INFO 287-11
Seminar in Information Science
Topic: Design Thinking [2 units]
Fall 2017 Syllabus

Dr. Steven J. Bell
E-mail (will be monitoring regularly) (use if there is greater urgency)

E-mail policy: I will regularly be reviewing and responding to e-mail and discussion board posts before 9:00 am and after 7:00 pm EST. I will not be responding to e-mails between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am EST Mon-Fri. Please anticipate more limited and slower response times on weekends. If I am going to be unavailable owing to travel or other reasons, I will provide advance notice so students can anticipate delays in responses.

Other contact information: 215-204-5023 - office phone
Office location: I do not maintain a physical office 
Office Hours: I am available for a virtual meeting or phone conference by appointment. I will be identifying a date/time for a web-based weekly two hour open meeting time.

Syllabus Links
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iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 23 at 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.

This is a 2-credit course which runs from September 13th - November 22nd with a two-week break from October 9th - October 16th.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Design thinking is a process that designers use to identify the nature of a problem and then develop a solution. As librarians design services, resources, workflows, instructional activities and more, they can use design thinking as a process to accomplish their work. This course is an examination of design thinking as a problem finding and solving approach for library services, and how it can be applied by librarians to identify human-centered solutions. Students may not become designers, but they will think more like them.

Course Requirements

NOTE: The instructor will provide a detailed syllabus that will serve as a roadmap to the course, including readings and assignments for each week. Look for this syllabus in Canvas course site.

Course Calendar

Dates, assignments, readings are subject to change

This course will run on a Wednesday-Tuesday schedule. New material will be available on Wednesdays and assignments will be due by 9:00 pm PST on Tuesdays (unless otherwise specified).

Week 1: Wednesday, 9/13/17

Introduction to class & design thinking

Week 2: Wednesday, 9/20/17

Design thinking overview and exploration

Week 3: Wednesday, 9/27/17

Empathic design and data gathering

Week 4: Wednesday, 10/4/17


Course Break - No Class Weeks of 10/11 and 10/18

Week 5: Wednesday, 10/25/17

Design Thinking and UX

Week 6: Wednesday, 11/1/17

Design Challenges

Week 7: Wednesday, 11/8/17

Personas / Service Design 

Week 8: Wednesday, 11/15/17

 Other Perspectives on Design Thinking

Design Thinking and Your Library Practice 

Final Assignment Due by 11/22/17


  • Discussion Board Posts - 15 points (supports CLOs #1-4)
  • Week 1 - Deep Dive Video Reflection Piece - 5 points (supports CLO #1)
  • Week 2 - Design Challenge #1 - 15 points (supports CLO #1-2)
  • Week 3 - Ethnographic Research Challenge - 10 points (supports CLOs #1, 3)
  • Week 4 - Book Cart Redesign - 10 points (supports CLO #3)
  • Week 5 - Design Challenge #2 - 15 points (supports CLO #2)
  • Week 6 - How Might We Statement - 5 points (supports CLO #3)
  • Week 7 - Create a Persona - 10 points (supports CLOs #1-4)
  • Week 8 - Design Thinking Concept Map - 15 points (supports CLOs #1-4)


Grading will be based on 100 possible points.

  • Most assignments are due on Tuesday and must be submitted by 9 pm PST.
  • Late submissions will be reduced by 20% of the total points possible for that assignment.
  • If life circumstances require students to request an extension, please do so several days before the assignment is due or as soon as possible.
  • Communication and interaction throughout the semester via the course site is expected and required.

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 287 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Appraise situations and assess if design thinking is the appropriate process to use for the improvement of library services.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to develop and execute a design challenge.
  3. Describe the multiple stages of the design thinking process to explain how a design thinking challenge operates.
  4. Differentiate between design thinking and user experience but recognize how each complements the other.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 287 supports the following core competencies:

  1. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.


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 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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