Frances Whaley


Illinois Valley Community College


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LIB 1000: Research Strategies
Course Syllabus

This course prepares the student to address the challenges of an information-rich society.  Students will learn how to develop an effective research strategy incorporating traditional library materials and emerging technologies. Research Strategies will focus on four areas of information management, often defined as Information Literacy. 

Information literacy is the ability to

  1. Recognize a need for information 
  2. Seek information
  3. Evaluate resources
  4. Use information

Information literacy skills can be applied to academic, professional, and personal pursuits.  This is a one credit hour course which transfers as an elective to many Illinois universities. 


Expected Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: 

  1. Recognize the value of information

  2. Develop or formulate vocabulary based on the information needed.

  3. Access information from appropriate sources.

  4. Critically analyze and evaluate information.

  5. Identify public policy issues relating to the access to and uses of information.

Course Content 

  1. Recognizing the value of information

  2. Basic fact finding

  3. Developing a focus/Selecting a topic

  4. Using an online catalog to find books

  5. Locating periodical articles

  6. Evaluating resources

  7. The Internet

  8. The value of knowledge

Instructional Method

This course will be divided into six units.  The units will include a combination of methods for helping us to achieve the course objectives. 

Readings from the textbook explain basic concepts the course is built around.  The readings will be the foundation for some assignments and discussions, and will be incorporated into the final exam.

Electronic Lectures, prepared by the instructor, provide you with background information about the topics we are studying in each unit. 

Links to additional readings and resources will be provided to supplement the electronic lectures.  Some of these are access through the Jacobs Library e-reserves system.

Discussion will utilize an electronic Discussion Board area of  Blackboard.  A minimum of two times each week you will log onto the discussion area, at the time most convenient to you by the posted deadlines, to respond to posted discussion questions and to comment on posts made by other students in the class. 

Assignments lead you through the use of the Internet and online databases that are available through the IVCC Jacobs Library.  

Project Builders direct you toward your goal of completing your bibliography of citations on the topic you choose to research and is included in the final exam.  It is possible to select a topic to coincide with a research assignment in another class in which you are currently enrolled, with permission from the other instructor.

There will be self-assessment activities to assist you with your learning.  A cumulative final project to be completed near the end of the 8-week session allows you to synthesize concepts from the course while creating a product with technology. 


Instructional Materials

Textbook:  100% Information Literacy Success, 3rd edition, by Wilson, published by Cengage Learning, 2015, online version.

Instructor prepared resources
Supplementary Internet resources
E-reserve readings through Jacobs Library
Course materials and assignments are found in Blackboard. (direct URL: )
Jacobs Library's web page and online resources (direct URL: )

Specific requirements for successful completion of the course 

Participation Policy

This is not a self-paced course.  You will be expected to turn in assignments and to participate in class discussions according to the posted schedule in Blackboard.   Attendance is measured by your 'presence' in the course Blackboard learning environment.  You will need to log into Blackboard at least three times per week and two of those need to include the discussion board postings.  I have aligned most of the assignments and discussion board postings to be due on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, although you can usually choose to complete work within a unit early.  You can expect to spend, on average, about six hours per week on this class because the content is condensed into an eight-week session.  The advantage is that it is all online.  If you have a problem that prohibits you from making progress with your work, contact the instructor.  Late assignments and discussion board postings are not acceptable due to the nature of an eight-week course and that the assignments build upon previous work.  (Please be aware that technical issues on your part are not an excuse for submitting work late, so allow enough time before the deadline.)  Unless otherwise posted, due dates are generally around 11:30pm.  See the rubric for evaluation of discussion question responses that is posted in Blackboard in the Syllabus area.  Studies have shown that your level of participation in the first week of an online class is an indicator of your level of success in the course, so make sure you get a good start by logging in to Blackboard frequently and completing assignments on time. 

Withdrawal Policy

Students may initiate a withdrawal by completing the form in the Records Office or through the form located within WebAdvisor.  (LIB 1000 - Spring 2014 - March 21 is last day for refund and April 24 is last day for withdrawal.)  Entering the student ID number serves as the student's electronic signature.  IVCC has the right to rescind a withdrawal in cases of academic dishonesty or at the instructor's discretion.  It is highly recommended that students meet with their instructor or with a counselor before withdrawing from a class to discuss if a withdrawal is the best course of action for that particular student.  If you have Financial Aid be sure to consult the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawing from a course because there can be an impact on your financial aid.  Contact Records for more information on Withdrawals.  Please note that if you are taking an online class for the first time you must complete the online orientation by the deadline set by the distance learning department or you will be dropped from LIB 1000.

