7040 Syllabus (Fall 2020)

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St. Catherine University
Master of Library and Information Science Program

Fall 2020

LIS 7040 G01: Information Access Services (14415)

As of 8/15/2020; subject to change - the most updated information is in D2L.

Credit hours: 3 semester hours
Classroom: Synchronous and asynchronous online
Time: Wednesdays, 6:05-9:05pm 
Contact hours: 45 (15 interactive lecture, 10 discussion, 10 workshop, 10 project work).
Prerequisite or co-requisite: LIS 7010
Instructor: Joyce Yukawa
Office: CDC 45 (working remotely Fall 2020)
Online office hours: one hour before/after class & by appointment
Contact: jyukawa[at]stkate[dot]edu


Course Description
Course Text
Student Learning Outcomes
Assignments & Course Requirements
Assessment & Grading
Other Requirements & Information

I. Course Description

As an introduction to effective reference service, the course addresses philosophy, principles, and practice of reference services, including the selection, evaluation and use of general reference sources; bibliographic control; online searching; reference research; reference interview; information literacy; and functions and management of reference and online services. 3 credits. Prerequisite or co-requisite: LIS 7010.

As the information environment constantly shifts with changes in technology, one important aspect of our work as LIS professionals is to transform user-centered services to be more relevant and to ensure that the core principles and values that guide us continue to flourish. In this course, we will look at core knowledge and practices through the interaction of three facets - information, technological systems, and people - and put our insights into practice through collaborative and experiential learning.

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II. Course Text

Required Text

  • Cassell, K.A. & Hiremath, U. (2018). Reference and information services in the 21st Century: An introduction (4th ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman. Available for purchase in the St. Kate’s bookstore. 

Other assigned readings are listed in the Calendar and further readings are listed in the class wiki.

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III. Student Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, the student will be able to:

MLIS Program SLOs* Method of Assessment
1. Understand and compare the organization of information for access in print sources, databases, and on the web. SLOs 1, 2, 5, 6 Search Exercises, Online Subject Guide, Bibliography Plan, Class Workshops
2. Understand users' information seeking behavior. SLOs 1, 2, 7, 8 Reference Observations Report, Class Workshops
3. Demonstrate techniques used to retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize information from diverse sources. SLOs 2, 3 Search Exercises, Online Subject Guide, Bibliography Plan, Class Workshops
4. Cite sources precisely using a standard style manual (APA). SLO 2 Search Exercises, Bibliography Plan, Reference Observations Report
5. Evaluate the quality, accuracy, comprehensiveness, timeliness, and utility of individual reference resources. SLO 2 Search Exercises, Online Subject Guide, Bibliography Plan, Class Workshops
6. Understand and use "best practices" in reference and user services, both face-to-face and online. SLOs 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10 Reference Observations Report, Class Workshops
7. Express an integrated philosophy of reference/ information service. SLOs 12 Reference Observations Report
8. Understand and demonstrate information literacy instruction, such as user guides and brief bibliographic instruction sessions. SLO 9, 10 Online Subject Guide, Class Workshops
9. Understand the issues and trends in information access services. SLOs 1, 5, 7 Class Workshops

*MLIS Program Student Learning Outcomes

Information for People  SLO 1: Understand the philosophical, historical, and ethical foundations of the field.
SLO 2: Through understanding the relationships among information, people, and technology, apply library and information science principles and practices.
Research SLO 3: Demonstrate understanding of research methods and the interdisciplinary nature of LIS knowledge.
SLO 4: Apply research knowledge and skills to improve practice, critically evaluate the works of others, and answer questions in the profession. 
Technology SLO 5: Understand the social, cultural and ethical implications of technologies on individuals, organizations, society, and the library and information professions. 
SLO 6: Critically analyze, select, use, apply, and evaluate technologies in  the information environment. 
Social Justice SLO 7: Understand issues of power, privilege, and marginalization in  society and how they relate to the library and information professions. 
SLO 8: Analyze inequities in library and information services and work to empower marginalized groups.
Literacy and Learning SLO 9. Understand and promote literacy for self-­‐actualization and participation in a global society.
SLO 10: Understand learning principles and pedagogy to educate users according to their needs. 
Professionalism and Leadership SLO 11: Understand and apply principles of leadership, management, advocacy, and communication. 
SLO 12: Articulate your own philosophy, principles, and ethics of library and information science and apply them to professional practice.

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IV. Assignments and Course Requirements

Search Exercises (10% of grade)

In two search exercises, students will answer reference questions using various types of reference sources. These exercises enable students to compare the organization of information in databases and on the web, as well as develop better search skills to effectively retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize information.

