Grades are based on three papers, one or more blog post assignment as discussed below, and weekly research assignment (also discussed below). The grading scheme assigns 20% of the overall grade to each of the papers and classroom discussion of that paper, 15% leading class discussions and blog posts, 10% to the weekly reports and discussion o those reports, and 15% for in-class participation. Because most assignments have an in class component attendance is required to expect to pass the courses. If you are barred from class for inappropriate behavior the associated points will be deducted. The overall grade is computed as follows: A – 90 to 100 points, B – 80 to 89 points, C – 70 to 79 points, D – 60 to 69 points, and E – below 60 points.
As indicated in the previous section, after the introductory section on information in society, the course will be divided into four main areas:
1. Theories of Information
2. Making Information Usable
3. Making Information Findable
4. Information Policy
You will be required to write three short papers during the semester. For each paper you should choose a topic that falls within one of the above four areas. Each paper should be 5 to 10 pages double-spaced. Papers are due a week after the completion of the area of the course that they fall within. (See the course schedule for the precise dates.)
You can choose whatever topic you like for these papers. For instance, your topics might easily be related to work that you plan to do for your dissertation. The paper should have an explicit thesis and it should marshal evidence in favor of that thesis. For instance, you might argue that so-and-so's theory of information is incorrect. Also, you might argue that such-and-such is a good information retrieval technique. You should appeal to a substantial list of works cited that goes beyond the assigned readings for the course. (Ideally, the instructor should learn something new from your papers.) Further details about the paper assignment will be discussed during the first class meeting.
Blog post and class lead assignment:
The course will have a private blog for discussion. You will be required to write three blog post during the semester. Your blog post will introduce and summarize the readings for a particular week and the author will use this post as the basis for leading a class discussion that week. (There will be a signup sheet available at the first class meeting.) Your blog post should be posted by the end of the Sunday preceding that particular week. Other students should read this post along with the readings for the week and come to class ready to discuss the main points.
Like any good blog post, please try to make it interesting and engaging. For instance, include pictures, include links, suggest questions for discussion, tie the week's topic to current events, etc. Further details about the assignment will be discussed during the first class meeting.
Weekly research assignments:
Each week, students must find and read one additional highly-cited research paper on that week’s topic. Then they should post a brief synopsis of the paper and a few questions for discussion in D2L.
All assignments must be submitted electronically, either in the D2L dropbox or the class blog, by 11:59 P.M.. on the indicated day.
Disputes about grades on a particular assignment will be entertained for two weeks from the day the assignment is graded, or 1 day after the end of classes, whichever is sooner. These will be resolved by re-grading the entire work. Note that this can result in a lower grade in the event that new mistakes are discovered.
No negotiations about individual students’ letter grades will be entertained once final grades are assigned, except as permitted by the policy stated above.