INFO 281-16 (1-Unit)
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Open Education Librarianship
Summer 2020 Syllabus

Dr. Steven J. Bell

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Office phone:
215-204-5023 M-F 9 am to 5 pm ET
Office Hours: Zoom meetings available by appointment

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning July 8, 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. 

This is a 1-credit course that runs from July 6th - August 3rd

See the syllabus in the Canvas site for this course for additional information on course policies, assignments and more.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Global higher education is shifting to an environment of openness that supports faculty adoption of Open Education Resources (OER) for improved learning and open pedagogy methods to engage students more actively in the development of learning resources. In this course students will gain skills enabling them to lead OER initiatives, support educators seeking to develop open pedagogy-based courses, help educators and students (K-16) identify and evaluate open learning resources and engage with other academics to promote cultures of openness in primary, secondary and post-secondary education institutions. This course will help to prepare students for positions as scholarly communication and OER librarians.

Course Calendar

Subject to change with fair notice.

This course will run on a Wednesday-Tuesday schedule. New material will be available on Wednesdays and assignments will be due by 11:59 pm on Tuesdays (unless otherwise specified). 

Week 1: Wednesday, 7/8/20

Introduction to the open agenda; the textbook crisis; defining open education and open pedagogy; creative commons licensing

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board; readings; no-risk quiz; assignment # 1

Week 2: Wednesday,7/15/20

Role of the open advocate; advocating for open education; becoming an open leader; OER legislation; SPARC and OER

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board; readings; no-risk quiz; assignment # 2

Week 3: Wednesday,7/22/20

Leading an OER initiative; components of an OER initiative; open pedagogy assignments; finding OER

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board; readings; no-risk quiz; assignment # 3

Week 4: Wednesday,7/29/20

Trends in OER and open pedagogy; all-inclusive deals; textbook publisher trends; DEI in open education; state/regional initiatives

Activities: instructor video lecture; discussion board; readings; no-risk quiz; assignment # 4


Subject to change with fair notice.

Assignment – Module 1

(a) Response to an OER Myth -  Students will identify a known myth concerning open education resources and will write a response to counter the misunderstanding around this myth.

(b) Identify OER Resources – Students will receive a case study (they can choose one of several disciplines) involving an education who wants to replace an existing commercial textbook with open and alternate no-cost learning materials. Students will use OER finding resources to complete the assignment.

Helps to fulfill Course Learning Outcomes #2 and #3

Assignment – Module 2

Create Advocacy Video - Students will create a short video (2-3 minutes) in which they make an argument in support of funding for an OER project or resources for a target audience that could be a legislator or an academic administrator. Using research about the high costs of commercial learning resources and the value of affordable learning content, the students will create their own advocacy tool.

Helps to fulfill Course Learning Outcome #1

Assignment – Module 3

Open Pedagogy Case – Students will read a case study involving a faculty member who has been hearing about open pedagogy and wants to create an open pedagogy assignment for their course – but doesn’t know where to begin. Students will research open pedagogy assignments and create a recommendation for how the faculty member can build an open pedagogy assignment into their course.

Helps to fulfill Course Learning Outcome #3

Assignment – Module 4

Open Education Essay – Students will select a contemporary open education issue (e.g., OER legislation; DEI in OER publications; student privacy and data issues in digital textbooks), research this issue and write an essay describing the issue and provide their perspective on how an OER advocate should respond to the issue. The intent is to obtain the capacity to self-educate on an open education issue and share their accumulated knowledge with fellow librarians and other academic colleagues.

Helps to fulfill Course Learning Outcomes #1, #4 and #5 or #6


Grading will be based on 100 possible points.

There are graded discussion board assignments.

Assignments are generally due on Tuesday and must be submitted by 11:59 pm.

Late submissions lose 1 point for each day of lateness up to a maximum of 7 points.

If life circumstances require students to request an extension, please do so several days before the assignment is due or as soon as possible.

Communication and interaction throughout the semester via the course site is expected and required.

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, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Advocate for open education values and strategies within an academic institution or other educational community.
  2. Differentiate OER from other learning content.
  3. Competently search for and identify OER across academic disciplines.
  4. Clearly explain open pedagogical methods and identify examples of open pedagogy assignments and projects.
  5. Gain familiarity with OER policy and legislation for advocacy development.
  6. Identify trends in open and commercial publication of learning material.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 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.


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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