INFO 200-18
Information Communities
Fall 2018 Syllabus

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

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 21, 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 class 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 Wednesday through Tuesday 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 TUESDAYS at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. NOTE: Set your calendars up to consider Pacific Time for due dates as Canvas will consider your assignment late if you submit after time/day set.

Fall Session (August 21-December 10, 2018).  Canvas site usually remains open 30 days after the 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 at our Canvas course site.

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.  For more information, see Core Courses and Electives (

NOTE: Please memorize and/or write down code given to you to set up a blog for INFO 203. The same code will be used in INFO 200 Blog development and registration.

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.

The iSchool offers the services of a writing tutor who can work with students on issues such as grammar and style. Check out the link below:
Writing tutoring (

There is also a page listing "Writing Resources for Students"
A foundation of good academic writing is understanding how to read this type of material. See our collection of  Academic Reading Resources, including a paper by our own Anthony Bernier, "On Reading Academic Literature (Strategically)."  

Blog Reports
Students will research and explore various topics related to their community group and report their findings on their blog.  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.  Professor Tash Community Group For INFO 200 Fall 2018 (CLOs 1, 4, 567).

In order for me as your instructor to read, issue comments and grade each blog post I must have you submit your blog URL at the Canvas Assignment page site as well. Yes, this means you MUST submit your blog posts TWICE(once at Canvas Assignments and again at Community Site).

I expect at least a 300-word minimum for every blog report post. ALL BLOG POSTS except 1 & 7 should include a media image/graphic, active web link, and/or other social media app link (i.e. YouTube Video, Piktochart, Vennegram, etc.).

Context Book Review/Reflective Essay
Students will read one book selected from a list provided @canvas course site, 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. MUST Use images, video, or other media to enhance your artifact. More than one student can select the same title.   This will be posted as a BLOG entry @your student blog site within Canvas Assignment & at our course community blog site.

Commenting, Engagement and Participation in Course Blogging Community

Students will demonstrate active participation and engagement through their blogs (including introductory and final reflective posts (i.e. blogs 1 & 2), commenting on classmates' blogs. A minimum of six well-articulated classmate comments is required. Once you join the class community site, your classmate comments will show up on an activity link that you will submit at end of term WITH your blog 7.

I use a group at the   Professor Tash Community Group For INFO 200 Fall 2018  Note: You are REQUIRED to join this group (click on the blue button that says "join group").  Submit your Blog URL here also. You are to post ALL your blog postings HERE AS WELL as AT CANVAS ASSIGNMENT page.

Information Sources Survey

Using the search strategies covered in units 5 and 6, locate and describe one research-based and one community-based information source that would be of interest or value to your chosen information community.  The review should be 4 to 5 pages in length min., double-spaced, and in APA format. In addition to your text, your review must Contain a Title Page and an Abstract page. The body should contain an Introduction, Discussion, and  Reference list. (CLOs 1,5)

Literature Review
Using LIS databases and other pertinent information sources, locate 10 to 12 secondary sources about your information community.  At least 8 of these sources must be scholarly, peer-reviewed studies (books and articles) of your community’s information behavior and needs.  The remaining sources can be professional or popular in orientation but still must provide useful data regarding your information community.  

The literature review (excluding the reference list) should be a minimum of 2,000 words in length and no more than 2,500 maximum, double-spaced, and in APA format. The literature review will assess the current research on the community by identifying the most influential authors and publications, major theories and findings, and continuing gaps but keep in mind you are looking for research pertaining to your community's information behavior and needs. (CLOs 1,2,3)

Research Paper
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). 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(See Canvas Assignments Page)
5 Reflective Blog Posts 20 points

Blog Post #2 due 9/11  @11:59 pm PST
Blog Post #3 due 10/2   @11:59 pm PST
Blog Post #4 due 10/23    @11:59 pm PST

Blog Post #5 due   10/30  @11:59 pm PST
Blog Post #6 due 11/20@11:59 pm PST

Context Book Review Essay(blog posting at your blog site) 10 points Due  9/25  @11:59 pm PST

Information Sources Survey



10 points Due 10/9 @11:59 pm PST


Literature Review  20 points Due 11/6   @11: 59 pm PST
Research Paper 30 points Due 11/27 @11: 59 pm PST
Commenting, Engagement,
and Participation in Course
Blogging Community & INFO 200 Community Blog Postings + Classmate Postings
10 points(5 pts each)

Blog Post #1 due 8/28 @11:59pm PST
Blog Post #7 due 12/4@11:59 pm PST-Also submit your INFO 200 Community Blog Activity Link at same time as your post#7. Activity link will be used to make sure you commented on classmate and/or community postings. submit to CANVAS AND Community Blog site.


