Wikipedia:Canada Education Program/Courses/Knowledge and Information in Society (Andrew Clement and Siobhan Stevenson)

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Course description[edit]

From the official calendar description[1]:

This course provides an introduction to the ways that information and information processes shape and are shaped by society. In particular, it examines the social, institutional, political, legal, and economic roles of information and knowledge in public life, including how forms of new media, new distribution channels and new delivery systems are affecting traditional means of creating and disseminating information. We also discuss changes that stem from developments in the information environment at the individual, organizational and societal level. Focal issues include: the politics, ethics, and values of information; information as an economic phenomenon; the institutional structure of knowledge and cultural production; and the role of information professionals in all of these activities. The intent is to provide opportunity for students to:

  • take a thematic approach to understanding the nature and role of information in both private and public spheres;
  • create a contextual framework within which to analyze the major social issues and developments associated with information creation, dissemination and use; and
  • consider the various perspectives that characterize current policy discussions on those issues as well as alternative interpretations to conventional wisdom.

Exclusion: INF/FIS 1210

  1. ^

Instructors and Ambassadors[edit]

Campus Ambassadors
Online Ambassadors

Nikkimaria (talk)


N.B. General descriptions about each assignment are provided below. For the definitive version of each assignment, please consult the "Assignments" section of the course Blackboard shell.

Assignment #1: Critical Review of People Are Knowledge[edit]

(1) Acquaint students with the Wikipedia phenomenon including some of the debates surrounding its value as both a dynamic, collaboratively constructed, and global information resource, and increasingly, as a pedagogical tool.

(2) Stimulate student imagination about the ways in which Wikipedia, as one case study of knowledge in society, opens onto many of the complex issues we will be discussing in the course including:

  • What is knowledge, and how is it constituted?
  • Whose knowledge is legitimated and whose is not?
  • What mechanisms are used to determine what is and what is not legitimate information? Who decides?
  • Should people be required to identify themselves when contributing content? What are the pros and cons of identification?
  • Can there be such a thing as a “global education initiative”?
  • What is the relationship between the technological infrastructure (the machines, the wires, the signals, the code, the interfaces) and the content, etc.?

Length: 4 pages, excluding references
Due: Start of class (2pm) October 4, 2011
Overall grade weight: 15%

Assignment #2: Wikipedia Contribution and Reflection[edit]

(1) Provide students with the opportunity to engage personally with the Wikipedia phenomenon through active participation in the editing process. This is an example of authentic learning, that is, student work that has real world implications, however modest, beyond the classroom. These kinds of “real world experiences” are essential for burgeoning information professionals.

(2) Provide students with the context and experience out of which they will prepare a final critical paper of their experiences with Wikipedia as an information infrastructure. Engaging actively in a Wiki article by Week 7 provides sufficient time for comments and discussion with the wider Wikipedia community to unfold and which will contribute to the preparation of the final course paper.

Length: 3 pages, excluding references
Wikipedia article selection due: Start of class October 11, 2011
Wikipedia article edit due: Start of class October 25, 2011
Paper due: November 1, 2011
Overall grade weight: 15%

Assignment #3: Critical Response Paper (Long)[edit]

INF1001 is not a course on Wikipedia, it is a course on the larger social, economic, political, and technological forces that influence historically contingent notions of knowledge and information in society. The Wikipedia phenomenon is but one example of the kinds of changes occurring in the area of knowledge production and distribution. The purpose of this paper is to provide students with the opportunity to reflect critically on Wikipedia or another information infrastructure (with which you are familiar and have recent and direct experience), in light of on‐going information policy debates.

Length: 8‐9 pages (maximum) excluding references
Paper Due: Start of class in week 12 (November 29, 2011)
Overall grade weight: 30%

Assignment #4: Seminar Participation, Weekly Written Blog[edit]

As a graduate seminar course, active participation (sharing of ideas, active listening, engaging in respectful but lively dialogue and debate) is essential, and hence a requirement of the course. Creating an open and safe environment where all individuals are free to explore and express their ideas is the responsibility of all members of the seminar group, including the instructor. To facilitate this, each week, students will write a weekly seminar blog entry and post it to their seminar’s section on Blackboard. The purpose of this blog is to encourage reflection, promote fluency, and “prime the pump” for active and engaging discussions during our small group meetings, all the more important given the size of our cohort within the larger lecture.

Length: 150 words minimum
Due: Weekly. Blogging starts in week 2 and runs through week 12 (due Monday at noon)
Overall grade weight: 15% or 20%
(15 or 20%, to the student’s advantage, making the total seminar participation weight total 25%)

Assignment #5: Seminar Participation, Oral Contributions[edit]

Complementing the weekly blog posting, students are expected to contribute regularly and substantively to the face‐to‐face seminars discussions. As well, especially in the earlier weeks of the course, before the debates start, students are asked to bring examples from the popular media, newspaper archives, the Internet (YouTube video, website), professional literatures, their own experiences etc. that relate to and/or illustrates the week’s topic. The Oral Participation grade will reflect both the quality and frequency of contributions with an emphasis on the former. Recognizing that students vary in their aptitude and comfort with various interactional modes, the weights given to oral and written contributions to class discussions will be tailored to suit their preferences. In particular, the combination used in calculating the aggregate participation grade will be calculated to the advantage of the student.

Overall grade weight: 5% or 10%
(5% or 10%, to the student’s advantage, resulting in seminar participation totaling 25%)

Assignment #6: Debate[edit]

To support active engagement with the topics and classmates.

Overall grade weight: 15%

Starting in week 6, the seminar format will change to include a formal debate on a controversial topic appropriate to the theme and required readings of the week. The debate will last about 50 minutes. The remainder of the seminar will be available for open discussion of the lecture, readings and other assignments.

Suggestions for Wikipedia articles to edit for Assignment 2[edit]

Go to Wikipedia article edit possibilities

Article banners

To mark each article the subject of a student project, add the following code at the top of the talk page for each article: {{ WAP assignment | course = Wikipedia:Canada Education Program/Courses/Knowledge and Information in Society (Andrew Clement and Siobhan Stevenson) | university = University of Toronto | term = 2011 Q3 | project = WikiProject Wikipedia }} That will result in the following banner (and make the articles easy to track):

Students (register here)[edit]

Once you have your WP username, add it to the appropriate seminar list below, maintaining alphabetical order. Optionally, you can include your real name. NOTE: Use the [Edit] link to the right of your seminar heading to do this, not the Edit tab at the top. Use the format for Example User below:

To turn your username from red to blue, you'll need to create your own user page.

Seminar #1 Tuesday 6:30PM AC[edit]

Seminar #2 Tuesday 8:00PM AC[edit]

Seminar #3 Wednesday 9:00AM AC[edit]

Seminar #4 Wednesday 9:00AM SS[edit]

Seminar #5 Wednesday 10:30AM AC[edit]

Seminar #6 Wednesday 10:30AM SS[edit]

Seminar #7 Thursday 9:00AM SS[edit]

Seminar #8 Thursday 10:30AM SS[edit]

Seminar #9 Wednesday 10:30AM MM[edit]