School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 585 Multimedia Literacies

Course Outline
Winter 2017

InstructorDr. Margaret Mackey
Phone: (780) 492-2605
Office: 3-11 Rutherford South
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday, 10.30 a.m.11.30 a.m., or by appointment
Class times: Wednesdays: 1:30 p.m.–4:20 p.m. in 3-01 Rutherford South

Calendar Description:
An introduction to the theories, practices and implications of multimedia literacies. Examples of multimedia texts include print, video, audio, CD-ROM, DVD, computer programs, digital games, hypermedia, Internet sites, graphic forms, electronic books, and text-based toys, games, and commodities. The course will explore the cultural, social, commercial, and educational issues raised by the proliferation of such texts.

Course Objectives:

  • To explore a variety of texts produced in different media.
  • To investigate changing forms of reception and production of contemporary media.
  • To expand understanding of the implications of widely accessible multiple media for literate habits, behaviours, and strategies.
  • To develop insight into the implications of transmedia productions, multiple adaptations and transformations (including the creation of text-based artifacts) on the aesthetic and/or informative impact of particular texts.
  • To explore the commercial base of the text industry as it affects interpreters.
  • To consider implications of current developments for individuals and institutions.
  • To develop criteria for selection and use of multimedia materials.
  • To consider the roles of libraries and makerspaces in relation to multimedia production

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

  • Drawing on the great range and variety of media practices and pleasures experienced by class members, and making use of examples produced in class both by the instructor and in student presentations, students and instructor will co-create a broader understanding of the potential and the complexities of new and old media.
    • Measures:
      • journal responses
      • group presentations of media topics and themes
      • class discussion
      • end-of-term reflection media text 
  • Using the range of examples introduced in class as raw material, students will develop greater awareness of how the role of libraries must adjust to take account of new realities.
    • Measures:
      • journal responses
      • class discussion
      • end-of-term reflection
      • optionally in media text
      • reflections on class visit to makerspace
  • Drawing on the course reading list and investigating the implications for literacy of a broad range of formats and media, students will enhance their awareness of the creative complexity of new and old media.
    • Measures:
      • journal responses
      • class discussion
      • end-of-term reflection
      • group presentations of media topics and themes  


  • Study of a range of texts in a variety of media.
  • Close exploration of a small number of texts that have been adapted into a large number of different media.
  • Investigation of interpreters’ text processing behaviours in the context of domestic media consumption and production.
  • Analysis of changing commercial frameworks of recreational and utilitarian textsExploration of the broad cultural landscape of converging multimodal texts.
  • Consideration of the place of makerspaces in a multimodal world.

Seminar discussions, lectures, work with extracts and full texts in different media, small group work, student presentations and field trip.

Course Relationships:
LIS 501 is a pre-requisite.  Students outside of the MLIS program are encouraged to inquire about special permission to take this course.

Required Texts:
A set of required readings, available in Henderson Hall and via the University of Alberta Libraries. 

Assignments and Weighting

Reading journal                 18%

Essay/media presentation              20%

Class presentation                          35%

Final reflection                                12%

Class contribution                           15%

School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:
Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade.

Academic Integrity:
The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy.

Inclusive Language and Equity:
The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of respect for all people within the university community and to educating faculty, staff, and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Recording of Lectures:
Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.