Due dates: See Calendar

Online Subject Guide (15% of grade)

An online subject guide is a single web page or series of pages that calls attention to useful materials on a specific topic, usually from the perspective of a particular library for its users. The main function of the guide is to direct users to a limited number of highly relevant, quality resources that are essential when beginning an investigation of the topic. Students will create an online subject guide on a topic of interest for a particular library or library system using LibGuides, a popular platform used by many libraries. Students will put into practice a user-centered focus as they retrieve, evaluate, synthesize, and creatively present information.

Due date: See Calendar

Bibliography Plan (33% of grade)

Each student will create a plan and research report for an annotated bibliography on a topic of their choice. An annotated bibliography is an organized listing of resources (papers, books, articles, dissertations, theses, films, websites, or other published and unpublished materials) on a particular subject. Creating a bibliography plan involves selecting, exploring, and refining a topic; using a wide range of reference sources and tools; documenting search strategies and findings; and reporting on the information seeking experiences. As well as an opportunity for exploratory research on a topic of interest, this assignment allows students to test models of information behavior covered in class. The report should include 6 or more annotations of materials that would be included in the planned bibliography. Report should be at least 4,000 words, not including annotations and references.

Due date: See Calendar

Reference Observations Report (27% of grade)

Students conduct two or more in-person observations (at least 4 hours) of library reference interactions at one or more libraries of their choice and write an analytical report of the observations (minimum of 3,000 words). This is an opportunity to synthesize their learning and to apply models of information seeking behavior, "best practices," and critical thinking to an analysis of field observations, as well as to gain insights from professionals in the field.

Due date: See Calendar

ePortfolio Reflection (5%)

Refer to the ePortfolio Guidelines.

The purpose of this assignment is to help you build up your ePortfolio by reflecting on your learning in this course. 

  1. Consider what you believe are the most important things you learned in 7040 and select an assignment (aka "artifact") that embodies that learning. 
  2. Create a 7040 placeholder page in your portfolio, link to or upload the artifact in PDF, and provide a brief annotation with an informative title and brief description that includes the number and name of this course. This will be included in your ePortfolio on the Artifacts page. 
  3. Write a reflection of one or more paragraphs about what you learned from the assignment and connects your learning to one or more of the MLIS Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Consider:
    1. Knowledge, skills, or insights gained or deepened
    2. Challenges faced
    3. Other significant accomplishments 
    4. Impact on how you view information access services
    5. Questions you have or things you want to learn more about 
    6. How any of the above relate to the SLOs 

Due date: Last day of class

Class Participation (10%)

Active class participation is essential to the atmosphere of this class because we learn from each other and participation acts as a model of reference work itself. Full points (10 points) will be given if all the following criteria are met: Completing all search exercises and assignments on time, perfect attendance, regularly contributing to class discussions, regularly contributing in small group exercises, encouraging others to participate in asking questions and making relevant comments during class discussions and lectures. The scale goes down to one (1) point for the following: Three or more absences for a weekly class or one absence for a weekend class, incomplete exercises, no contributions to class discussions, little contribution to small group work.

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VI. Assessment & Grading

Grading Scale

This is a required course. You must earn at least a B grade or you will be required to retake the course.


Numeric Equivalent


A 95-100 Student performance demonstrates full command of the course materials and evinces a high level of originality and/or creativity that surpasses course expectations.
A- 90-94 Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of the course materials and exceeds course expectations all tasks as defined in the course syllabus in a superior manner.
B+ 87-89 Student performance demonstrates strong comprehension of the course materials and exceeds course expectations on all tasks as defined in the course syllabus.
B 83-86 Student performance demonstrates acceptable comprehension of the course materials and meets course expectations on all tasks as defined in the course syllabus.
B- 80-82 Student performance demonstrates incomplete, substandard understanding of course materials, or absence of required work; indicates danger of falling below acceptable grading standard.
C+ 79-77 Student performance is unacceptable; demonstrates unsatisfactory understanding of course materials and does not meet course expectations on all tasks as defined in the course syllabus.
C 76-74 Student performance is unacceptable; demonstrates unsatisfactory, incomplete and inadequate understanding of course materials and does not meet course expectations as defined in the course syllabus.
C- 73-70 Poor work.
WF   Failing grade. Due to not attending class.
F 0-69 Failing grade.


Assignments and Grading

Assignment Grading
Search Exercises 10%
Online Subject Guide 15%
Bibliography Plan 33%
Reference Observations Report 27%
ePortfolio Reflection 5%
Class Participation 10%
Total 100%

Assignment Due Dates & Absences

All assignments are due by 11:30pm on the due date. Late assignments will be accepted for up to 3 days after they are due, with a 5% reduction in grade per day late. In case of emergency, please contact the instructor responsible for the assignment prior to the due date for an extension. In the case of an excused absence, make-up of course requirements (e.g. exams, quizzes, practical exam, papers, etc…) must be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. It is the student's responsibility to arrange a make-up schedule with the course instructor(s) PRIOR to the absence. In the case of an unexcused absence, make-up of course requirements that were missed must be completed by the student within three (3) school days of their original date. If not completed within this timeframe, the total point value of the course requirement is forfeited.

