Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines
Topic: Legal Resources
Spring 2017 Greensheet
Marc Lampson, MLIS, JD
Emergencies: (206) 898-1389 (leave message if necessary)
Office Location: Anytime by email (email@example.com).
Office Hours: Anytime by e-mail; please use firstname.lastname@example.org rather than any internal email system; phone calls between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. only please. I check e-mail frequently, so I’m much more accessible through email.
Canvas Login and Tutorials
Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 26th, 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. Course sites will close on May 31, 2017.
You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.
The first day of class is officially designated as Monday, February 27, 2017. The course will be automatically available to students in the course on that day.
This course will introduce current and aspiring information professionals to the basic legal resources for the federal legal system and the California legal system. The information about the California system should be roughly applicable to other state legal systems as well. The course will cover those resources that are likely to be of interest to the general public, particularly people without a legal background who might visit Public Libraries and Public Law Libraries.
Special attention is given to introducing course participants to legal materials that particularly pertain to the intersection of law and information such as privacy laws, copyright, libraries and social justice, the First Amendment's right to access information, etc.
The course is designed for people with little or no initial familiarity with legal resources, but who have an interest in learning about these resources to be able to help other people – for instance, library patrons - find legal information.
The emphasis will be on answering legal resource questions that one is likely to receive at a reference desk in a public library.
As noted above, students will be automatically enrolled in the court for the first day of class on Monday, February 27, 2017.
The assignments for this course are:
- Quizzes & Research Assignments (200 points) Various quizzes will pertain to Course Learning Objectives 1-7, depending on the topic of the week and the quiz.
The student will take five online, timed quizzes worth 40 points each. These quizzes will be posted approximately every other week during the summer session. While quizzes may be somewhat unusual in a graduate course, they are designed with a specific purpose in mind – answering reference questions – and will involve not just rote learning but actual hands-on familiarity with legal resources.
The idea of the "quiz" is to represent as well as possible in the print format the type of reference question one might receive at a reference desk and for which one would be expected to have a relatively "ready" answer. The quizzes will also be somewhat unusual in that to answer many of the quiz questions, will have to first complete a research assignment, sometimes in a "brick and mortar" law library, but often online. The quizzes, in conjunction with the corresponding research assignment, in the aggregate will be worth 200 points.
- Discussion Boards (50 points) Various discussion boards will pertain to Course Learning Objectives 1 - 7, depending on the topic assigned for the week or weeks involved and the topic of the Board.
Generally every week I will post a new topic for a new discussion board that focuses on the topic for the upcoming week or two, e.g., secondary sources, statutes, etc. I will generally pose a question or two to get the discussion rolling and then I’ll "lurk" while students actively participate in the discussion. The questions will not typically have a "right" or "wrong" answer; therefore, students should not expect the instructor to intervene, though I will be present and will participate when it seems appropriate.
Likely Discussion Board Topics:
- Legal Systems
- Free Internet Legal Research – Report other helpful sites; Evaluate sites; evaluate relative merits of "free online sites" to print and pay for view
- Secondary Sources
- Constitutional Law
- Statutory Law
- Case Law
- Regulatory Law
- The Intersection of Law and Information
- Comparative Access for Patrons: Print, Free Online, Pay-for-View DBs
- Free-For-All Discussion on “Legal Research”
- Special Project (50 points) This assignment pertains to Course Learning Objective 8.
Students in the final weeks of the course will work on and then submit a one- or two-page, double-spaced "search strategy" sheet describing a legal topic of their choice and describing how they would advise a patron to research that topic. The due date is May 1, 2017. The project will be graded based on a checklist that I will provide to you when the project is officially "assigned" near the final two weeks.
Points earned for late assignments will be reduced by 10 percent for every 24 hour period between the due date and the submitted date.
Three-hundred (300) points will be available for the course work. The person receiving the highest number of these 300 points will receive an “A,” and the points achieved will be the reference point for all other grades in the course.
Students earning less than the highest number of points achieved, will be graded on a percentage basis in reference to the highest number of points achieved in the course under the standard SJSU SLIS Grading Scale.
In the final grading process, the highest number of points actually earned by a particular student in the course will be taken to be the top of the scale; all other grades will be determined in relation to the highest number of points actually earned.
For instance, if the student earning the highest number of points earned 290 points of the 300 possible, then anyone earning 97% of 290 points (281 points) would receive an A, and so on.
Incompletes will be granted only in rare and extreme emergency situations.
Students who cannot fulfill all the work for a course due to a medical or family emergency may be assigned an Incomplete only if arrangements are made with the instructor.
Please see the University policy on incompletes:
Many texts on legal research and the legal system are in print. Any one of them published in the past 5 years would probably provide additional help but I do not recommend that you spend lots of money on any other text other than the two listed with this Greensheet/syllabus.
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 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Describe the federal and state governmental units that make primary law and the types of primary law they make.
- Identify the major types of primary law and secondary authority for both federal and state jurisdictions.
- Locate the nearest brick-and-mortar law library and find materials in it.
- Identify and describe the relative merits and shortcomings of the major print and online (both "free" and "pay-for-view") legal resources.
- Use print and online sources to find the major types of primary law and secondary authority for both federal and state law.
- Answer questions from patrons about basic legal resources, and direct patrons to the best sources for legal information.
- Develop strategies for defining search terms to use with "finding tools" in print, online, and pay-for-view legal resources.
- Create guides ("pathfinders") for patrons needing legal information.
Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)
INFO 220 supports the following core competencies:
- B Describe and compare organizational settings in which information professionals practice.
- I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
- J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
- Elias, S. (2015). Legal research: How to find and understand the law (17th ed.). Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press. Available through Amazon: 1413321828
- Tucker, V. & Lampson, M. (2010). Finding the Answers to Legal Questions. New York: Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555707181.
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|
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 or Informatics) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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).
Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: http://www.sjsu.edu/gup/syllabusinfo/. Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.
In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.
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