Assignment Deadlines
Most assignments are due Tuesday and must be submitted by 11:59 pm  (Pacific Standard Time) on the day the assignment is due. Late assignments will be reduced by 20% of point value per day late. Please contact Professor Tash if a medical, family or personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time. Make sure you set the time zone on Canvas calendar assignment due dates.


Week 15: November 28-December 

Week 16: December 5-10

Classes end December 10

Final Reflections/

Course Wrap Up

Blog Post #7 due Tuesday, December 4 @11:59 pm PT: 

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: Also submit your INFO 200 Community Blog activity link to show commenting activity for the term)

 SOTES and Review

Week Topic/Module  Assignment

 Week 1
Using a Wednesday to Tuesday week.

Fall semester begins August 21.

Week 1: August 21-28

Information communities and the social construction of knowledge


I use a group at the community site titled  Professor Tash Community Group For INFO 200 Fall 2018 - Read and comment at community site on classmate blog postings and/or community postings during the entire semester.


Blog Post #1 due Tuesday, August 28 @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 the instructor for grading and comments from Prof.Tash. This means each blog you must submit to the group and to your Canvas Assignments Page as well.


 Week 2: August 29-September 4

Labor Day holiday on September 3

Information users & information seeking behavior: theoretical overview  
Week 3: September 5-11  Information seeking behavior and information communities    Blog Post #2 due Tuesday, September 11 @11:59 PT:

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 4: September 12-18 Researching information communities


 Week 5: September 19-25 Connecting information users with information: Research-based information resources and services

Context Book Review/Reflective Essay due Tuesday, September 25 @11:59 PT

(This must be posted at BOTH your Blog site using Canvas Assignment Submit your URL) & at our course community blog site.

Get started at beginning of the course to select a book and obtain via a local library (use WorldCat) or via SJSU Library interlibrary loan.

 Week 6: September 26-October 2  Community-generated information resources and services  Blog Post #3 due Tuesday, October 2 @11:59 pm PT:

Report on the information-seeking behavior and information needs of the chosen community. Utilize theories covered in the lectures and assigned readings.

 Week 7: October 3-9 User experience

 Information Sources Survey Due Tuesday, October 9 @11:59 pm PT

 Week 8: October 10-16 

Ethical issues in information access





Week 9: October 17-23 

Legal issues in information access Blog Post #4 due Tuesday, October 23 @11:59 pm PT:  

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).

Week 10: October 24-30

Information and Misinformation

Blog Post #5 due Tuesday, October 30 @11:59 pm PT:

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 11:

October 31-November 6

Global librarianship  Literature Review Due Tuesday, November 6 @11:59 pm PT

Week 12: November 7-13

Veterans Day holiday on November 12


Teaching and learning  
 Week 13: November 14-20  Emerging technologies

Blog Post #6 due Tuesday, November 20 @11:59 pm PT:

Choose ONE of the following:

Option 1: Create a media-based artifact (infographic, video, audio, etc) from your research and explorations of your community’s use of emerging technologies. How do they use technology to advance the community or share information? Be as creative as you’d like!

or Option 2: From your exploration of the literature and the resources included in the Global Librarianship Module, craft a blog post related to the issues your information community may face on an international scale. Consider, for example, how similar info communities to yours seek and create information in the context of their culture. Try to discover whether your international counterparts bring social, gender, environmental and economic justice to light. See if you can share your discoveries and observations in hopes that your experience can prepare and even educate fellow information professionals. 

Week 14: November 21-27

Thanksgiving holiday November 22-23 

Expanding Roles

 Term Paper Due Tuesday, November 27 @11:59 pm PT

Week 15: November 28-December 

Final Reflections

Blog Post #7 due Tuesday, December 4 @11:59 pm PT: 

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: Also submit your INFO 200 Community Blog activity link to show commenting activity for the term)

Week 16: December 5-10

Classes end December 10

Course Wrap Up


 SOTES and Review

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 prequisite 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.) American Psychological Association. Available through Amazon: 1433805618. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hirsh, S. (Ed.) (2018). Information services today: An introduction (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. 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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