Technical Readiness

There are several tools to help you to determine whether online learning is right for you.  Please refer to the distance learning webpage for guidance.  The Distance Learning Handbook is especially helpful.  I also highly recommend that you have completed the Basic Computer Skills Inventory with an 80% or higher prior to the first day of class.  One of the first assignments in the course is to submit your BCSI results.  See additional information about the BCSI in my Welcome Letter, available via email and Blackboard to those enrolled in the course.

Technical Requirements


You will need access to a computer, either PC or Mac, and a connection to the Internet to participate in the class.  Broadband service is highly recommended.  Individuals who do not have their own computer may use computers in The Learning Commons at the college.  If you are an out-of-district student without a computer please check with your local community college and public libraries regarding computer resources.




Your browser is your gateway to the Internet.  In this course you will be accessing online databases that are browser sensitive.  Therefore it is recommended that you have the current version of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Different online applications behave differently in different browsers so if you have trouble with one, try another.   Google Chrome is a popular alternative.  Recommended browsers for use with Blackboard vary as versions change.  Please visit Blackboard User Guides for more information about what IVCC recommends for Blackboard.

  Internet Explorer Icon

      Microsoft Internet Explorer

Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome

PDF Viewer 

HTML and the Internet are limited when it comes to displaying text and graphics.  Layout artists have been trying to make magazine and book pages appealing to readers for many years. One way to present readers with an online document which is essentially a photocopy of the printed page is through .pdf format files.  PDF files require special viewing software, like Adobe's Acrobat Reader.  The Acrobat reader is freely available and can be downloaded from the Acrobat site.
Adobe Acrobat Reader  

Word Processing 

You will also need a word processing program that will enable you to save and open Rich Text Format (rtf) files.  Microsoft WordOpen Office, or Google Documents are examples.  When saving a document, save it as Rich Text Format (rtf) so that it can be opened by your instructor.  Failure to save the document as Rich Text Format may result in the instructor being unable to open your document and thus grade it.  A document that cannot be opened is the same as a document that was not turned in.  If you are unsure of how to save a document as Rich Text Format, contact me or staff in the Student Help Desk.


You will need to access your IVCC student email account frequently (if not daily, at least 3 times a week).  For more information on how to access and use this email system, please click here or contact the Student Help Desk.  All official college email will go to your IVCC student email account, currently provided via Zimbra.  

Note:  please ensure that your computer does not have any firewalls that can cause an issue with running the technologies necessary for your coursework. 

Methods of Evaluation and Grading

Grading Scale
A     90%
B 80%
C 70%
D 60%

59% or less

Assessments of student learning include:  Discussion Board postings (which will be evaluated according to a rubric posted in BlackBoard), assignments for each of the units, a final project, self-assessments, and a final exam.  The final exam includes a cumulative bibliography of citations produced throughout the course.

You may expect that, in general, I will grade assignments within a week after the due date.  There may be exceptions.  To access grades on individual assignments, feedback on your work, and overall grade in the course, log in to LIB 1000 in Blackboard and choose the My Grades section of the Tools menu area.

Student Assistance

This course is designed to support diversity of learners.  My hope is to create a safe environment for all students.  If you want to discuss your learning experience, please talk to me as early in the term as possible.  If you know you have, or suspect you have, a disability (learning disability, physical disability, or psychiatric disability such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, AD/HD, post-traumatic stress, or others)  for which you may need accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office in B-204.  Tina Hardy (224-0284) or Judy Mika (224-0350) work in that office and can help determine if you are eligible for support. 

In an effort to create a classroom environment that maximizes the success of all students, I encourage you to make me aware of any barriers that may inhibit your learning.  The college provides several support services for students who have barriers to learning.  They include, but are not limited to: Disability Services , Student Help DeskWriting Center/Peer Tutoring, Counseling Center, and Project Success.   

Getting Started

For those of you who have enrolled in the course, please email the instructor,, during the week prior to the course start date.  You will then receive further information on participating in the course.

You will find that what you learn in the class will make your college experience much easier, and the benefits will spill over into your work life and your personal life.

Respect-- one of IVCC's core values of respect, caring, honesty, fairness and responsibility, represented by the acronym ReaCHFaR-- has been chosen as this year's campus wide theme. Respect influences each of us daily -- at school, in our homes, at work, and in our fields of study. Keep the theme in mind as you complete class readings, articulate in class discussions and engage in group activities this semester.


Contacting Me

Office hours:  By appointment only

There is additional instructor contact information for currently enrolled students posted in Blackboard.


last updated 3/7/14