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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Reference and Information Services - Reference Collections in the 21st century
INFO 210

  • Fall 2023
  • Section 14
  • 1 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 09/20/2023
  • Modified 06/06/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Dr. Johanna Tunon
E-mail or use the Canvas e-mail 
Home Phone: (954) 249-1449
Office Location: Richmond, VA
Office Hours: By appointment by phone or via Zoom. NOTE:  You are welcome to text any time or call before 9 pm ET.

Course Description and Requisites

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.


INFO 202.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

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 Goals

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) Supported

INFO 210 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.
  3. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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

  1. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  2. Use appropriate collection development tools for selecting and evaluating reference sources.
  3. Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
  4. Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
  5. Evaluate reference sources that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.

Course Materials


No Textbooks For This Course.

Course Requirements and Assignments

  • Assignment 1 : discussions (3 X 9%) + 3% sharing post
    Discussions (D1, D2, D3, S4)
  • Assignment 2 (70%)
    Annotated bibliography of core reference sources, budget, reflections

Description of Assignments and Grading Criteria
NOTE: If you have some special circumstance that makes the completion of some activities difficult, contact me about possible alternative activities.

  • Assignment 1: Discussions (9% X 3 weeks) + Sharing post (3%) = 30%
    Discussion topics take place in the first three weeks of class. All the weekly activities require more than posting your own personal opinions on the topic under discussion.  Some discussions require using substantive content by utilizing, analyzing, and synthesizing what you learned in the class readings, articles you have located in the professional literature, etc. Other discussions will be less structured but require more free-wheeling active exploration of the topic in question.
    In Week 4, share something with the rest of the class. It can be anything from an interesting article or website to an interesting tip for job hunting or even some example of library humor.
    See the scoring rubric for the grading criteria.
    • INFO 210 Course Learning Outcomes addressed: 
      • CLO 3.: Describe the relationship between information needs, collection development policies, and the evaluation of reference collections.
      • CLO 4.: Describe current issues and trends in selecting appropriate reference sources.
    • NOTE: A number of the topics for the weekly discussions may serve as evidence to support various core competencies for your e-portfolio.
  • Assignment 2 (70%)
  • Choose one of the project options listed in the Assignments folder for Assignment 2 based on your areas of interest and career path.  Include your reflections about what you learned by doing your project and why your submission would make an appropriate artifact for your e-portfolio. See the scoring rubric for details, examples, and grading criteria, as well as for more information on using class assignments as possible artifacts for your e-portfolio.
    • INFO 210 Student Learning Outcome addressed:
      • CLO1 - Investigate the current issues in managing reference departments and evaluating reference staff and various types of reference services.
      • CLO2 - Explore outreach and marketing roles of reference librarians.
      • CLO3 - Describe current issues and trends in reference departments, including the impact of technology on marketing, outreach, management, and evaluation.
      • CLO4 - Evaluate reference outreach, marketing, and advocacy services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
      • CLO 5: Evaluate reference sources that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.

Course Grading

  • See the description of the assignments in Canvas and the grading rubrics.
  • All work is due by the date listed, but there is a two-day no-questions-asked grace period for all assignments. If you are unable to complete the work by the end of the grace period, there is a 10% penalty for unexcused late submissions for discussions. The late penalty for an unexcused late submission for the major assignment is 5%.
  • You are responsible for keeping track of assignment due dates, submitting work in a timely manner, and requesting an extension if the need should arise.  
  • Check the grading criteria provided in the scoring rubrics before submitting assignments to be sure that you are addressing all the elements that should be included in the assignments. 
  • The details of the assignments, grading criteria, and grading rubrics are subject to minor adjustments with fair notice. 
  • With the exception of the standard two-day, no-questions-asked grace period, no work will be accepted after the end of the course unless you have made arrangements that meet the university criteria and have been approved by me in writing or by email. 

Grading Information

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100A
94 to 96A minus
91 to 93B plus
88 to 90B
85 to 87B minus
82 to 84C plus
79 to 81C
76 to 78C minus
73 to 75D plus
70 to 72D
67 to 69D minus
Below 67F

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA) level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, or 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 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

Week Overview of Class ReadingsActivities, and Assignments Due Dates
Wk 1

Getting started:

Digging deeper:

  • Optional useful resources


  • D1 -- choose one discussion    (9%)
Aug. 27
Wk 2

Getting started:

  • Course video lectures
  • Leganto reading(s)

Digging deeper: 

  • Optional useful resources


  • D2 -- choose one discussion topic — 9%
Sept. 3
Wk 3

Getting started:

  • Week 3 overview
  • Video lectures.
  • Leganto (reading(s)

Digging deeper: 

  • Optional useful resources


  • D3 -- choose one discussion topic — 9%

** Labor Day -- Sept. 24

Sept. 10

Wk 4

Long week

Getting started:

Digging deeper:

  • Useful optional resources

Applying what you learned:

  • Assignment 2 (A2) — 70%
  • Sharing post (3%)

A2 due:

Long week: Sept. 20-last day


Course ends Sept. 20:

  • The project is due Nov. 17th, but the two-day
    no-questions-asked grace period applies for A2.
  • If you need an additional couple of extra
    days, contact me.
  • All work for the class must be submitted by
    midnight of the last day of class unless you
    were granted an extension in writing.
  • The course content will be available for a
    couple of additional weeks.

*Due dates are subject to change with fair notice.