INFO 200-11
INFO 200-12
INFO 200-15
INFO 200-19
Information Communities
Fall 2019 Syllabus

Steven J. Tash
Office: online via zoom
Phone: 949-683-7151  9am-9pm PST
Office Hours:
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, 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.

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

Course Description

Ultimately users are at the heart of all libraries and information services, so this course focuses outward on the very people librarians and information professionals serve:  those who are creating, using and sharing information. Framing the course as outward-facing embraces a forward-thinking and beneficial perspective for graduates and information professionals to conceptualize both their own roles and the potential of the LIS profession. This course will help prepare students to proactively and intentionally engage with the users they serve through examining information communities in a broader context of information behavior and the social, cultural, economic, technological, and political forces that shape their information access and use. From The Encyclopedia of Community, Joan Durrance and Karen Fisher’s definitive entry provides a theoretical framework: information communities promote a common interest around creation and exchange of distributed information; may be built around different focal points and topics; can emerge and function without geographical boundaries; and often exploit the Internet and technology. Each module explores these ideas of information communities and how libraries and information organizations can support diverse communities and see the individuals they serve not just as information consumers, but as seekers, creators and collaborators.

INFO 200 Information Communities is designed to leverage your work throughout the semester in order to ensure a successful, culminating research paper at term’s end. Students will be asked to identify an information community that librarians and information centers serve and as the semester progresses, the blog posts and the larger written assignments will focus on your community’s information behaviors and needs and guide your research and writing.

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.



Topics & Assignment Due Dates

Week 1 

21-Aug--27, Aug

Information Communities: An Introduction

I use a Group at the Community Site titled 

 Professor Steve Tash INFO 200 FALL 19

Blog Post #1 due Tuesday, August 27 @11:59 pm PT

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 Professor Tash. This means each blog you must submit to the group and to your Canvas Assignments Page as well.

Week 2: August 28-September 3
Labor Day September 2

Researching Information Communities

Week 3: September 4-10

Information Seeking Behavior 1

Blog Post #2 due Tuesday, September 10 @11:59 pm 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 11-17

Information Seeking Behavior 2

Book Review due Tuesday, September 17 @11:59 pm PT

Post this to our community blog site & the URL to the Canvas Assignment.

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 5: September 18-24

Information Communities & Diverse Information Needs

Blog Post #3 due Tuesday, September 24 
@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 6: September 25-October 1

Research-based Information Resources 


Week 7: October 2-8

Community-based Information Resources

Information Sources Survey due Tuesday, October 8 @11:59 pm PT

Week 8: October 9-15

User Experience

Blog Post #4 due Tuesday, October 15 @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 9: October 16-22

Intellectual Freedom & Information Communities

Blog Post #5 due Tuesday, October 22 @11:59 pm PT

Report on an ethical or legal issue pertaining to your information community. Use the module on legal issues as a resource to define and reflect on the issue.

 Week 10: October 23-29

Information & Misinformation

Literature Review Matrix due Tuesday, October 29 @11:59 pm PT

Week 11: October 30-November 5

Teaching and Learning

Week 12: November 6-12   Veterans Day November 11

Global Information Communities

Blog Post #6 due Tuesday, November 12 @11:59 pm PT

From your exploration of the literature and the resources included in the Global Information Communities 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 13: November 13-19

Emerging Technologies

Blog Post #7 due Tuesday, November 19 @11:59 pm PT

From your research, report on your community’s use of emerging technologies. How do they use technology to advance the community or share information? This post could also be media-based: a video, other media, infographic.

Week 14: November 20-26

Expanding Roles

Term Paper Due Tuesday, November 26 @11: 59 pm PT

 Week 15: November 27-December 3



Thanksgiving holiday November 28-29  

Final Reflections

 Blog Post #8 due Tuesday, December 3 @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 4-9 

 Course Wrap Up (SOTES & Review)


Blog Reports
Students will research and explore various topics related to their community group and report their findings on their blog. (Course Learning Outcomes: #1#3#4#6#7#8)

Reflection Blog Topics

  • Community Description
  • Overview of Information Seeking Behaviors of Community
  • Research Article Summary
  • Information community & Instructional Programming
  • Global Issues &  Information Community
  • Emerging Technology Use of Information Community

Context Book Review/Reflective Essay
Students will read one book selected from a list provided and write a reflection relating the book to their chosen community, information behaviors, technology and the focus of our course. (Course Learning Outcomes: #1#2#3)

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, project work, and use of the course site. A minimum of six well-articulated comments is required. (Course Learning Outcomes: #2#4#9)

Information Sources Survey

Using LIS guides, databases, and other relevant professional resources, students will locate and describe two information sources created for and used by the community they are studying. The survey will include a critical description of each source and an assessment of its value to the community. (Course Learning Outcomes: #1 and #5)

Literature Review Matrix
Students will evaluate 8 - 10 articles about the information behaviors of the community they have chosen to study.  The literature review matrix will assess the research on the community by identifying key components of the research, major theories and findings, and continuing gaps. Students will use the matrix for reflection and evaluation of sources and integrate information from the matrix to write their research paper literature review.  (Course Learning Outcomes: #1#2 and #3)

Research Paper

Students will write a final paper based on their reading in the scholarly and professional literature and the data collected for each blog report.  The final papers should include a literature review and critically assess the findings of their review. The paper should be a minimum of 3000 words in length; the reference list should have at least 20 sources; and the formatting should follow the APA Publication Manual Style (6th ed.). Students will have the opportunity to submit a draft of their paper to the instructor for formal instructor feedback. Students can then incorporate this feedback into the final version of the paper submitted for grading. (Course Learning Outcomes: #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8)



Point Value

Due Dates

Context Book Review

10 points

 September 17 

Information Sources Survey

10 points

 Information Sources Survey due Tuesday, October 8 @11:59 pm PT

Literature Review Matrix

15 points

 Literature Review Matrix due Tuesday, October 29 @11:59 pm PT

6 Reflective Blog Posts

25 points

Multiple due dates (see weekly schedule)

Research Paper

30 points

 due Nov.26

Commenting, Engagement,

and Participation in Course

Blogging Community (blogs 1,8)

10 points

Blog Post #1 due Tuesday, August 27 @11:59 pm PT

Blog Post #8 due Tuesday, December 3 @11:59 pm PT

Other Relevant Information:

Fall 19 Teaching Calendar

We'll be Using a Wednesday to Tuesday week
Fall semester begins on Wednesday, Aug. 21.


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, and emerging technologies within the context of various information communities/environments.
  5. Identify various resources and services that information professionals utilize to serve their communities.
  6. Explain how libraries and information centers create and offer learning opportunities related to specific information communities.
  7. Identify ways in which information professionals serve specific information communities in a global context.
  8. Identify and describe current and emerging technologies that impact the creation, use, and exchange of information within communities.
  9. Create and deliver high quality reflections on course themes across open social platforms via various media: text, audio, video.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 200 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.
  4. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.
  5. K Design collaborative or individual learning experiences based on learning principles and theories.
  6. 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.
  7. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.
  8. O (For students entering from Spring 2015 onwards) Understand global perspectives on effective information practices that are supportive of cultural, economic, educational, or social well-being.


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

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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