INFO 200-10
Information Communities
Summer 2018 Syllabus

Professor Steven J. Tash
Office: TBA
Phone: 949-683-7151 (text accepted)
Office Hours: text or email accepted via phone.
Virtual office hours. Telephone and in-person advising by appointment

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available Monday, June 4, 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 course site will open on the first day that the class meets. 

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Note:  All INFO 200 students receive a complimentary student membership in a professional association,  see: Complimentary Student Memberships in Professional Associations (

Course Description

Examines information users and the social, cultural, economic, technological, and political forces that shape their information access and use. The different resources and services that information professionals provide for their user communities will also be addressed as well as ethical/legal professional practice. INFO 200 meets SJSU's graduate writing assessment requirement.

Note: iSchool requires that students earn a B in this 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.

Mission of the School
The School of Information (iSchool) at San Jose State University educates professionals and develops leaders who organize, manage and enable the effective use of information and ideas in order to contribute to the well-being of our communities.

Getting Started
iSchool utilizes a content management system called Canvas for class communications, submitting assignments, and grade records. This course will be available on Canvas. 

Weekly class sessions run from Monday through Sunday of each week. Weekly material and assignments will be visible in Canvas from the beginning of the semester for students' semester planning. Assignments are generally due Sundays at 11:59 pm Pacific Time; HOWEVER THERE ARE A FEW ASSIGNMENTS WITH DIFFERENT DUE DATES DUE TO SUMMER SESSION SCHEDULE.
NOTE: Set your calendars up to consider Pacific Standard Time for due dates as Canvas will consider your assignment late if you submit after time/day set.

Summer Session (June 4-August 10,2018).  Canvas site usually remains open 30 days after close of class so remember to make copies of your work, blog comments, etc. for your portfolios.

Course Requirements

More detail on each assignment will be provided in Canvas.

Complete INFO 203 Online Learning: Tools and Strategies for Success. This is a mandatory 1 unit course that introduces students to the various e-learning tools used in the iSchool program, including Collaborate.  For more information, see:see: Core Courses and Electives (

Writing Requirement
If the instructor finds that a student's writing is unacceptable, the instructor will require the student to sign up for online writing tutoring. The student will ask the tutor to confirm with the instructor that he or she is attending sessions.

Blog Reports
You will use the blog you created in INFO 203 for this class. You will also join a group on the Community Site to share and interact with classmates. Community Site - (CLOs 1, 4, 5, 6, 7).

Context Book Review/Reflective Essay
Students will read one book selected from a list provided in Canvas Course, and write a 750-1000 word reflection relating the topic and focus of the book to libraries or information environments, technology and the focus of our course. Publish the report as a post on your blog AND ALSO to Canvas Assignments

Commenting, Engagement and Participation in Course Blogging Community
Students will demonstrate active participation and engagement through their blogs (including introductory and final reflective posts), commenting on classmates' blogs and research into their information community. Students will author seven blog posts of 300 words each minimum. Majority of posts have a guided topic for students to explore. I use a group at the Community Site entitled Professor Steve Tash INFO 200 SUMMER 2018 COMMUNITY.  (

Information Sources Survey
The purpose of this assignment is to introduce you to the types of information sources used by information providers and their communities.  Its goal is to help you to identify and evaluate information sources and determine their appropriate users and uses.   It meets INFO 200’s student learning outcomes #5 and #6.Discussion, and  Reference list. (CLOs 1,5)

Literature Review

A literature review is a critical description of the scholarly writings on a given topic.  Its purpose is to evaluate what has already been written and to identify areas needing further study.  If you were writing a formal research paper, the literature review would also provide background for your own study and demonstrate what contribution your research would make to the field. (CLOs 1,2,3)

Research Paper
Purpose and Expectations

The goal of this assignment is to give you experience in writing a graduate-level research paper.  You will be required to identify an information community to examine, locate and critically evaluate the scholarly and professional literature relating to that community’s information-seeking behavior and needs, gather additional data about your users’ information practices and preferences from community-based resources, and report on the results.  This assignment will also introduce you to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.), the style manual used in most SLIS classes. You will be graded on the extent of your research, your description and critical analysis of your research findings, the evidence you provide in support of your discussion, the clarity and quality of your writing, and your mastery of APA formatting.  Successful completion of this paper satisfies San José State University’s Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). (CLOs 1-5).

Organization and Content

The text of your paper (excluding the title page, abstract, and reference list) should be a minimum of 3,000 words in length and no more than 3,500 maximum.  The reference list should have at least 20 sources, and the formatting should follow APA style. (CLOs 1,2,3,4).


Assignment Points Due Date
5 Reflective Blog Posts 20 points

See Canvas Assignments Page and Canvas Calendar

Context Book Review Essay(blog posting at your blog site) 10 points


Information Sources Survey 10 points  "
Literature Review  10 points  "
Research Paper 30 points  "
Commenting, Engagement,
and Participation in Course
Blogging Community & INFO 200 Community Blog Postings + Classmate Postings
10 points(5 pts each)"


Penalty applies for days late. Please contact Professor Tash if a medical, family or personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time.


