Foundations of Information Science

UNC SILS, INLS 201, Fall 2020

How to Succeed in This Course

Do the readings

There is no textbook for this course. All readings have been made available through this course website. You must be logged in to download them.

Each week you will take a short quiz to check your understanding of that week’s reading.

In the course schedule you can see the total amount of reading for each week. I never assign more than 20,000 words per week—usually closer to 15,000. The average adult reader reads around 250 words per minutes, and most college students read a bit faster than that. So you should expect to spend around 75 minutes per week doing the reading for this course.

The readings have been selected to be interesting and accessible, but some of them may be a bit difficult if you’ve never read academic literature before. For the more difficult readings, I provide “reading tips” in the schedule.

Watch the lecture videos

In my lectures, I will draw connections among each week’s readings and try to put them in the context of the broader themes of the course.

You will get more out of the lectures if you’ve done the reading ahead of time. The lectures are not summarizations of the readings, and some concepts will only be introduced in the lectures.

I will post my slides to the course website either immediately before or immediately after each lecture. You must be logged into the course website to download the slides.

Attend recitations

Recitations are your opportunity to learn more actively through synchronous group activities and discussions. You’ll be able to ask questions, clear up confusions, and connect the course topics to your other interests.

Attending recitations is required. You can miss one with no questions asked. If you expect to miss more than one, talk with your recitation instructor.

During the last part of the course, you’ll work with 2–3 others on a case study of a selection system.

Communicate about problems

If an unexpected problem arises for you during the course of the semester (serious illness, etc.), please let me know so that we can discuss an appropriate plan.

Evaluation & Grading

Course grades will be determined as follows:

5% Participation and attendance

5% Weekly reading quizzes

30% Exam #1 (written answers, work on it for one week)

30% Exam #2 (taken online, two hour time limit)

30% Final group project: investigative findings presentation and report

Points will be converted to letter grades as follows:

100-95: A, 94-91: A-, 90-88: B+, 87-85: B, 84-81: B-, 80-78: C+, 77-75: C, 74-71: C-, 70-68: D+, 67-60: D, < 60: F

See the UNC Catalog for definitions of these letter grades.

Extra credit

You can earn extra credit by reading and writing a brief summary of the main points of one of the optional readings. Not every optional reading qualifies—some are too brief to summarize. Check with me beforehand!

Once you’ve gotten my approval to write a summary for extra credit, write and email me your summary. If it is good enough to share with the class, I will do so, and you will earn ½ of a percentage point extra credit at the end of the semester. If it is not good enough, I may ask you for edits and corrections before I award extra credit. You can do this up to five times during the semester, for a maximum of 2 ½ percentage points extra credit.

For example: if you end up the semester with 89 points (B+) and complete three extra credit summaries (1 ½ extra credit points) your grade would increase to 90.5 points which rounds to 91 (A-).

Communicating with me

Email is the best way to communicate with me outside of class. It is particularly well-suited for short-answer and clarification questions.

I will try my best to respond to you within a 24-hour period, but in some cases it may take 2 to 3 days. Please keep this in mind when you are scheduling your own activities, especially those related to exam or assignment preparation. If you wait until the day before an exam or assignment due date to ask me a clarification question, there is a good chance that you will not receive a response in time.

If you need assistance understanding a concept or an assignment, or have another potentially complicated question, then please make an appointment for my office hours. If you ask a question via email that I believe is better suited for in-person discussion, then I will ask you to make an office hours appointment. If you have questions about how your assignment was evaluated, then you must make an office hours appointment. I will not discuss your grades or my evaluation of your work via email.

Honor Code

You are expected to know and respect UNC Honor Code. Collaboration, discussion, and seeking assistance from other students is encouraged in this class and is not inconsistent with the Honor Code. In the case of written work, all words drawn from others must be attributed appropriately.