Incomplete Grade

A grade of incomplete is given only when unusual circumstances deem it appropriate. Ordinarily, such circumstances would involve matters that are not wholly within your control, such as illness. If you wish to receive an incomplete grade you must complete a Petition for Incomplete Grade form (available online) no later than the last day of the term in which course requirements are due. You must be making satisfactory progress in the course and you must have completed 75% of the course at the time the petition is filed. Incompletes are awarded at the instructor’s discretion. If granted, the normal deadline for completion of the work is no more than eight weeks after the last day of classes in the session or sub-session in which the course is offered. The instructor may establish a due date after the normal deadline if you request it and special circumstances warrant it. The instructor will submit an alternate grade that will automatically be recorded if you do not complete the requirements for the course by the deadline. If you complete the course requirements in the time allotted, the instructor must submit the final grade by the deadline. Extensions to the due date originally agreed to by you and your instructor must be approved by the appropriate academic dean.

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VII. Other Course Requirements & Information

SCU Attendance Policy

St. Catherine University defines attendance as participating in the faculty and student interaction required by the course. The manner of participation used for attendance is defined by the format of the course. For online courses, attendance means following the communication requirements and due dates on the syllabus. For in-class learning, attendance means that (1) students are expected to arrive at class on time and stay for the duration of the class; and (2) students, whether present or not, are responsible for in-class content. For hybrid courses, students must follow both the online and in-class attendance requirements. For individualized study (e.g. independent study, directed study, research credits), communication during the first week is required to establish attendance. Failure to attend, for any reason, may be taken into account in the evaluation of the student's work. Each instructor will include the attendance/participation policy in the course syllabus.

It is not required that attendance be reported throughout the semester. However, it is required that registered students attend the first day of class, or first week for online/individualized study/off campus courses that do not meet on a specific day. Regular class attendance (for in-class), or online communication (for online learning) is expected of all students.

Students who do not attend the first day/first week of class will be withdrawn from the course by the Registrar’s Office. Faculty who elect to take attendance have the option to request course withdrawal for students who do not attend the class for 14 consecutive calendar days. Under all other circumstances, the student must initiate withdrawal from a course. Even if a student does not attend class meetings or does not log into the online course, the student remains financially responsible for paying tuition for the course, up to the date of formal withdrawal. The academic calendars on the University's website contain the add, drop and withdrawal deadlines.

Professionalism and Academic integrity

You are responsible for checking your St. Kate's email account for messages from the instructor. Check your email at least once a day.

St. Catherine University expects each of its students to uphold the Student Code of Conduct, which includes civility, respect for differences, and academic integrity and honesty. Appropriate credit must be given to original creators of all works used. Major violations are cheating and plagiarism. Cheating includes copying others’ works, collaborating without authorization, and accessing others’ computer files without authorization. Plagiarism includes intentionally or unintentionally using someone else’s words, works, thoughts, or expression of ideas without giving proper credit. Please see the St. Catherine University Academic Integrity Policy.

Americans with Disabilities Act

St. Catherine University is committed to equal access for all and recognizes that disability is an aspect of diversity. The University’s goal is to create learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and welcoming. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to the learning environment, accurate assessment or your achievement, please contact the Resources for Disabilities office as soon as possible. Access Consultants can be reached in the O’Neill Center on the lower level of Coeur de Catherine or by phone at 651-690-6563 to discuss academic adjustments or accommodations.

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; (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.

Religious Holiday Accommodation

With St. Catherine University’s ongoing commitment toward social justice and its openness to students of diverse religious backgrounds, the university acknowledges that students maybe absent from class and curricular-related activities because they are observing a religious holiday. Absence from classes or examinations for religious reasons (or observance) does not excuse students from responsibility for any coursework required during the absence. Students will provide faculty with reasonable notice (preferably within the first two weeks of the term) of their religious observance including the dates of religious holidays on which they will be absent. Faculty may expect a reasonable limit to the number of such requests from any one student. Faculty will work with students in advance to agree upon an appropriate plan and timeline for completing or making up any coursework that is missed due to religious observance. For the full policy, see the St. Catherine University Religious Holiday Accommodation Policy

Liberal Arts Goals

LIS 7040 Information Access Services advances the attainment of the University’s “Goals of a Liberal Arts Education”, specifically as this course prepares students to explore the nature of critical thinking in library and information science. Specific liberal arts goals addressed in this course include: Ethics and Social Justice, Diversity and Global Perspectives, Critical and Creative Inquiry, Discipline-Based Competence.

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