Emphasis is on demonstrations, hands-on labs, and discussion. Except for a few minimum requirements, assignments tend to be open-ended, and the method of grading is intended to fit that type of assignment. There are 3 minor papers and 3 major papers, due at various points during the term. There are no formal student presentations, but participation in class discussions counts.
The course avoids concentrating heavily on types of packages covered by other electives, especially library automation packages (covered by LIS 530). The main types of software considered are spreadsheet, database management/information retrieval, graphics/presentation, and Internet-related. For the final paper, students have an opportunity to report on packages of their choice in other categories. In addition, the class selects a new piece of software to be added to the FIMS LAN and suggests software that should be weeded.
(There are currently no plans to offer this course again in upcoming terms after 2002 Winter.)