INFO 281-16 (2-Units)
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Information Integrity
Spring 2020 Syllabus

Dr. Susan Maret

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Canvas Information: This 2-unit course will be available on Canvass beginning March 9, 2020.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

The course runs from March 9-May 11, 2020.

Course Description

The purpose of this intensive two-hour eight-week course is to introduce you to principles and methods of assessing the integrity and credibility of information, especially found on the Internet. Integrity of information (II) is roughly defined as the state that exists when information is unchanged from its source and has not been accidentally or intentionally modified, altered, or destroyed. An attribute of II is veracity, or veracity of information, which is thought of in ethics as truthfulness and honesty in communication.
In the course and in our readings, we are interdisciplinary and not only rely on the literature of Library and Information Sciences (LIS), but look to psychology, social science (including political science and politics), and journalism to provide a guidepost. The course will also address fact-checkers and literacies.

Course Readings

The course readings list is available in .pdf on Canvas.

Course Requirements


There are two assignments during this four-week course. Below is a description of the assignments with accompanying Course Learning Outcomes or CLOs. Additional information is available on our Canvas course site.

Paper 1 / Article Analysis
7-10 pages including refs /25 points / Due April 13 / CLO #1, #2 & #3

Choose any article or book chapter from the course readings list. 

Read and analyze the article - take it apart and put it back together - in your own words. I'm looking for critique, challenges to the author's thesis statement, methods, arguments, and conclusion. Also, consider the author's credentials and expertise and how the types of supporting materials are used in the discussion.

Cite sources using a proper style (e.g., APA, Chicago) for any materials you discuss, including links in the entry.

Have fun with this! Choose an article you can use in the final paper.


Paper 2 / Final Paper
12-18 pages including refs / 45 points / Due May 12 / CLO #1, #2 & #3

Two choices:

1. Select a fact-checking tool extension/app from the assignment doc and test the app in terms of its ability to establish credibility, integrity, and veracity. Also, discuss the use of the app in reference and instruction;


2. Select any subject of interest to you and research how it's portrayed either in your local community, nationally, or internationally; approach the assignment as if you were answering a reference question and outline a strategy you might use to address integrity and credibility.


30 points.
See the course assignment document (.pdf) on Canvas for additional information on participation.

Course Calendar
See course materials information on Canvas.

Course Grading
See course materials in Canvas.  San Jose State State's grading scale is located here.

Textbooks and Readings
There is no formal textbook for this course. Course readings will consist of articles and book chapters from the research and professional literature available through King Library and the open literature.

Additional Information
There is no extra credit in this course or late policy.

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. Students will develop skill in analyzing information for its accuracy, bias, audience, validity, and persuasiveness.
  2. Students will identify methods and tools to analyze and test the credibility of information.
  3. Students will develop the ability to utilize and recommend fact checkers and credibility standards to evaluate information found on the Internet.

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.
  2. 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.


No Textbooks For This Course.

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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