INFO 210-11
Reference and Information Services
Summer 2016 Syllabus

Dr. Johanna Tunon
E-mail -- For class-related communications, use the Canvas e-mail.
Home phone: (954) 249-1449
Office location: Richmond, VA
Office hours: By appointment by phone or via Collaborate. NOTE:  You are welcome to call before 9 pm ET.

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: Early birds can e-mail me if you would like the list of video lecture links for the class before the course starts.

Course Description

Catalog Description: A process-oriented examination of how information professionals answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.

Full Description: This course provides an overview of reference and information services. We will be examining and evaluating key information sources in a variety of formats and becoming familiar with professional resources. Because the field of librarianship is changing rapidly, we will be exploring various methods and models for delivering information and examining how emerging trends as well as ways to use new ideas and skills that are impacting the future of reference services and access to information.

Course Requirements

  • Assignment 1 (21%)
    Mini activities
  • Assignment 2 (9%)
    Reference transaction script and analysis
  • Assignment 3 (30%)
    Discussion topics/activities + sharing post
  • Assignment 4 - (20%)
    Choose one of the project options or propose an alternative project of your own.
  • Assignment 5 (20%)
    Choose one of the project options or propose an alternative project of your own.

Course Calendar

Week Overview of Class Readings, Activities, and Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1
  • Post introductions
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 1, 2, and 3
  • Week 1 Overview
  • D1 -- Week 1 discussion topic (3%)
  • M1 -- mini activity (3%)
June 12
Wk 2
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 6, 13, and 21
  • Week 2 Overview
  • D2--  Week 2 discussion topic (3%)
  • A2 -- transcript (9%)
June 19
Wk 3
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 4, 5, and 7
  • Week 3 Overview
  • D3 -- Week 3 discussion topic (3%)
  • M3 -- mini activity (3%)
June 26
Wk 4
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 8 and 17
  • Week 4 Overview
  • D4 --  Week 4 discussion topic (3%) 
  • M4 -- mini activity (3%)
July 3
Wk 5
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 9, 10, and 19
  • Week 5 Overview
  • D5 -- Week 5 discussion topic (3%)
  • A4 -- Assignment 4 (20%)
** No class on July 4
July 10
Wk 6
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 11, 12, and 16
  • Week 6 Overview
  • D6 -- Week 6 discussion topic (3%)
  • M6 -- mini activity (3%)
July 17
Wk 7
  • Readings and videos for Chapters 14, 15, and 20
  • Week 7 Overview
  • D7 -- Week 7 discussion topic (3%)
  • M7 -- mini activity (3%)
July 24
Wk 8
  • Readings and video for Chapter 22
  • Week 8 Overview
  • D8 -- Week 8 discussion topic (3%)
  • A5 -- Assignment 5 (20%)
July 31
Wk 9
  • Reading and video for Chapter 18
  • Week 9 Overview
  • D9 -- Week 9 discussion topic (3%)
  • M9 -- mini activity (3%)
Aug. 7
Wk 10
  •  Week 10 Overview
  • M10--  mini activity (3%)
  • Sharing post (3%) 
    [This can be posted at any time during the semester.]

Aug. 12
  • Course ends Aug. 12th:
    • All work must be submitted by midnight of the last day of class !
    • The course content will be available for a couple of additional weeks.

*Due dates are subject to change with fair notice. 

Description of Assignments and Grading Criteria
NOTE: If you have some special circumstance that makes completion of some activities difficult, contact me about possible alternative activities.

  • Assignment 1: Mini Activities 21% (3% X 7 weeks)
    In seven out of the ten weeks of class, mini activities will have you actually look for appropriate sources for "information quest" questions, try search strategies, or examine specific types of resources. See my Panopto video and the scoring rubric for details on the mini activities and the grading criteria.
    NOTE: If you are working in a special library setting and have a suggestion for an alternative assignment that would give you comparable skills using reference sources in a specific type of library setting, contact me.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcome addressed: 
      • CLO2: Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.

