INFO 281-02
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Spring 2020 Syllabus

Ann Agee
Office Hours: Advising by phone or Zoom by appointment.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 23rd, 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.

This course runs from Thursday, January 23-Friday, February 20, 2020.

This course will be available beginning January 23, 6 am PDT. This course ends on February 20, 2020, but this and all other course sites will close at the end of the semester.

Course Description

Open access is disrupting the traditional structure of scholarly publishing by ensuring "the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment" (SPARC). This course examines the current state of the open access movement and how it affects librarians and scholars. As you move through the course, you will learn about the different models of open access; how to advocate for open access on campus; and how to support researchers as they make the transition from fee-based to open access publishing. This course will be of most interest to students on the academic pathway. (Note: Open educational resources and open source software are outside the scope of this course.)

Course Requirements


1. Article Analysis (Supports CLO1, CLO3)

Students will select and analyze an article addressing common objections to open access publishing. 

2. Stakeholder Analysis (Supports CLO2)

Students will analyze a stakeholder group on their campus and draft a video script advocating for open access tailored to this group. 

3. Open Access Advocacy Video (Supports CLO2, CLO3)

Students will produce a video based on their script from Week 2. 

4. Publisher Copyright Policy Analysis (Supports CLO2)

Students will research the copyright policies of three journals popular with their campus faculty. 

5. Open Access Advocacy Plan (Supports CLO3)

Students will create an open access advocacy plan specific to their chosen university campus. 

6. Online Discussions  

Further information about the assignments is given on the Canvas course website.

Additional Course Requirements

Course readings will consist of articles from the professional literature and chapters from the assigned textbook. Videos will also be assigned.

Course Calendar




Module 1     



Open Access Overview


Personal introduction

#1 Article Analysis

 Due Date: January 26

Module 2


Economics of Open Access

#2 Stakeholder Analysis

Post per discussion instructions and respond to a classmate's post.

 Due Date: February 2

Module 3



Open Access Advocacy

#3 Open Access Advocacy Video 

Post per discussion instructions and respond to a classmate's post.

Due Date: February 9

Module 4


Copyright & Open Access

#4  Publisher Copyright Policy Analysis

#5  Final Project: Open Access Advocacy Plan

Due Date: February 20




1. Article Analysis


2. Stakeholder Analysis


3. Open Access Advocacy Video


4. Publisher Copyright Policy Analysis


5. Open Access Advocacy Plan


6. Online Discussions (2 x 5 points)




All assignments must be submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on the day the assignment is due. Late assignments will be reduced by 20% of point value per day late. Please contact the instructor if a medical, family or personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time.

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 281 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the different types of open access publishing and current business models.
  2. Identify ways to support researchers in their move to open access publishing.
  3. Create an open access advocacy plan for a college or university.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.


Required Textbooks:

  • Suber, P. (2012). Open access. MIT Press. 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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