Week Topic/Module  Assignment
Week 1
Information communities and the social construction of knowledge


I use a group at the Community Site entitled Professor Steve Tash INFO 200 SUMMER 2018 COMMUNITY.  (Community Site
Blog Post #1 due SUNDAY 6/10 @11:59 pm PST  Introduce yourself. Share whatever you'd like about your goals in our school and the profession as well as your background and interests. (Participation) Use Canvas Assignments for blog 1 to submit your blog URL to instructor for grading and comments from Professor Tash. This means each blog you must submit to group and to your Canvas Assignments Page as well.

Week 2
Information users & information seeking behavior: theoretical overview

  Blog Post #2 due SUNDAY 6/17@11:59 PST: Describe the Information Community you are choosing to explore for the course and the research paper. Utilize Durrance and Fisher's definition and characteristics of Information Communities to describe your choice to the class.


Week 3 
Information seeking behavior and information communities

Blog Post #3 due Sunday 6/24@11:59 pm PST: Report on the information-seeking behavior and information needs of chosen community. Utilize theories covered in the lectures and assigned readings.

Week 4

Holiday July 4

Researching information communities

  Information Sources Survey Due Sunday 7/1 @11:59 pm PST


Week 5
Connecting information users with information: Research-based information resources and services

 Context Book Review/Reflective Essay Due Sunday 7/8@11:59 pm PST (This must be posted at your Blog site using Canvas Assignment Submit your URL)


Week 6 
Community-generated information resources and services

 Blog Post #4 due WEDNESDAY 7/11@11:59 pm PST:  Blog Post #4: Summarize one of the peer-reviewed articles relating to your information community you've found. Briefly describe the author's credentials (i.e. educational background, work experience, research and/or writing history if any shown),  the scope of the study, the methodology, and findings of the piece. What insights will inform your literature review and research paper? Hint: Look their name(s) up in Google, Wikipedia, King Library (Biography Reference Bank, Gale Biography in Content). 


Blog Post #5 due SUNDAY  7/15 @11:59pmPST: Report on an ethical or legal issue pertaining to your information community. Use the modules on ethical issues and intellectual freedom as resources to define and reflect on the issue.


Week 7
User experience AND
Ethical issues in information access 
 Literature Review Due Sunday 7/22 @11:59 pm PST 
Week 8
 Ethical Issues

Blog Post #6 due  WEDNESDAY 7/25 @11:59 pm PST  


Research Paper Due Sunday 7/29@11:59 pm PST

7/30-8/5 Week 9


Legal issues in information access and
Teaching and learning 
  Blog Post #7 due Sunday 8/5/18 @11:59 pm PST  Personal reflection on information communities. What are you taking away from your explorations and research? What will inform your practice as an information professional? (Participation grade-INFO 200 Also submit your INFO 200 Community Blog activity link to show commenting activity for term)


Week 10 (course ends Aug. 10 Friday)

Community informatics

Creation culture

Final Reflections/Course Wrap Up

    SOTES and Course Reflection and Wrapup


Distance Learning

Distance education is constantly evolving and an on-going learning process for both students and instructors. Each semester this course is updated to reflect new technology to make distance education more dynamic for the student. Online classes are a two-way learning process between the instructor and the students.


This course satisfies the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

INFO 200 gives students graduate-level writing experience, including a literature review and research paper. Graduate-level academic writing is formal and logical. It involves the avoidance of bias, the inclusion of evidence, and the development of strong arguments. Scholarly writing uses concise, precise, and clear language, is cohesive, and utilizes a logically organized flow of ideas. Successful completion of the research paper satisfies San José State University's Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). If the instructor finds that a student's writing is unacceptable, the instructor will require the student to sign up for online writing tutoring. The student will ask the tutor to confirm with the instructor that he or she is attending sessions.

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 200 has no prerequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define the concept of community within a framework of information creation, use, and exchange.
  2. Locate, synthesize, and properly cite research and professional literature relating to specific information communities.
  3. Describe the various theories and research devoted to information use and behavior.
  4. Articulate prominent issues related to diversity, special populations, emerging technologies, and ethics within the context of various information communities/environments.
  5. Identify various resources and services that information professionals utilize to serve their communities.
  6. Identify and describe current and emerging technologies that impact the creation, use, and exchange of information within communities.
  7. Engage and exchange across open social platforms via various media: text, audio, video.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 200 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of intellectual freedom within that profession.
  2. C Recognize the diversity (such as cultural and economic) in the clientele and employees of an information organization and be familiar with actions the organization should take to address this diversity.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  4. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  5. L Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the ability to design a research project, and the ability to evaluate and synthesize research literature.
  6. M Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for professional work including collaboration and presentations.
  7. O (for students entering from Spring 2015) identify ways in which information professionals can contribute to the cultural, economic, educational, and social well-being of our global communities.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • American Psychological Association (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) Chicago: American Psychological Association. Available through Amazon: 1433805618. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hirsh, S. (2018). Information services today: An introduction (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Available through Amazon: 1538103001arrow 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: 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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