethics within the context of various information communities/environments.
  5. Identify various resources and services that information professionals utilize to serve their communities.
  6. Identify and describe current and emerging technologies that impact the creation, use, and exchange of information within communities.
  7. Engage and exchange across open social platforms via various media: text, audio, video.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 200 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of intellectual freedom within that profession.
  2. C Recognize the diversity (such as cultural and economic) in the clientele and employees of an information organization and be familiar with actions the organization should take to address this diversity.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  4. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  5. L Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the ability to design a research project, and the ability to evaluate and synthesize research literature.
  6. M Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for professional work including collaboration and presentations.


No Textbooks For This Course.

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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