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Course Outline on SLIS web site
LIS 598: Technology, Information, and Society (IT)
Instructor: Dr. Adam Worrall
Phone: (780) 492–0179
Office: 3–15 Rutherford South
Office hours: Tuesdays 2–3pm, Thursdays 11am-noon, or by appointment
A critical and interdisciplinary examination, from human and social perspectives, of technology in the context of libraries and information organizations and of the complex relationships between technology, information, and society.
- To provide students with an understanding of, and an ability to articulate and critique, the complex human, social, and sociotechnical contexts surrounding libraries, information, and technology.
- To acquaint students with the cognitive, social, technical, historical, cultural, political, and organizational factors shaping the relationships between technology, information, and society.
- To introduce students to major research and practice trends in the design, adoption, and use of technology in libraries and information organizations.
- To provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills required to critically assess the design, adoption, and use of technology in libraries and information organizations from human and social perspectives.
- To provide students with the ability to understand, critique, and apply research on the human, social, and sociotechnical contexts of information to professional activities and practices in LIS.
Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):
- After critical readings, lectures, and discussion in the human, social, and sociotechnical contexts surrounding libraries, information, and technology, students will articulate their understanding of these contexts through in-class activities and written assignments.
- After critical readings and lectures in the cognitive, social, technical, historical, cultural, political, and organizational factors shaping the relationships between technology, information, and society, students will demonstrate their understanding through two critical reports on a selection of these factors.
- After critical examination of major research and practice trends in technology use in libraries and information organizations, students will reflect on these trends in synthesized context with their experiences through an individual presentation and group case study.
- After readings and discussion of how to critically analyze technologies and systems from human and social perspectives, students will engage in a group case study of a technology in use or proposed for use in a library or information organization of their choice.
- Introduction to technology, information, and society
- Human perspectives: History and philosophy
- * Human perspectives: Research and theory (1/2)
- * Human perspectives: Research and theory (2/2)
- Social perspectives: History and philosophy
- Report #1 due
- * Social perspectives: Research and theory (1/2)
- Winter Term Reading Week - no class
- * Social perspectives: Research and theory (2/2)
- * Political and regulatory factors
- Report #2 due
- * Trends in practice: Library systems, institutional repositories
- Choose group
- * Trends in practice: Information and knowledge management
- * Trends in practice: Censorship and DRM
- * Trends in practice: “Library 2.0” and online community
- Group case study presentations
- Case studies due
* Denotes a week where student(s) may present an article.
Written and oral introductions to topics, readings, class and group discussions, in-class small group activities, group project report and presentation, individual presentation, and guest speakers (where and when possible).
Prerequisite: LIS 501 Foundations in LIS
There are no required textbooks for this class. Copies of required and recommended readings from scholarly journals and books will be provided by the instructor.
Assignments and Weighting:
- Report #1: Human context of LIS technology: 20% (due Week 5)
- Report #2: Social context of LIS technology: 20% (due Week 9)
- Article presentation: 10% (due Week 3, 4, 6, or 8–13)
- LIS technology case study (group): 30%
- Report: 20% (due Week 14)
- Presentation: 10% (given Week 14)
- Class discussion and participation: 20% (throughout the term)
Late Assignments: Assignments must be handed in by the date specified unless you have made prior arrangements with the instructor. Late assignments will not earn full credit; ten percent (10%) will be deducted for every day (24 hours, including weekends) an assignment is late to a maximum of three days. Assignments submitted more than three days (72 hours) after the due date will not be accepted. In most cases unexpected downtime for cloud services, including Google Apps at the University of Alberta, is not an accepted excuse for a late assignment submission. Exceptions to this policy will be rare and given at the instructor’s discretion; if you require an extension due to constraints, emergencies, and crises that will result in you submitting an assignment late or incomplete, please email the instructor as soon as possible and in advance to make those arrangements.
School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:
Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade.
The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at http://www.governance.ualberta.ca/) and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.
Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy (https://uofa.ualberta.ca/education/-/media/education/slis/documents/forms/sliscopyrightpolicy.pdf).
Inclusive Language and Equity:
The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of respect for all people within the university community and to educating faculty, staff, and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services (http://www.ssds.ualberta.ca).
Recording of Lectures:
Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.
Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.
SLIS is mindful that the University of Alberta was established on Treaty #6 territory.