Reference and Information Services
Spring 2021 Syllabus
Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 27, 2021, 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 course will open on the first day that the class meets.
You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.
A process-oriented examination of how information professionals answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.
This course will introduce you to the exciting world of reference! We will learn about the major roles of the reference librarian including answering questions, analyzing information sources, teaching information tools, designing programs, and assisting users in finding good books to read. Additional topics will include ethics, managing reference departments, evaluating reference services, providing reference services to special populations, and we'll look ahead to what the future might hold for reference services.
This course will be entirely asynchronous, using Canvas for all discussions and assignments. We will follow the textbook fairly closely, with some additional readings to supplement the material in the book. The course will consist of 14 weekly units, each starting on Monday with assignments due the following Sunday by 11:59 pm.
Practice Questions - To help you learn about many of the standard sources used to answer reference questions, you will practice answering questions using those sources and other sources you find on the Internet. Supports CLO#1, CLO#2. 20% of grade.
Readers' Advisory - To help you answer the question "Can you help me find a good book to read?" you will become familiar with some of the tools used in readers' advisory, analyze how the tools can be used, and determine strategies for answering this type of question. Supports CLO#1, CLO#3. 15% of grade.
Information Literacy - To introduce you to the user instruction aspect of providing reference service, you will develop a short handout or video that details how to use an electronic resource such as the library catalog, a database, an eBook service, or another electronic resource. Supports CLO#4, CLO#7. 15% of grade.
Virtual Reference Analysis - To introduce you to the reference interview in a real-world setting, you will analyze virtual reference transactions and write a summary of what you learned related to best practices for reference interviews. Supports CLO#1, CLO#3, CLO#6. 15% of grade.
Future of Reference - To look ahead to the role of reference in a rapidly-changing world, you will read several recent articles about the future of reference and write a short paper describing your personal view of how you think reference service will need to evolve to support users in the future. Supports CLO#4, CLO#5, CLO#6, CLO#8. 10% of grade.
Class Discussions - To help you process the course content, share ideas, and support your fellow classmates, you will post one analytical response to a question and respond thoughtfully to two other posts for 7 weeks of the semester. Supports CLO#5, CLO#6, CLO#8. 15% of grade.
Quizzes - To demonstrate your mastery of course objectives, there will be occasional short quizzes. 10% of grade.
Here is the detailed weekly calendar, subject to change with prior notice:
|DATE||UNIT||ASSIGNMENTS & READINGS|
|1/27||Orientation & Introductions||View introductory videos & Unit 0 information|
|1/31||Assignment||Personal introduction, syllabus quiz|
|2/1||Unit 1 - Introduction to reference & the reference interview||Chapters 1-2, ALA Code of Ethics, RUSA guidelines|
|2/5, 2/7||Unit 1 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|2/8||Unit 2 - Basic search techniques & using the Internet as a research tool||Chapters 3 & 13|
|Unit 2 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|2/15||Unit 3 - Bibliographic resources & encyclopedias||Chapters 4-5|
|2/21||Unit 3 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sunday by 11:59 pm|
|2/22||Unit 4 - Ready reference & dictionaries||
|2/28||Unit 4 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sunday by 11:59 pm|
|3/1||Unit 5 - Databases & health/law/business||Chapters 8-9|
|3/7||Unit 5 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sunday by 11:59 pm|
|3/8||Unit 6 - Geography, Biography, Government||Chapters 10, 11, 12|
|3/14||Unit 6 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Practice questions due Sunday by 11:59 pm|
|3/15||Unit 7 - Readers' Advisory||Chapter 14|
|Unit 7 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm|
|3/22||Unit 8 - Special Populations||Chapter 15|
|3/28||Unit 8 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Readers' Advisory Assignment due Sunday by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|3/29||Spring break!||No assignments|
|4/5||Unit 9 - Ethics||Chapter 17|
|4/9, 4/11||Unit 9 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|4/12||Unit 10 - Programming||Chapter 19|
|4/16, 4/18||Unit 10 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|4/19||Unit 11 - Information Literacy & Selecting||Chapter 16 & 18|
|4/25||Unit 11 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Information literacy assignment due Sunday by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|4/26||Unit 12 - Managing||Chapter 20|
|4/30, 5/2||Unit 12 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|5/3||Unit 13 - Assessing||Chapter 21|
|5/9||Unit 13 - Assignment||No discussion posts; Virtual reference analysis assignment due Sunday by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|5/10||Unit 14 - Future||Chapters 22 & 23|
|5/14, 5/16||Unit 14 - Assignment||Discussion posts due Fri & Sun by 11:59 pm, quiz|
|5/17||Last day of instruction|
|5/17||Final Assignment||Future of reference assignment due Monday by 11:59 pm|
You are expected to produce assignments that meet writing standards appropriate for graduate-level work. Papers must be clearly written, free of grammatical and punctuation errors, and follow a logical flow of ideas. There will be an automatic 20% deduction for assignments that do not meet this standard. The iSchool offers support for writing, including tutors who can help review your work.
Other Relevant Information
Each unit will run Monday through Sunday at midnight. Assignments are due Sundays by 11:59 pm and discussion posts are due on Fridays and Sundays by 11:59 pm. There will be a 20% deduction for late assignments. Late submittals for the practice reference questions cannot be accepted because answers and sources are sent immediately after assignments are due to help students prepare for the next week. The textbook is available for free from the King Library.
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 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
- Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.
- Conduct effective reference interviews.
- Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
- Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
- Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
- Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction.
- Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.
Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)
INFO 210 supports the following core competencies:
- F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
- 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.
- N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.
- Cassell, K.A., & Hiremath, U. (2018). Reference and information services: An introduction (4th ed.). Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman. Available as free eBook through King Libary
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|
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).
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: https://www.sjsu.edu/curriculum/courses/syllabus-info.php. 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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