Official Syllabus

Instructor: John R. Marks, IV
Office: William Johnston Building (WJB 2027)
Office hours: TBD

Unless other arrangements are made, you must attend the section for which you are assigned.

Course website(s): LIS3353
The primary means of course communication will be this website, in Canvas and your FSU email.
Canvas will be used for turning in class assignments and classwide announcements ---(but not as a primary means of communication, i.e. Canvas Conversations will not be used. Use Email Instead.)


Information and communication technologies do not merely affect societies, they fundamentally define them. Currently, the rapid technological advancement of such technologies is introducing radical change. Understanding the technology that undergirds these changes is essential to literally every aspect of modern life, from getting a job to saving the world. This course provides future IT professionals with a solid foundation of the concepts, both theoretical and practical, that comprise the core of IT.


The purpose of the course is to provide foundational knowledge of the technologies that undergird our current information technology landscape, and to develop an understanding of current trends in IT. By the end of the course, students will understand the folllowing.


No textbooks are required for the class, all materials will be available online via course websites or handed out in class. No readings are due for the first class meeting.

It is preferred that students have access to a Linux, Windows, or Mac computer. Students may be required to

- Perform basic end-user computing tasks
- Access and evaluate Web tools
- Use an SSH shell
- Perform basic text editing
- Use VirtualBox to install and run a lightweight virtual machine


Note: Many find this course to be fast-paced and work-intensive. You will have to work to learn to manage your time and efforts well in order to complete each assignment by its due date, while juggling the obligations you have elsewhere. The real IT and ICT world is like this, too, so learning and applying the project and time management skills necessary to complete this course will serve you well in the long run. If at any point you feel like you’re in danger of “falling off the rails” with the course schedule, please talk to us. The sooner you let us know the sooner we can help get you back on track!

In Class

Class time will be devoted to lecture and discussion of relevant concepts, current technology, your questions, and discussion of readings/postings. You are expected to complete any assigned readings and homework before class, and be prepared to contribute to group and class discussion. I expect you to show respect for your classmates and for me, and to assist in the establishment and maintenance of a positive learning environment. Please turn off your cell phones and other electronic communication devices before class. Laptop usage is necessary in some discussions, and will be monitored.


Tuesdays will be reserved for lectures. The professor or guests will lecture on a relevant topic to the class. Attendance is mandatory, absences must have a valid excuse and it is up to the student to catch up with the class' material.


Thursdays' meetings are also mandatory. Content herein may vary; some sections will also be in a lecture format in order to fully explore the voluminous amount of information we are going to cover. Other sections will comprise "hands-on" exercises, such as dissassembling a computer. Finally, some will be "Discussions" which will be detailed below.


Individual Assignments

You will complete up to 5 individual assignments during the course. Full details of the individual assignments will be posted on the Assignments page of the course Web site and linked to from the appropriate weekly module. Details of due dates are given in the Course Calendar.

Groupwork: Discussions and Reactions

In order to give you time to reflect, react, and discuss the topics of the week, most Thursdays will be dedicated to in-class discussion. Generally, the professor will lead the class in a discussion regarding the weeks topic; additionally, for each discussion, one team per section will be designated as "on-call," which will be explained below.

If your group is not on-call:

Read the materials, study the slides, and participate intelligently in the discussion to the best of your interest and ability. At the END of the class time, the professor will present a "summing-up" question or questions. Your team will be expected to post at least one answer to the question to the "Reaction Board" which will be available in Blackboard. These will be graded pass/fail in order to stimulate interesting discussion. For the first few weeks, any reasonable answer will be given a passing grade, though the professor or TA may comment on sub-par answers, in order to prepare you for later weeks, in which pass/fail goes into effect.

If your group IS on-call

Read the materials, study the slides more than you usually do — and BE PREPARED TO INTERACT with the professor during discussion time. When the professor poses a question to the class, the on-call group is expected to be at the forefront of the conversation; prepared to address issues and clarify matters for the rest of the class.

Note: It is your responsibility to inform me and/or the TA of any problems, issues, or concerns experienced with group work or with members of your group. At my discretion and after consultation with the group, individuals who are not contributing productively to a group may be separated out and told to complete the project individually or have their group project grade adjusted.

Groupwork: Team Paper/ Presentation

There will be at least one large deliverable to be completed with your group. Skills in both traditional academic writing and modern presentation design will be of use.


Two quizzes will be given during the course. Each will cover half of the course.

Attendance and Participation:

Attendance will be taken most days. Participation, especially on "discussion" days is also required; students should be prepared to ask and answer questions; failure to do so may result in a reduced grade.

Grade Breakdown

Individual assignments (5% each)	25%
	- First Group
	- Linux Assignment
	- The rest TBD
Quizzes					20%
Discussions - On call			5%
Discussions - R.Board Posts 		20%
Team Paper / Presentation		20%					
Attendance and Participation		10%


Your final letter grade, derived from the final percentage from above, will correspond directly to the standard CCI grading scale.

