SI 575 Community Information Corps Seminar

Professor Paul Resnick

Fall 2001


Last revised 11/28/01 (PR).

Meets Fridays 12-1:30  in 311 West Hall (Informal lunch at 11:30)
CIC Project listings
CourseTools   (for discussion and other nice features: access restricted)

This 1-credit seminar course offers reading, reflection, and social networking experiences for students who are engaged in projects or considering careers as public interest informationists, (i.e., organizing information flows in support of communal and public needs). Many students will enroll concurrently in some kind of project work, either through a Directed Field Experience (DFE), an independent study, or a workshop course.

We will read about and discuss theories of community, civil society, and the role of the non-profit sector, and draw connections with project work (reading and reflection). There will also be frequent opportunities to learn about other students' projects and to meet some of the national leaders of the community information movement (social networking) and possibly travel to relevant conferences and workshops. At the end of this course, students who are interested in pursuing careers in the community information movement should have enough information and connections to begin a job search in this area.

This seminar also serves as a focal point for the School of Information's Community Information Corps, a loosely organized  interest group of faculty, doctoral and master's students, and outside "friends". Several faculty are planning to attend frequently, and students who do not wish to sign up for credit are welcome to come for those sessions that they find interesting.

You are encouraged to participate for multiple semesters (you can take it for credit up four times); while we'll keep revisiting similar themes, there will be minimal overlap in the readings and guests. The faculty coordinator will rotate as well, leading to slightly different emphases in different semesters.

Early in each semester, there will be announcements about project opportunities with faculty and Directed Field Experience opportunities. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their project experiences in the class. Academic credit for these projects, however, will not be arranged through this class. DFEs will be administered through Karen Jordan. Workshop courses have their own course numbers. Other projects will be arranged as independent study directly with the supervising faculty member.




After participating in SI 575, you should be able to:

The Big Ideas

Throughout our examination of these ideas, we will keep returning to implications for the roles of information professionals.

We will keep returning to these big ideas each semester, but usually with somewhat different readings and guests to guide our exploration.


Readings will be handed out in class, or available on the Web. You will need to read materials before class so that we can have lively discussion (see reaction paper assignments below).

Assignments and Due Dates

This is a 1-credit class. Class meets for an hour and a half each week. You should spend, on average, about two and a half hours each week outside of class, doing the following:

Travel and Social Networking

If you find a conference that's worth going to and that you think will help you in assessing job prospects or developing project ideas for future semesters, you can ask me for travel funds.


This class must be elected pass/fail (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). This is not a class that lends itself to conventional grading.

Office Hours

Thursdays 10-11AM and Fridays 1:30-2:30PM. It's a good idea to call in advance or send email, as there are a few days when I'll have to miss office hours.
314 West Hall

Session Schedule

This schedule is likely to be juggled significantly after the semester begins. Please consult the online version for the latest.

Date Topic Guest Project Status Report Readings
Sep 7 Intro-- summer reports and fall previews  
  • Jenny Smith, report on summer internship at Benton Foundation
  •  Nancy Brigham and Hoi-Yin Lo, report on summer internship at Imagining America
start reading the CTCNet manual
Sep 14 More summer work reports    
Sep 21 Why We Do This Work      
Sep 23, 5:00PM Potluck dinner at Prof. Atkins house; discussion on "Why We Do This Work" at 5:30PM, over dinner      Common Fire, by Daloz, Keen, Keen, and Daloz Parks
Sep 28 CTCs Mike Tenbusch, ThinkDetroit
  • Walter Mosley, entrepreneur's report on new social venture, DotCom Detroit
CTCNet startup manual

Albert Fong and Josh Senyak: Into the Mix: Ten Thoughts for Your New Community Technology Center Community Computing Centers for Employment and Education

Oct 5 Working with Diverse Communities Mel King, TentCity Tech Center, Boston
  • Krissa Rumsey report on CTCNet conference
Lisa Delpit: "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children"
Oct 12 Technology for Advocacy Rich Cowan, Organizers' Collaborative, Cambridge, MA  
special session: Oct. 17, 10AM-noon 411 West Hall (Ehrlicher Room) Cheryl Keen, author of Common Fire    
Oct 19 No Class; participate in CPSR annual meeting instead       
Oct 26 The Domestic Institutional Landscape: Non-profits and their funding     Making Nonprofits Work: A Report on the Tides of Nonprofit Management Reform, Paul Light
Nov 2 Digital Libraries and other uses of information technology at Native American Tribal Colleges Carrie Billy, Director of Technology Development & Operations, American Indian Higher Education Consortium   About the speaker

The AIHEC web site

Nov 9 Civic Extension for the Information Age     excerpt from Boyte and Kari, Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work

Civic Extension whitepaper (not in coursepack; will be provided when available)
Nov 16 Community Networks Dirk Koning, Grand Rapids Community Media Center
  • Vishant Shah and Danielle Kurzweil, Online Hate and Muslim Youth
Nov 23 Thanksgiving Break-- No Class      
Nov 30 Recruiters: tech assistance for non-profits, and community networking Kathleen Teodoro, director of training, Michigan NPower;

Peggy Sindt, Executive Director, Albion Economic Development Corporation and Jo King, Clerk, City of Albion
Dec 7 Wrapup      
future date TBA The International Institutional Landscape Vikas Nath, UNDP (invited)   KnowNet Initiative Web site

International Environment and Development jobs site

Early winter speaker ideas: