Your info-lit bag o’ tricks

Hey friends – I have an opportunity to pitch a new class and am looking for some ideas.

Here are the basics:

  • Summer class
  • Online
  • Lower-division undergraduate
  • in the School of Information
  • Asynchronous, hosted in Canvas, but a few chat sessions/google hangouts in small groups over the semester
  • Readings/viewings/listenings, I’m sure I’ll make a few jing videos
  • I’m not sure if I want to do a final paper or project –  I need to clarify my learning objectives first (you can help with this)

I want to teach it like I taught my FYS at my old place which used the guise of Women in Sitcoms to teach:

  • Database searching
  • Effective use of the libraries (LibGuides, keywords)
  • Citations

all that good library stuff


  • feminist theory
  • critical media studies
  • categories of race/class/gender/sexuality and their representation in US culture
  • US history
  • how to be good at this whole college things
  • awareness of campus resources

I have doubts that the sitcom class will fly under the INF title, and I’d need to beef it up from 1 credit to 3 credits. I don’t want to just do the library 101 without a hook topic though – I’m still working on that part. I also have the general model I used for the 9 billion one-shots I did – my menu of things that I adapted for class session time and topics. My concern is, that I’ll just repeat the stuff I’ve done (even though I think a good amount of it was useful) without pushing myself.


What I’d love to hear from you – if you were doing a semester-long class under the INF umbrella what concepts would you definitely include in your curriculum? Is there something you teach in your current one-shots or classes that you think I should include?

Hit me up in the comments, friends!


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  1. Adam Beauchamp’s avatar

    Just say no to the research paper. At the lower levels, focus on teaching them how to digest academic scholarship, and hands-on practice with methods. The methods courses (mid-level) in sociology and political science assign a research proposal with a literature review and identified method and data source, and they have success with that. Save the full-blown research papers for upper-division courses when students ostensibly need less guidance on actual methods and research.
    For content, you might combine getting to know campus resources with some critical theory by having students do a kind of content analysis of the university website and/or social media presence. Who shows up in campus photos, and are they representative of the actual campus demographic? How does the university website organize information, and does this priviledge certain types of knowledge or users? Just brainstorming here.
    I also like Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble, about how info tech is determining what you see. He has a TED talk that’s a bit dated now, but still good.

  2. Lauren Wallis’s avatar

    I am teaching a one-credit class with my fellow instruction librarian. We’re talking about social issues related to information access and use, but some of it might be helpful for you.

    Take a look at our syllabus:

    And our course blog:

    We’re teaching it in-person, but with the blog and our Twitter hashtag (#politicsofinfo) I could see it working as an online class.


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