Personal Instructors' Note

My first and foremost goal in class is effective and innovative teaching, and it is frequently useful to relay ideas and thoughts in a creative manner, often through, e.g. colorful stories and anecdotes.

To this end, I declare that nothing I, John Robert Marks, IV say or write in conjunction with class or school should be considered legal or financial advice, you should seek these elsewhere.

More broadly, I declare that nothing I say or write in conjunction with class should be considered the truth, legally binding or otherwise, for any matter except those related directly to students' academic learning or other academic experience within the confines of this course.

Everything below here comprises language that is required or recommended to be present in all syllabi.

Attendance and Participation

Failure to be present or prepared when called on in class or to participate in lab activities will lower your attendance and participation grade. If you know you will miss, be late to, or need to leave early from a class or lab, a professionally written e-mail explaining your absence must be sent to me and/or the TA before the beginning of the class or lab. Official documentation (such as a doctor’s note) as to why the absence should be excused must also be provided to me as soon as possible. You are recommended to discuss sessions you missed with your classmates. Accommodations and excused absences will be granted for documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness. The College of Communication and Information takes seriously the University’s policy on attendance (

First Day Attendance Policy: University-wide policy requires all students to attend the first class meeting of all classes for which they are registered. The School of Library and Information Studies will drop students from a course they registered for if they do not attend the first class meeting. In order to enforce this policy, the instructor will take attendance at the first class meeting by distributing and collecting information cards, and will report absences to the administration of the School.

Late Assignment Policy: Late assignment submissions will not earn full credit; ten percent (10%) will be deducted for every 24 hours an assignment is late. Assignments submitted more than 72 hours (three days) after the due date will not be accepted. Exceptions to this policy will be extremely rare and given at my discretion; in cases of constraints, emergencies, and crises that will result in you submitting an assignment late, you must let me and/or the TA know as soon as possible before the assignment is due. You are responsible for verifying we have received your assignment correctly. There will be no make-up assignments or quizzes. Make-up exams will only be given with written justification and notification.

The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “be honest and truthful and...[to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.” (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; AND (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during the first week of class. This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the Student Disability Resource Center, 874 Traditions Way, 108 Student Services Building, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167, (850) 644-9566 (voice), (850) 644-8504 (TDD), or visit

Some of the materials in this course are possibly copyrighted. They are intended for use only by students registered and enrolled in this course and only for instructional activities associated with and for the duration of the course. They may not be retained in another medium or disseminated further. They are provided in compliance with the Teach Act.

On-campus tutoring and writing assistance is available for many courses at Florida State University. For more information, visit the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Tutoring Services’ comprehensive list of on-campus tutoring options - see or contact High-quality tutoring is available by appointment and on a walk-in basis. These services are offered by tutors trained to encourage the highest level of individual academic success while upholding personal academic integrity.  

Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice.

Statement On Public Health Protocols

In our classroom, I will expect everyone to wear a proper, well-fitting mask.  As our President has informed the university community, FSU expects everyone on campus to use face-coverings.  In regions where virus rates are high, the CDC recommends that even vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor spaces, like classrooms, especially where social distancing is not possible.  Florida infection and hospitalization rates are greater now than they were at the height of the 2020 surge due to the Delta variant, a more infectious and easily transmissible version of the COVID-19 virus.  The best way to protect against serious illness is to be fully vaccinated, but not everyone among us can be.  Because the Delta variant can infect even vaccinated individuals and can be spread by them to others, it poses a special threat to members of the community with underlying health conditions and children at home who are too young for vaccination. 

For these reasons, FSU expects each member of the community to comply with the public health protocols our President set forth on August 9, 2020, including (1) wearing masks in public indoor spaces, (2) getting fully vaccinated, (3) being tested for the virus if you have symptoms, and (4) staying home and away from others if you are sick.  Please remember that you should NOT attend class in person if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are quarantining after exposure.  Finally, please bear in mind that the COVID-19 situation is fast moving and that university guidance on the issue may change at any time. 

Statement for Classes Subject to HB233 Recording

In this class, consistent with state law and university policy, students are permitted to make recordings of class lectures for personal use only.  As noted, sharing, posting, or publishing classroom recordings may subject you to honor code violations and legal penalties associated with theft of intellectual property and violations of other state law.  Moreover, students and educators have expressed concern that recording classroom activities may negatively impact the learning experience for others, especially in classes that involve questions, discussion, or participation.  To protect a learning environment in which everyone feels free to experiment with ideas, we ask you refrain from recording in ways that could make others feel reluctant to ask questions, explore new ideas, or otherwise participate in class.  Students must monitor their recording so that they do not include participation by other students without permission.  Students with disabilities will continue to have appropriate accommodations for recordings as established by the Office of Accessibility Services.

Statement for Courses Not Subject to HB233 Recording

In this class, consistent with state law and university policy, you may not make recordings of classroom activities without the permission of the instructor.  This policy applies to both audio and video recordings.

Backlinks: FSU Courses:LIS3353