INFO 246-15
Information Architecture
Spring 2017 Syllabus

Dr. Virginia Tucker
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Office Hours: Please contact me via email or Blackboard IM. 


Syllabus Links
Competencies 
Prerequisites
Textbooks
CLOs
Resources
Canvas Tutorials
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning Thursday, January 26th, 6am 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. Be sure to logon to the Canvas site by the second day of the semester and begin coursework.

Orientation seminar: A course orientation seminar will be held via Collaborate on Saturday, January 28, 10-11am PT. Participation is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Logon information will be on the course site.

Project seminar: Students will participate in a mandatory synchronous seminar via Collaborate during which they give short presentations; two available dates are listed on the Class Schedule page. See further information below.

Course Description

INFO 246 Information Architecture covers core concepts and methods for designing knowledge structures for the Web environment. Students will design and develop information structures and create project documents for the design lifecycle, including proposal, user research, prototyping, and communicating with stakeholders. 

This course prepares students with the knowledge and skills needed in the information architecture and user-centered design professions. Students will design and develop user-centered knowledge structures for the Web environment and create project documents for the stages of planning, designing, prototyping, and informing stakeholders about a content-rich product. Core topics are: problems addressed by effective IA; how to design for findability and understanding; user research; best practices of information architects; methods for organizing, labelling, and structuring navigation systems; creating client documents and deliverables for IA projects.

Course Requirements

General Requirements

  • Keep up with assigned readings and recordings, complete assignments to the best of your ability, and engage thoughtfully in the discussions.
  • Check the course site daily for announcements and discussion posts.
  • Submit all assignments by the due date. Late assignments are not accepted except in cases of serious sudden illness or family emergency.

Assignments

  • Website Critique (15% of course grade)
    Students evaluate an existing website using IA best practices and principles as criteria, then submit a written summary and summarize findings in small-group discussion. Supports CLOs 1, 3, and Competencies G, J, N. 
     
  • Project Proposal (15% of course grade)
    The Project Proposal is the initial phase of the main course project assignment. Students work with a partner on the course Project and proposal. Supports CLOs 1, 5, and Competencies G, H, M. 
     
  • Project Seminar Participation (10% of course grade)
    Students present on their projects in a seminar setting (small groups of colleagues in the class), giving an overview of the project, the preliminary recommendations, and eliciting feedback to improve the final deliverables. Students work with a partner on the course Project and presentation, with the option to work solo. Supports CLO 5 and Competency M. 
     
  • Project Report (50% of course grade)
    The project report has 8 to 10 components, ranging from the project objectives and content inventory, user personas and scenarios, to the site model, recommendations, and executive summary. Students work with a partner on the course Project, with the option available to work solo. Supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4, and Competencies G, H, J, M, and N
     
  • Discussion Participation (10% of course grade)
    Participation in discussions is an important component of the course. Posts need not be lengthy but must be thoughtful, meaningful, and constructive.  Supports CLOs 1, 3, 5, and Competencies G, J, M.

Required Textbooks
Be sure to purchase correct editions of the textbooks, described below. Readings in addition to the required textbooks will be available on the course site.

Course Topics

Part I:   IA Fundamentals

 1

Course Introduction

  • Information architecture: core topics
  • Information architects: roles and settings
  • Overview of course objectives and projects
 2

Solving problems with IA

  • IA design for finding
  • IA design for understanding
 3

IA design principles Part 1: Understanding content

  • Organizing, labelling/metadata, structuring
  • Content inventory
  • More about metadata for IA
 4

IA design principles Part 2: Understanding users

  • UX and usability heuristics (nutshell versions)
  • Information seeking behaviors in Web environment
  • Problems of having too much choice

Part II:   Doing IA

 5

IA Design processes

  • Product lifecycle
  • Overview of team strategies
  • Overview of research strategies
 6

IA design documentation

  • Scoping
  • Stakeholders
  • Deliverables
 7

Designing for users

  • Information needs & behaviors
  • Personas
  • Scenarios & flow designs; storyboarding
 8

User research tools

  • Requirements elicitation
  • Card sort
  • Task analysis / task matrices
 9

Research and design tools

  • Site maps
  • Tools for wireframes
  • Taxonomy management
  • Requirements analysis

Part III:   Communicating IA

 10

Communicating to stakeholders

  • IAs as communicators
  • Project presentations
 11

Communicating within teams

  • Documentation as communication
  • Team communication & dynamics
 12

IA Project management

  • Project management (nutshell version)
  • Team configurations & roles

Course Calendar
A detailed calendar will be available on the course site on the first day of the semester.

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 202other prerequisites may be added depending on content. 

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand and apply best practices in information architecture (IA) for content structuring, organization, labelling, and navigation.
  2. Learn methods for eliciting user requirements and information needs for specific user communities.
  3. Evaluate websites according to principles of effective IA, usability heuristics for content-rich sites, and concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  4. Evaluate and use appropriate tools to create IA design deliverables.
  5. Communicate cogently in IA design deliverables to project stakeholders.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 246 supports the following core competencies:

  1. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a particular clientele.
  2. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  3. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  4. M Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for professional work including collaboration and presentations.
  5. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.

Textbooks

Required Textbooks:

  • Rosenfeld, L., Morville, P., & Arango, J. (2015). Information architecture: For the web and beyond (4th ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media. Available through Amazon: 1491911689arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Unger, R., & Chandler, C. (2012). A project guide to UX design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders. Available through Amazon: 0321815386arrow 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 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).

University Policies

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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