School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 The Medium Relays the Message

University of Alberta

School of Library and Information Studies

1-Credit Course

Name:         Kevin Zak
Position:      Sessional Instructor, Visual Communication Design, Department of Art and Design.

I.         Course number and title:

LIS 598 Special Topics

The Medium Relays the Message:  The Value and Process of Design in Communications

II.       Dates: November 22 - 24, 2013 

III.      Fees:

            Student: Approximate: $260

            Non Student:  $275 plus GST

IV.      Course Description and Content:

Whether a student preparing for a career in libraries and anticipating the need for effective communication by way of various mediums (print or electronic), or a practitioner today realizing the power of  ‘infographics’,  and looking for the greatest impact as libraries communicate their messages to individuals, groups and communities that internalize messages in a variety of ways, this course will be of interest as it addresses the techniques of  ‘design thinking’ as a problem solving method.  What are basic design principles?  What is the role of the designer?  What should you consider when choosing a designer for a project?  What would he/she require to be an effective part of a team in creating print and online communication materials?  What design tools are available for small and medium sized organizations, as well as the larger systems who must exploit in-house options?  These and other matters will be addressed.


V.        Learning Outcomes:

           This course supports several of the SLIS Learning Outcomes, but in particular:


Outcome #3: demonstrate critical thinking, analytical capacities and problem-solving skills.

Outcome#5: communicate effectively and professionally.

Outcome #9: examine the impact, importance, and limitations of technologies in personal, professional, and social contexts as well as in library and information studies settings.

Outcome #10: be aware of the need for continuing professional education and develop and maintain collegial relationships with fellow professionals.


VI.      Required Text / Readings:

Berger, Warren. Glimmer: How design can transform your life, and maybe even the world: Featuring the Ideas, of Design Visionary Bruce Mau, Toronto:  Random House, 2009.


Recommended Text / Readings:  (optional)

Steven J. Bell. “Design Thinking.”


VII.    Methods:

The course will be delivered primarily by way of lecture, group and individual exercises and discussions, demonstrations, and online video examples.


VIII.   Course Relationships:

           No pre-requisite courses are required.


IX.      Assignments and Evaluation:

Participants will develop a plan for raising awareness for a new service recently added to a community library. How might this new service most effectively reach the potential user group? Create a conceptual approach for promoting this new product and outline a realistic plan including timeframes for various stages listing the types of materials and/or visuals that would be required.


X.        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 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.


XI.      Inclusive Language & Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and 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 backgrounds. 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 Specialized Support and Disability Services.


XII.    Recording Lectures:

Recording is permitted only with the prior written consent of the instructor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.