INFO 204-10
Information Professions 
Fall 2019 Syllabus

Wayne Disher
Phone: 408-421-0111
Office Location: Online
Office Hours: By arrangement

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 21st, 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

The semester will be broken into "Units".  Each unit will run for a duration of roughly 2 to 3 weeks.  Each week within the unit contains several activities, reading, discussions, online work, and collaboration.  Each unit will have one graded assignment. Units One through Four have graded assignments that account for 10 points each.  The weight of this accumulated 40 points will be 20% of your entire grade.

Week Topic/Module Assignment
  UNIT ONE: Organizations  
1 Information Professions today (Hirsh, ); Ch. 1); Operating Environment (Hirsh, Ch.2); (Disher Chapters); Hicks article. Discussion Week 1: Introductions including any particular area of current/future interest in the information professions and organizations. DUE: 8/28/19
2 Library environments (Hirsh, Chapters 5, 6, and 7); Organization design (Disher Ch. 3) Discussion Week 2: Scholarly article summary and key takeaways on the topic of accountability, responsibility or delegation. DUE: 9/6/19
3 Library environments continued (Hirsh, Chapters 8, 9, and10); Your Career (Hirsh, Ch. 11 & 37); Due:  Resume and ePortfolio assignment DUE: 9/13/19
  UNIT TWO: Teams & Problem Solving  

Management skills (Hirsh, Ch. 21); Teams (Disher, Chapter 10);

Problem Solving (DisherCh.11);
Discussion Week 4: Successful virtual teams DUE: 9/20/19
5 Leadership(Hirsh, Ch. 39) Power &Authority (Disher Chapter4); Important Library teams: Councils, Boards& Commissions(Disher Ch. 9) Discussion Week 5: Who Speaks for The Library DUE: 9/28/19
  UNIT THREE: Planning & Communicating  

The Planning Process and Strategic Planning (Disher Chapter6)

Global communication in the digital world (Hirsh, Ch. 38)

Discussion Week 6: Strategic Plans - A Case History

Due: SWOT Analysis DUE: 10/7/19

7 Communicating (DisherChapter 8); Schramm article; Addressing Diversity (Hirsh, Ch. 4) Due: Communication case history DUE: 10/15/19  
  UNIT FOUR: Managing Staff & Budgets  

Managing personnel (Hirsh, Ch. 23); Staffing (DisherChapter7);

Assessment, Quality Control, and Operations (Hirsh, Ch. 28)
 DUE: 10/22/19
9 Managing Money(Hirsh, Ch. 22) (Disher Chapter5)

Discussion Week 9:  Library budget comparison discussion DUE: 10/30/19

  UNIT FIVE: Managing Library Facilities and Users  
10  Library Communities (Hirsh, Ch. 3) (Disher Chapter13)

 Due: Library budget reduction DUE: 11/6/19

Discussion Week 10:  Trend watching DUE: 11/6/19

11 Managing and Planning Physical Facilities(Hirsh, Ch. 24)   (Disher Chapter 12); Information needs (Hirsh, Ch. 12)  DUE: 11/14/19
12 Policy (Hirsh, Ch. 29) Collections (Hirsh, Ch. 25) Discussion Week 12: Prepare for the worst: Sharing an emergency/disaster plan DUE: 11/22/19
13 Managing Technology(Hirsh, Ch.12, 26, & 32) Discussion Week 13:  Emerging Technology - The Horizon Report  DUE: 11/30/19
  UNIT SIX: Change; Legal & Ethics Issues  

Changing and Innovating (Disher Chapter 15);

Discussion Week 14:  Matching Innovations to Environment DUE: 12/6/19

Due: Group Presentation Visualized Critique due BEFORE 12/1/19

Due:  Management Response 12/9/19.

Units Five and Six each have larger assignments worth 100 points each.  They each are weighted 40%.  While you will find detailed information about each graded assignment appearing in the Unit itself here is a brief rundown of what you'll be doing this semester in terms of graded assignments. 

  • Unit One's 10-point graded assignment involves a Career Development
    assignment in which students will be introduced to the extensive School Career Development online resources and will be asked to submit their resume.  In addition, students will also utilize the ePortfolio function in the Canvas learning management system. (Learning Outcomes: 4, 7)
  • Unit Two's 10-point graded assignment will ask you to read a case history involving communication and diversity in an organization and asks you to think about how you'd resolve a challenging issue. (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 6).
  • Unit Three's 10-point graded assignment asks you to learn about a strategic planning process called SWOT analysis and to submit a SWOT analysis of a library of your choice.  (Learning Outcomes 2 & 3)
  • Unit Four's 10-point graded assignment asks you to read over several case histories involving the creation of a library's budget.  After reading over the budget scenarios, you will be asked to consider what you would do in both situations and submit a paper explaining how you handled one of the cases.  (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 8)

End of Term Assignments
There are two large assignments near the end of the semester.  One is a group assignment and one will be an analytical assignment:

  • Group Assignment: Students will be assigned to a team for a project conducting a "visualized critique"--a sort of performance audit--of a library information organization. Each member of the team visits a library on their own, and each brings back to the team's member the potential organizational weaknesses and threats they identify. The team as a whole will analyze each member's pictures and information.  The team will then choose ten items to work on as a group. Students analyze such things as management decisions, facility maintenance, customer service, community outreach, the library's mission and vision, the library's efficiency, and the library's effectiveness. During the semester--through online collaboration--the team will articulate strategic recommendations for improving the library. In an online presentation to the instructor, the group shares their recommendations regarding their chosen ten items and articulates how these recommendations will significantly solve the issues they have identified.  A peer review regarding individual contributions and performance on the team will be included and considered in the final grade for the team project. (Learning Outcomes 3, 5, & 8)
  • Analytical Management Response Presentation: Students will be asked to choose to investigate and respond to one of several common administrative problems information professionals are confronted with in today's library environments. Students will utilize an alternate format (e.g. website, wiki, podcast, video, Powerpoint, Prezi, etc.) to produce and present their response to one of the issues using information they gather in research, as well as information gleaned through course readings and reflection.  More detail will be provided by your instructor. (Learning Outcomes 1, 3, & 6)


Assignment % of grade Due Date
Discussion Forum participation   See calendar
Unit One:  ePortfolio/Career Development 5% 9/13/19
Unit Two: SWOT analysis 5% 10/7/19
Unit Three:  Workplace communication and diversity 5% 10/15/19
Unit Four:  Creating a Budget 5% 11/6/19
Unit Five:  Group Visualized Critique Presentation 40% Before 12/1/19
Unit Six:  Analytical Management Response Presentation 40% 12/9/19

Due Dates and Late Assignments

All assignments must be submitted by 11:59 pm Pacific time on the due date. As a rule, late assignments are not accepted.  However, if unprecedented circumstances prevail, your instructor may accept a late assignment if you FIRST contact the instructor BEFORE a deadline.  Grades will be reduced for any late work by at least 25 percent for any portion of each 24-hour period past the 11:59 pm PT deadline.

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 prerequisite 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:

  • Disher, Wayne (2010). Crash Course in Public Library Administration. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598844652 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.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.