ILS656 – Information Architecture – An Overview

We are a week into the semester, and I am still pretty excited about this IA class. Since, a couple of people expressed some interest in the class, I thought I would post a bit more information about the class. 

Course Description (from syllabus):

An overview of the concepts and practices of information architecture (IA). Students will develop an understanding of the concepts of IA through reading the existing literature related to IA and we will reinforce those concepts by building complex web sites for real organizations that reflect our best understanding of the organizations mission, processes, goals, clients, suppliers. Students will form IA teams, identify a client, and design and build a web presence for the client.

Course Objectives (from syllabus):

Upon successful completion of this course students will to able to:

  • Author web pages, and design web sites
  • Verbalize the mission of a web site within the context of the organization it serves
  • Use research methods to better understand the environment within which a website will be created or revised
  • Develop navigation systems, labeling systems, and taxonomies for web sites
  • Articulate and apply the principles of information architecture
  • Coherently discuss the meaning of the term, “information architecture”
  • Apply the principles of information architecture to a real situation
  • Create a report describing and making recommendations for web site design.

Course Work:

We have one main project during the semester – to work in teams to create/redesign a web site in accordance with the principles we learn in class. We will prepare a midterm concept report that details an overview of our team’s project and then implement the web site for the final part of the project. The teams and projects have yet to be determined. The professor asked us all to evaluate our skill set – based upon The Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams by Jesse James Garrett – and make some suggestions about ideas for projects. Based upon our input, the professor plans to put together a spreadsheet with suggested teams and projects.

In addition to the team projects, we are required to lead the discussion with one of our classmates during one week of the semester. I think that this will be a major part of our grade for participation within the class.

So Far . . .

When I registered for this class, I didn’t actually have a web site in mind to work with. I was surprised that many of my fellow students actually did. My only thought was that SCSU (or the ILS department) could use some type of web site with information specific to distance learners. I am a bit unsure how this whole project is going to work, but am interested to see how it all plays out.

I volunteered to lead the discussion during the week of April 2nd when we will be studying content management systems. I think I would have preferred to lead the discussion earlier on in the semester, but I am really interested in the topic of content management systems (we are finally getting ready to implement one at my place of work).

Week one has gone well – here’s hoping the rest of the semester goes the same way!!!!


2 Responses to ILS656 – Information Architecture – An Overview

  1. Hi Jen,

    Does the course cover anything related to Content Management? I can’t see how you can do get into IA these days without thinking about CMS, because it can play so much into what you do.

    I know the architecture should drive the CMS and not the other way around, but lack of an inclusion of systems to manage the design of a website seems to me a lacuna in the course.

    I’m still offering administration accounts to people for Joomla CMS: let me know if you want to play with it.

  2. Jennifer says:


    Content management systems is a topic for one of the week’s discussions. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it will fit into the class – but can’t really tell much from the readings assigned for that week. I agree about the importance of CMS in relation to IA.

    Architecture should really drive the CMS, but suspect that in many institutions it is actually the other way around. I will write more about what we actually discuss in relation to CMS.

    I sent you an email about playing around with Joomla – I am definintely interested.

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