INFO 204-14
Information Professions
Fall 2019 Syllabus

Dr. Maria Otero-Boisvert

Phone: 630-865-5195
Office Hours:
Virtual office hours by appointment. Always available via email.

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 21, 2019, at 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.

Course Description

As they respond to the information needs of clients and communities, information organizations face complex and exciting challenges. This course will help prepare students to take on these challenges by providing them with an understanding of the organizations and environments in which information professionals work, traditional and emerging professional roles, and core management and leadership theories. This knowledge will help students understand the similarities and differences amongst information organizations, explore different specializations and career paths, apply professional values to ethical decision-making, and to develop core management and leadership skills. This course prepares students to be active participants in their professional communities and networks and to become collaborative professionals ready to take on management and leadership roles.

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.

Course Requirements

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 INFO 203 Online Learning.

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.

Weekly Schedule and Activities


Textbook Sections

Required Readings



Part I


Information Landscapes


Chapter 1: The Transformative Information Landscape: What It means to be an Information Professional Today

Chapter 2: Libraries, Communities, and Information: Two Centuries of Experience 

Chapter 3: Librarianship: A Continuously Evolving Profession

Chapter 4: Diverse Information Needs

Chapter 5: Diversity, Equity of Access, and Social Justice

Read: Chapters 1-5 in course textbook.


Part 1 -- Briefly introduce yourself to the class. Please do this early in the week.

Part 2 -- Choose three main points from the readings that struck you as important and present them to the class via Canvas (may be written, spoken, drawn, photographic, etc.)




Part II

Information Professions



Chapter 6: Literacy and Media Centers in the 21st century: School Libraries

Chapter 7: The Learning and Research Institution: Academic Libraries

Instructions for Interview with a Leader assignment released.

Read: Chapters 6 & 7 in course textbook

Discussion 2: Respond to discussion prompts in Canvas citing your reading of a minimum of 2 supplementary articles. Respond to at least one classmate.


Part II

Information Professions


Chapter 8: Community Anchors for Lifelong Learning: Public Libraries

Chapter 9: Working in Different Information Environments: Special Libraries and Information Centers

Read: Chapters 8 & 9 in course textbook

Discussion 3 (see instructions above)



Part III

Information Services




Chapter 10: Digital Resources: Digital Libraries

Chapter 11: Information Intermediation and Reference Services

Chapter 12: Metadata, Cataloging, Linked Data, and the Evolving ILS

Chapter 13: Analog and Digital Curation and Preservation 


Read: Chapters 10 -- 13 in course textbook.

Due: Interview with a Leader (upload to Canvas)

Post your interview document to the class discussion board.


Part III

Information Services


Chapter 14: User Experience

Chapter 15: Accessing Information Anywhere and Anytime: Access Services

Chapter 16: Teaching Users: Information and Technology Instruction

Instructions for Organizational Analysis assignment released on Canvas.

Read: Chapters 14 -- 16 in course textbook.

Discussion 4: Successful virtual teams (special supplementary reading list)


Part III

Information Services



Chapter 17: Hyperlinked libraries

Chapter 18: Creation Culture and Makerspaces



Read: Chapters 17 & 18 in course textbook.

Discussion 5 (see instructions above)

Due: Progress Report for Organizational Assignment


Part IV

Managing Information Organizations


Chapter 19: Strategic Planning

Chapter 20: Change Management



Read: Chapters 19 & 20 in the course textbook

No discussion. Continue work on Part 1 of Group Project.


Part IV

Managing Information Organizations


Chapter 21: Managing Budgets

Chapter 22: Managing Personnel

Career Development assignment instructions released.

Read: Chapters 21 & 22 in course textbook.

Discussion 6: Case Study: 20% budget cut.


Part IV

Managing Information Organizations



Chapter 23: Innovative Library and Information Services: The Design Thinking Process

 Chapter 24: Managing Collections


Read: Chapters 23 & 24 in course textbook.

Discussion 7: (see instructions above)

Due: Organizational Analysis Part 1



Reading Week

Reading Week



Part IV

Managing Information Organizations


Chapter 25: Managing Technology

Chapter 26: Managing Data and Data Analysis

Chapter 27: Communication, Marketing, and Outreach Strategies

 Chapter 28: Advocacy

Read: Chapters 25 -- 28 in course textbook

Discussion 8: (see instructions above)



Part V

Information Issues


Chapter 29: Information Policy

Chapter 30: Information Ethics

Read: Chapters 29 & 30 in course textbook

Discussion 9: (see instructions above)


Part V

Information Issues


Chapter 31: Copyright and Creative Commons

 Chapter 32: Information Licensing

Instructions for Professional Synthesis assignment released

Read: Chapters 31 & 32 in course textbook

No discussion.

