Foundations of Information Science

UNC SILS, INLS 201, Spring 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.

Questions on the two take-home assignments and the midterm will focus on concepts from the readings.

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 lectures

In my lectures, I will draw connections among each week’s readings and 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.

Participate in the online forums

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

During the last part of the course, you’ll use the forums to work in small groups on your case studies.

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:

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.

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.