  • Assignment 2: Reference Transaction Script and Analysis (9%)
    Provide a written script for a short reference transaction that addresses some kind of ethical question. It can be on something like a medical or legal topic or a reader's advisory question specifically asked by a child: Just be sure to provide an analysis of the reference transaction as well as a discussion of ethical considerations. Your scenario does not need to be long, but it should illustrate the RUSA or principals of a good reference interview using the RUSA Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference Information Service Providers and/or RUSA's Health and Medical Reference Guidelines and/or Guidelines for Business Information  and/or the YALSA Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth. See the Panopto video and the scoring rubric for details for Assignment 2 and the grading criteria.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcome addressed:
      • CLO3: Conduct effective reference interviews.
    • NOTE: You may want to consider using this assignment as evidence for Core Competency I or also possibly Core Competency A as evidence of ethics and foundational principles of librarians and information professionals.
  • Assignment 3: 
    Discussion Topics
     (9 X 3%) + Sharing Posting (3%) = 30%
    Discussion topics frequently require you to visit a library or use a library service. These weekly activities require more than posting your own personal opinions on the topic under discussion.  Address the posted discussion questions using substantive content by utilizing, analyzing, and synthesizing what you learned in the textbook, class readings, etc.
  • Post one sharing posting in the Sharing discussion forum over the course of the ten weeks of class. The sharing postings can be anything that is library related that you think will be of interest to the class.  For example, you can do anything from sharing something interesting that happened at work or when you attended a conference to sharing a library joke or offering job hunting tips. The sharing post counts for 3% of the total discussion grade.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcomes addressed: 
      • CLO4: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
      • CL05: Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
      • CLO6: Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
      • CLO7: Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction.
      • CLO8: Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.
    • NOTE: A number of the topics for the weekly discussions may serve as evidence to support various core competencies for your e-portfolio.

  • Assignment 4 (20%) See project options listed below.
  • Assignment 5 (20%) See project options listed below.
  • Project Options for Assignments 4 and 5
    Choose a topics for your projects for Assignments 4 and 5 from the list of options provided in the Assignment folder. Options include:
    • Shadow a reference librarian at the reference desk or while doing some other reference-related work such as instruction, outreach, promoting digital literacy, and marketing. Describe the setting, and write a 7+ page reflection paper about what you learned and what future directions you see for reference services.
    • Interview a reference department manager, liaison librarian, or some other kind of reference librarian, and write a 7+ page reflection paper about what you learned and what future directions you see for reference services.
    • Create an instructional or training tutorial. Describe the scope or purpose, and write a short reflection paper about the instructional process and technology used and what you learned,
    • Create an action plan. Describe the scope or purpose, outline the plan, and write a short reflection paper about what you learned.
    • Create some kind of social media or other technology-related project that promotes reference resources. Describe the scope or purpose of the project, provide the project or a link to the project, and write a short reflection paper that discusses the techniques and technology used and what you learned.
    • Create a pathfinder/subject guide/LibGuide on a specific topic to be used by patrons or library staff. Describe the scope or purpose, provide the document or a link to the guide, and write a short reflection paper about the criteria for your selections and what you learned.
    • Create an annotated bibliography of 25 core reference resources that you think your library cannot be done without. Clearly describe the library setting, and write a short reflection paper about the selection criteria used, justification for inclusion for each item, and what you learned.
    • Other reference-related projects can also be proposed, but alternative options must have pre-approval to be sure that the proposed options align with the course learning objectives.
  • See the Assignment folder for a more detailed description of the alternative assignment as well as the Panopto video, any exemplars, and the scoring rubrics with the grading criteria for alternative project options.
  • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcome addressed:
    • CLO1: Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
    • CLO4: Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
    • CL05: Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
    • CLO6: Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
    • CLO7: Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction

Course Grading

  • All work is due by the date listed, but there is a two-day no-questions-asked grace period for all assignments. If you are unable to complete the work by the end of the grace period, there is a 10% penalty unless you contact me and make special arrangements for an extension.  
  • Check the grading criteria provided in the scoring rubrics before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all of the elements that should be included in the assignments. 
  • The details of the assignments, grading criteria, and grading rubrics are subject to minor adjustments with fair notice. 
  • With the exception of the standard two-day, no-questions-asked grace period, no work will be accepted after the end of the course unless you have made arrangements that meet the university criteria and have been approved by me in writing or by email. 

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 210 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 210 supports the following core competencies:

  1. INFO 210 has no supported core competencies defined in the database.


Required Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555708595arrow 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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