LIS-S 541 Information Policy
- Prerequisites: LIS-S 500, LIS-S 507
- Delivery: Online
- Semesters offered: Fall (Check the schedule to confirm.)
Information policy concerns the governance of contextual information flows and the systems on which they rely to effect specific ends in support of particular values. Given the power and privilege that can come from having access to information and the role information plays in shaping individual lives, it is necessary to justify information practices according to ethical frameworks. Consequently, this course provides an overview of information ethics perspective and the moral philosophy on which they rely before moving on to the role of policy in regulating information flows. Given growing concerns among various publics, and due to my scholarly interests, much of this course focuses on policy issues emanating from data-based technologies and systems of analysis, including: predictive analytics, scoring, algorithms and their biases, data-based surveillance and surveillance capitalism, and information privacy concerns related to intellectual behaviors.
Program Learning Goals Supported
Instructors map their courses to specific LIS Program Goals. Mapped program goals drive the design of each course and what students can expect to generally learn.
- Facilitate Engagement in the Information Ecosystem
- Examine Systemic Inequalities to Improve Library and Information Practices through Equitable and Socially Just Interventions
Instructors develop learning outcomes for their courses. Students can expect to be able to achieve the learning outcomes for a given course after successfully completing the course.
- Summarize, apply, and analyze theories and concepts from data/information ethics and policy to critique data and information practices.
- Develop ethical and evidence-based recommendations for policy, practice, and technological design.
Instruction is in Canvas. Lessons are organized into Modules whose length may vary.
Module 1: What is Information Ethics?
- explain why information ethics is valuable to information professionals
- differentiate between different approaches to information ethics
- apply a hermeneutic to an information ethics issue
Module 2: The Value of Information Ethics for Data and Information Professionals
- explain the political nature of technological artifacts and systems
- analyze professional codes of ethics for their values and political orientations
- critique the usefulness of principles within professional codes of ethics
Module 3: Global Information Ethics
- differentiate between global and cultural approaches to information ethics
- express the value of a culturally-relative approach to information ethics issues
- identify issues associated with hegemonic, Western information ethics
Module 4: Critical Data Studies
- explain the practical value of critical data studies
- execute an analysis of a data practice using critical data studies approaches
Module 5: Critical Algorithm Studies
- explain the social consequences of algorithms
- employ approaches from critical algorithm studies to analyze an algorithmic practice
Module 6: Defining and Finding Information Policy
- define and illustrate the role of policy in regulating information flows
- explain the contextual nature of information policy across different levels
- analyze a policy and determine how values and norms influence its design
Module 7: Studying Information Policy
- identify information policy's historical roots
- argue for the value of doing information policy work
- develop strategies for studying information policy inclusive of and beyond traditional research methods
Module 8: Types of Information Laws, Policies, and Regulations
- identify common areas of concern for information policy, including access to information, copyright, information infrastructure (e.g., the Internet and its networks), information and data management, and security and surveillance.
- address the role of the Constitution and related historical documents in the development of policy
- recognize how policy patchworks (i.e., the development of interrelated policies developed over time) attempt to address policy problems in response to technology
Module 9: Writing Organizational Information Policy
- explain the role of different structures in information policies
- assess the efficacy of sample information policies based on their understanding of useful policy structures
Module 10: Analyzed and Scored
- identify problematic predictive scoring practices
- address fairness concerns associated with predictive scoring practices
Module 11: Addressing Algorithmic Bias
- identify characteristics of algorithmic designs that lead to bias
- recommend strategies and/or policies for attempting to resolve biased algorithms
Module 12: Dataveillance and Surveillance Capitalism
- discuss factors of Big Data that lead to surveillance practices
- analyze surveillance practices using various theoretical frameworks
Module 13: Intellectual Privacy
- explain intellectual privacy's role in and value to educational environments
- identify potential threats to intellectual privacy in emerging sociotechnical systems
Policies and Procedures
Please be aware of the following linked policies and procedures. Note that in individual courses instructors will have stipulations specific to their course.