Due: Organizational Analysis Part 2




Part V

Information Issues


Chapter 33: Open Access

Chapter 34: Information Privacy and Cyber Security

Chapter 35: Intellectual Freedom

Read: Chapters 33 -- 35 in course textbook.

No discussion.




Part VI

Information Horizons


Chapter 36: Career Management Strategies for Lifelong Success

Chapter 37: Leadership Skills for Today's Global Information Landscapes

Read: Chapters 36 & 37 in course textbook

Discussion 10: Cover letter

Due: Career Development Assignment (resume submitted and two artifacts loaded to ePortfolio in Canvas)





Final Week -- no lecture, readings or discussion

Due: Professional Synthesis


Students will perform ten weekly discussions relating to course topics. (Course Learning Outcomes: #1#2#3#4#6, #7, #9)

Interview with a Library Leader: Towards a Leadership Philosophy
Students will identify a library leader with whom to conduct an interview. Throughout the interview as well as their reading, students will begin to develop a leadership philosophy. A five to eight page, double-spaced report on the interview will be uploaded to Canvas. They will also be shared on the week 4 discussion board. Discussion and analysis will be supported by readings from the professional literature (a minimum of three articles). (Course Learning Outcomes: #2, #6, #9)

Organizational Analysis
Working together in small groups, students will create an organizational analysis for an information organization of their choice. The assignment consists of five parts. First, each team will create Group Ground Rules for working together. Second, each team will conduct an environmental scan and SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of their chosen information organization. Teams will then use this information to draft vision, mission and value statements for the organization. Third, based on the second part of the project, the group will articulate strategic directions for the information organization. Fourth, the team will present its strategic plan and associated planning documents to their classmates. Fifth, students peer review team member's individual contributions and performance. (Course Learning Outcomes: #2#3#4#6#7,, #8)

Professional Synthesis
In a culminating synthesis, students will reflect and respond to the major themes of INFO 204. Students will utilize an alternate format (e.g. website, wiki, podcast, video, Powerpoint, Prezi, etc.) to produce and present their culminating assignment. (Course Learning Outcomes: #1#6#9)



Point Value

Due Dates

Weekly discussions and activities

15% of total grade

5 points each

(50 points total)


Interview with a Library Leader

20% of total grade

15 points

 Week 4

Organizational Analysis

25% of total grade

Progress Report / Group Ground Rules – 0 points

Part 1 -- 15 points

Part 2 -- 15 points

Peer/Self Review -- 0 points

Progress Report due Week 6

Part 1 due Week 9

Part 2 due Week 13

Peer/Self Review due Week 13

Career Development Exercise

20% of total grade

10 Points

Week 15

Professional Synthesis

20% of total grade

15 points

 Week 16

Other Relevant Information:

Student Responsibilities

As a student, you are expected to read and carefully consider all of the readings, participate fully in all activities and discussions during the class duration, as well as turning in assignments by the designated due date.

Due dates are non-negotiable. If the instructor needs to change a due date, you will be notified as soon as possible. Procrastination should be avoided. Plan ahead. Any student requesting a hardship extension will be asked to submit their work-to-date.

If you do not understand the assignments, it is your responsibility to inform the instructor. If you are having difficulty, please notify the instructor early so that we can address the issues before your final grade is set. You must complete all assignments in order to pass the course.

Late Assignments

The instructor has the right to not accept late assignments or to add significant grade penalties for unexcused late submissions. If you foresee any difficulty in completing your assignment on time, you need to contact the instructor at least 48 hours before the due date to request an extension. Only one extension per student per semester will be considered. If granted an extension, your assignment grade may be reduced by 10%.

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 204 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the similarities and differences between various information organizations and professional roles from historical, current, and future perspectives.
  2. Recognize the roles and activities of managers in information organizations.
  3. Explain strategic planning processes and skills.
  4. Identify and choose appropriate assessment tools for evaluating organizational effectiveness.
  5. Synthesize (including reviewing, using and properly citing) the professional and research management and leadership literature.
  6. Demonstrate leadership abilities through collaborative teamwork.
  7. Analyze and assess their own and others leadership abilities through self-reflection and peer review.
  8. Apply management theories and principles, professional values, and ethical frameworks to organizational issues and decision-making using scenarios and case studies.
  9. Create and deliver high quality reports, presentations and organizational documents that communicate to internal and external stakeholders organizational values, missions, and priorities.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 204 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 those principles within that profession.
  2. B Describe and compare organizational settings in which information professionals practice.
  3. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  4. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.
  5. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • 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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