Instructor: Dr. Casey Fiesler
Office: ENVD 201
Office Hours: after class or by appointment

Time: Fridays 8:30am-11:00am
Location: ENVD 201 (INFO “Garage”)

Class Schedule

This course surveys foundational theories and concepts in information science. Students will learn to read and reflect critically about seminal texts, tracing their intellectual genealogies from a variety of originating disciplines to their appropriation by information science. Students will apply these theories to contemporary issues and problems.

Because this class is being taught for the first time, and because the class size will be small, it may evolve to meet the needs and interests of the students. Any major changes (e.g., assignments) will be discussed with the class before the change is made. Reading assignments will likely change over the course of the semester as well but any changes will be announced no later than the class prior to when the reading is due.

There is no required physical textbook for this course. Readings are for the most part individual academic articles, book chapters, and news articles. All readings are either public online, available through the CU library, or will be provided via D2L.


Openness and disagreement
It is imperative for any course that students feel comfortable sharing their opinions and questions openly. Disagreement is expected, but must be respectful and civil at all times. Students should feel welcome to share their thoughts during class discussion without any fear of being disparaged for their opinions. Like yourselves, I also have opinions. I will attempt to surface my own biases when appropriate (which I also encourage students to do!). These disagreements or differences of opinion will not impact grades, so long as students are respectful. If at any time you are uncomfortable in this regard with class discussion, please speak with me about it.

Participation Grading
Particularly because this class meets only once per week, class attendance is expected and required. If you need to miss class for a legitimate reason, please send me an email prior to the start of class. Legitimate reasons for missing class include illness, a job interview, or a religious holiday. Excuses that will not be accepted include, for example, picking someone up at the airport or having an assignment due in another class. Your participation in class discussion is also factored into this part of your grade.

Due by 8:30pm on the night before readings are assigned, these should be at least 500 words and should include your thoughts on the day’s readings and topic. The best reflections will tie together readings and tie the readings to outside research or topics. Reflections are due for every class for which there is reading assigned. Though late reflections will not be accepted, the lowest reflection grade will be dropped at the end of the semester. Possible grades include: exemplary (check plus! 100), good (check! 85), acceptable (check minus! 70), or “at least you turned something in” ( 😦  50).

Though the majority of assignments are reading reflections as noted above, any other assignments are due at the start of class on the day they are due. Late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 5 points per 24 hours. Assignments more than one week late will not be accepted. Final papers must be turned in by the final exam period or they will not be graded.

Graduate students will choose a topic to specialize in, doing extra readings for a deeper dive into the subject matter. Your grade will be based on two things: (1) longer (at least 1000 words) reading reflections that incorporate extra readings as well; and (2) leadership in class discussion for that topic, including coming up with discussion questions ahead of time.

Attendance & participation 10%
Reading reflections 30%
Specialization topic 10%
Assignments 10%
Final paper 40%


Accommodation for Disabilities
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please provide to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by e-mail at If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Injuries guidelines under the Quick Links at the Disability Services website and discuss your needs with me at that time.

Religious Observances
Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. In this class, this will count as an excused absence provided that you email me ahead of time.

Classroom Behavior
Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression, age, disability, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.

Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, and Harassment
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. CU Boulder will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. CU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, intimate partner abuse (dating or domestic violence), stalking or related retaliation. CU Boulder’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy prohibits discrimination, harassment or related retaliation based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy. Individuals who believe they have been subject to misconduct under either policy should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127. Information about the OIEC, the above referenced policies, and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment or related retaliation can be found at the OIEC website.

Honor Code
All students enrolled in a University of Colorado Boulder course are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of the institution. Violations of the policy may include: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, threat, unauthorized access, clicker fraud, resubmission, and aiding academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found responsible for violating the academic integrity policy will be subject to nonacademic sanctions from the Honor Code Council as well as academic sanctions from the faculty member. Additional information regarding the academic integrity policy can be found at