MARA 284-10 (1 Unit)
Seminar in Archives & Records Management
Topic: Ethics for Archivists and Records and Information Management Professionals
Summer 2018 Syllabus

Dr. Norman Mooradian
Other contact information:
Office location: Claremont, California
Office Hours: By appointment

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: This course will be available beginning July 5, 2018, at 6 am PDT. This course is worth 1 unit and runs from July 5, 2018, through August 3, 2017.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course covers the basic tenets of ethical and professional conduct and their relation to the principles of ethics.  It explains the importance of the ethical management of information to society and to the information professions.

The course will build upon widely accepted ethical principles used in diverse professional fields such as accounting, healthcare, law, and corporate governance, applying them to the issues and context of records and information management.

The course will explore ethical issues such as conflicts of interest, intellectual property, management ethics, whistleblowing and leaking, and information privacy. The ethical implications of managing digital content and electronic records will be addressed.  Current technological platforms such as enterprise content management will be discussed, as will emerging technologies such as big data

Course Requirements


Discussion Posts

  • Each week, one or two discussion prompts will be posted. The first and last week one will be posted. The middle three weeks two will be posted.
  • Each student will write a response to the post(s).
  • The response should be approximately three (3) paragraphs.
  • It will be evaluated based clarity of writing and relevance to the question.


  • Each week, students will have an opportunity to participate in the class via replies to posts, questions posted on the general discussion board, and communications initiated with the instructor, including the use of office hours.
  • Replying to other student’s posts is expected each week and will be the main basis for according participation points, but other means of participating will count as well.
  • A guideline for discussion participation is as follows:
  • For each prompt, provide a thoughtful, constructive reply to at least one student. The reply can be in the form of clarification, question, critical observation, expansion, etc.
  • Evaluation will of student posts will be flexible and open to different styles. For example, two well written, thoughtful replies will be sufficient for the available points, but multiple, brief responses to other students’ posts and replies will also be sufficient.
  • In the end, engagement in the course, expressed in different ways, will be acknowledged and accorded full points, while lack of engagement will be noted and accorded fewer points.

Writing Pieces

  • A writing piece will be required for each week.
  • It will be one to two pages (single space, normal font).
  • It will consist of an explanation, analysis, argument in response to a prompt.
  • The writing piece will be submitted to the instructor and returned to the student with comments.
  • It will be evaluated based clarity of writing, logical organization, relevance to the question, and effectiveness in explaining or supporting its central ideas.


  • At the end of the course, you will write a brief reflection describing something learned in the course that you find applicable or relevant to your work, career plans, etc.
  • It can be informal and does not have to be more than a few paragraphs.


Course Calendar 

Note: Supplementary readings will be posted on Canvas.

 Module 1: Wed 7/5 to Sunday 7/8
Topics  Introduction to RIM Ethics

 RIM Ethics: Introduction; Chapter 1 on Ethical Principles;

The Menlo Report

 Assignments Discussion Post: Write Introduction; describe your vision of how knowledge RIM ethics will be integrated into your career plans/path
   Participation: Replies to posts
  Module 2: Monday 7/9 to Sunday 7/14
 Topics  Professional Ethics, Conflicts of Interest, Confidentiality

RIM Ethics: Chapter 3 on Professional Ethics

Codes of Ethics and Professional Practice (ARMA GARP; ICRM; SAA)

Case study: Archives and Memory (Danielson)

Assignments   Discussion Post 1
   Discussion Post 2
   Participation: Replies to posts
   Writing Piece
  Module 3: Monday 7/16 to Sunday 7/21
 Topics  Information Privacy
Readings  RIM Ethics: Chapter 6 on Information Privacy;

Legal Materials; e.g. OECD Principles, GAPP framework; selections from: Privacy Act; HIPAA; GDPR)

Closing the Gap (article on ECM and Privacy by Design)

Assignments  Discussion Post 1
  Discussion Post 2
  Participation: Replies to posts 
  Writing Piece 
  Module 4: Monday  7/23 to Sunday 7/29
Topics Intellectual Property (copyright & trade secrets)

 RIM Ethics: Chapter 4 on Management Ethics

Legal Materials: Federal Statutes; e.g., Copyright Act; Uniform Trade Secrets Act

 Assignments Discussion Post 1
  Discussion Post 2
  Participation: Replies to Posts 
  Writing Piece
  Module 5: Monday  7/30 to Friday 8/3
Topics  Whistleblowing & Information Leaks
Readings   RIM Ethics: Chapter 5 on Whistleblowing and Information Leaks

Selected Case Study

Assignments   Discussion Post
  Participation: Replies to posts 
  Writing Piece






Course Learning Outcomes

Discussion Posts










Writing pieces










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

MARA 284 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Analyze the ethical dimensions of their profession and systematically connect the ethical concepts, principles, codes of ethics, issues and methods of reasoning that form the basis of professional ethics for information professionals.
  2. Competently articulate, explain, and organize the reasons for their ethical decision-making and policy positions within an institutional context.
  3. Identify ethical and legal foundations of compliance frameworks and policies.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

MARA 284 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Articulate the ethics and values of archivists, records managers, and/or information professionals and discuss their role in social memory and organizational accountability.
  2. G Describe the legal requirements and ethical principles involved in managing physical and digital information assets and the information professional#s role in institutional compliance and risk management.


Required Textbooks:

  • Mooradian, N. (2018). Ethics for records and information management. ALA. Available as Free eBook through King Libraryarrow 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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