INFO 281-10
Seminar in Contemporary Issues (2 units)
Topic: Marketing Your LIS Skills in a Networked and Changing World
Spring 2017 Syllabus

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

Syllabus Links
iSchool eBookstore


Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 26th, 6 am PDT 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 26th – March 24th - final assignment due no later than March 31st. 

Course Description

Course Overview

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

This course focuses on two main areas: highlighting your skills and expertise online, and exploring the changing world of library and information careers, specifically alternative careers in library and information work. 

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, eight-week course, you come away with some kind of online presence - typically a new or improved LinkedIn profile, a blog, or a Twitter feed.

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

If, instead, 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 2-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 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.

We will also be looking at "alternative careers" - what the library and information landscape looks like these days, and how you bring unique and valuable skills to the job market. 

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 work 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. These synchronous sessions are 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.

  • Thursday, January 26, 2017, 6 – 7:30pm PT
  • Monday, January 30, 2017, 7:30 - 9pm PT

Again, you are highly encouraged to attend one of these sessions at the scheduled date/time. 

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

Some highlights of course content:

  • The current job market: statistics and trends
  • The online world and your online "brand"
    • How to “be” online professionally
    • Connecting and networking
  • Exploring your own skills
    • Information skills and transferable skills
    Matching your skills to a variety of positions
  • Developing an "alternative careers" job strategy
  • Looking broadly at your career

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 for each module 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 two-unit class spread over eight 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 details and spirit of the assignments. Did you do the minimum necessary to complete the assignments, 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
Brand assessment 10 pts
Elevator pitch 20 pts
Buiding your brand online project (two separate assignments) 40 pts
Participation 10 pts
Total 100 pts

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

  • Skills inventory (20 points)
    Using a three-tiered approach - roles, skills, and details of those skills - 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? 

    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 detailed content that you can use for a LinkedIn profile, resumes, cover letters, and other career applications. The more you put into the detail of this assignment, the more content you will have to work with. The assignment will also give you the opportunity to re-visit your skills, and how we talk about ourselves and our skills.

     Course Learning Objective #2
  • Brand assessment (10 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. From that, you will write a reflection on what you learned, and what surprised you. 
    • 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 the synchronous class.

     Course Learning Objectives #2 & #5.

  • Elevator pitch (20 points)
    After you've looked at your skill set and your assessments, you will work on developing your “elevator pitch”, a 10-15-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 (40 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. I encourage you to build your connections as part of this class as well.

    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.

    More information on the details of this assignment will be given at the synchronous session.

    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 and Topics
(please note that the topics and timing are subject to change)

Week beginning: Topic for meeting/recordings Assignments, due dates, readings

Introductions, format, and overview of course. Assignments explained.

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

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

Online tool choice due no later than midnight, Friday, 2/3/17 - via Canvas survey

Start skills inventory!

Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 1



Social tools for professional use 

Skills inventory in more depth

Mapping your skills at different parts of your career; integrating multiple experiences, transferable skills.


Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 2


Techniques and tools: LinkedIn

Skills inventory due by midnight, Friday, 2/17/17 - in Canvas

Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 6


Techniques and tools: Twitter and blogs

Discussion of elevator pitch assignment. 

Both parts of initial brand assessment due by midnight, Friday, 2/24/17 - in Canvas

Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 7 


Content strategy for LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter

Keywords, mapping your profile/resume to the job(s) you want

Elevator pitch due by midnight, Friday, 3/3/17 - in Canvas

Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 8

3/6 The spectrum of alternative careers; developing a strategy to find information work

Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 9

3/13 Networking, online and otherwise

Reading: As assigned and outlined in reading modules in Canvas; optional: Dority, Ch. 10

3/20 Looking at your career broadly; interests and passions; online networks for professional development and connection

Final online project due by midnight, Friday, 3/31/17 - in Canvas

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 really dislike 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 recommended 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 because it provides the basic philosophy for the work we will be doing. 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.


Recommended 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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 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: 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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