Graduate School of Library and Information Science - The University of Texas


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Expectations of Students' Performance

Students are expected to be involved, creative, and vigorous participants in class discussions and in the overall conduct of the class. In addition, students are expected to:

  • Attend all class sessions; if a student misses a class, it is his or her responsibility to arrange with another student to obtain all notes, handouts, and assignment sheets. The assignments presume that students are familiar with all material discussed in class.
  • Read all material prior to class; students are expected to use the course readings to
    inform their classroom participation and their writing assignments. Students must learn
    to integrate what they read with what they say and write. This last imperative is
    essential to the development of professional and scholarly expertise.
  • Educate themselves and their peers. Successful completion of your academic program and your participation in professional life depend upon your willingness to demonstrate initiative, creativity, and responsibility. Your participation in the professional and personal growth of your colleagues is essential to their success and your own. Such collegiality is at the heart of professional practice. Some assignments in this course are designed explicitly to encourage collaboration.
  • Participate in all class discussions.
  • Hand in all assignments fully and on time -- late assignments will not be accepted, leading to failure for the course, except in the particular circumstances noted below.
  • Be responsible with collective property, especially books and other material on reserve.
  • Ask for any explanation and help from the instructor or the Teaching Assistant, either in class, during office hours, on the telephone, through email, or in any other appropriate way. Email is especially appropriate for information questions, but please recall that I do not do email at home and that I try to stay home two days a week. It may be several days after you send email before I even see it.

Academic or scholastic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, cheating, or academic fraud, will not be tolerated and will incur the most severe penalties, including failure for the course.

If there is any concern about behavior that may be academically dishonest, please consult the instructor. Students are also encouraged to refer to the UT General Information Bulletin, Appendix C, Sections 11-304 and 11-802 and the brochure Texas is the Best . . . HONESTLY! (1988) by the Cabinet of College councils and the Office of the Dean of Students.


Students in this class must be analytic in their reading of others' work, in their own writing, and in their presentations. What follows are suggestions for developing analytic and critical methods of thinking and communication. These suggestions are also indications of what you should expect from the writing and speaking of others:

  • First and foremost, maximize clarity -- be clear, but not simplistic or patronizing.
  • Remember that writing is a form of thinking, not just a medium to "display" the results of thinking; make your thinking engaging, reflective, and clear.
  • Provide enough context for your remarks that your audience can understand them but not so much that your audience's attention or comprehension is lost.
  • Be specific.
  • Avoid jargon, undefined terms, undefined acronyms, colloquialisms, clichés, and vague language.
  • Give examples.
  • Be critical, not dismissive, of others' work; be reflective, not cynical.
  • Answer the difficult but important "how?," "why?," and “so what?” questions.
  • Support assertions with evidence.
  • Make explicit why the evidence used to support an assertion does so.
  • Identify and explore the specific real-world, practical, social, and intellectual implications of courses of action.
  • Synthesize and internalize existing knowledge without losing your own critical point of view -- be evaluative.
  • Identify the specific criteria against which assessments of others' work and options for action will be measured.

See the Standards for Written Work and the assignment descriptions in this syllabus for further explanations and examples.

Also please remember that depth of analysis must always be complemented by a holistic, integrative understanding of context.