This syllabus covers IRLS504 sections 001, 010, 901, 902 and 905. Differences between section offerings are described below.

This syllabus is DRAFT and subject to change until the start of class.

Welcome to the master's degree program at the School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS)!

This course is taken during your first semester to provide you with an introduction to studying and learning at SIRLS. As the first course a SIRLS master’s student takes, IRLS 504 provides an introduction to the library and information professions, to the SIRLS graduate program, and to roles and current issues in library and information services for the 21st century. As such, it is a combination of orientation, advising, skill development and content. The goal is to introduce you to the basic concepts, terminology, literature and issues related to the organization, management, access and use of knowledge and information resources and the provision of library and information services. The course also orients students to basic information about the SIRLS program and provides practice in the activities that will lead to success in graduate school.

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Office: 520-621-3565
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Academic Year: 


Course ID and Name: 

Section Number: 

Course Syllabus

Course Prerequisites: 

There are no course pre-requisites.

Sections 001 and 902 are hybrid offerings with both online and face to face components. Sections 010, 901 and 905 are delivered fully online.

Online components of all sections are conducted in the Desire-to-Learn (D2L) virtual learning management system.

Students should familiarize themselves with D2L prior to beginning the course. See Students should expect to login to the course on or before the first day of class.

Students should meet the technology requirements expected of all SIRLS students. See and

Review the New Student Checklist. There are instructions on essential tasks all new students need to complete before IRLS504 begins. See

The course opens in D2L no later than the first day of class, often a few days before. Visit and select IRLS504 from your list of available courses.

Course Description: 


This offering of IRLS504 is a full semester-long course divided into weekly units. For all sections, the lecture components, assignments, quizzes, readings, announcements and other activities as described further below will be available and delivered online through the D2L learning management system.

The sections differ, however, in the format of the primary discussion activities. Each week, study questions and discussion topics relating to course content and activities will be posted. Students are required to participate in regular discussion as suggested by the readings and study questions, vocabulary terms and other discussion items. There are two options for participating in the required discussion activities, as follows:

  • Sections 001 and 902 will meet face to face each Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:00 pm in a classroom on campus to be announced. Discussions will take place in a traditional classroom environment. Attendance is mandatory.
  • Sections 010, 901 and 905 will be assigned to online discussion sections. Discussion will take place via written threaded conversation using the Discussion tool of D2L. Participation is mandatory.

Other than the manner of participating in primary discussion, no differences exist between the sections in terms of content, rigor or level of participation. The online course components are asynchronous, meaning the student is not required to log in at a particular time, but they are not self-paced and all sections will move as a group and complete assignments and activities according to schedule. Students in all sections are expected to login regularly, at least three times per week, as part of the class participation component of the course and to retrieve materials and assignments in a timely fashion.

Students may switch sections to/from face to face or virtual only during the first week of the course. After that, students are committed to their chosen method for discussion.

Course Components

Lead Instructor. The lead instructor for this course will be Bruce Fulton. The role of the lead instructor is to guide, manage and organize the course and to provide evaluation. However, much of the course content will be provided by guest instructors, including other SIRLS core and adjunct faculty and guest lecturers.

Module Plans. Each week, one of the lecture components available in D2L content will include a module plan that is your guide for the topics of the week, terminology, readings, study questions for discussion, and assignments and any other instructions.

Lectures, readings and assignments as described in the module plan will be visible to students on Sunday for each weekly module and organized for access and retrieval in the Content section of D2L.

Lectures. Lectures may take several forms, including written lectures, video or audio lectures, voice over PowerPoint slide lectures and other types of media presentations. Links to the lectures are provided in the D2L Content tab and will be organized by week and topic.

Readings. Most weeks, there will be two sets of readings (or other multi-media resources)  listed in the module plans. The first set of readings and any lecture resources along with study questions should be viewed/read and prepared for Discussion 1 (see below). The second set of readings provides additional insight into the primary topics of the week, or introduces new topics and supplementary resources for greater understanding. Study questions will be provided and will be discussed (Discussion II) in smaller groups in D2L discussion sections comprised of students from all face to face and online students. Discussion I and Discussion II are described in more detail below.

Discussion I. Discussion I is guided by the lead or guest instructor and focuses on the main topic(s) of the week. The study questions included in the Module Plans guide Discussion I, but discussion is not limited to those topics. All students must be active participants in Discussion I, whether in the face to face or online discussion sections. Each student is expected to make at least five substantive contributions to Discussion 1 per week. A substantive contribution is one that adds intellectual information or ideas to what has already been said. Examples might be comparing or contrasting with another idea, bringing in new information, making an analytical comment of your own.

  • Discussion I for the face to face sections takes place Wednesday of each week beginning at 3:30 pm in a classroom on campus TBA.  
  • Discussion I for the online sections takes place in assigned discussion groups on D2L and must be completed Wednesday of each week by 11:59 pm Tucson time.

Discussion II. All students, face to face and online sections both, will be assigned to small study groups for the purpose of discussing each week’s set of readings. Each group will select a Discussion II leader, which will rotate weekly among the group members. Each group will discuss the second set of readings and study questions in a private D2L discussion area, and the discussion leader of the week will report back with a summary of the discussion in a designated discussion section of D2L. All students are responsible for reading all of the Discussion II summaries.

Quizzes. D2L includes a quiz engine, and nearly every week, there will be a quiz on the topics presented. These quizzes are mostly, but not always, terminology focused, based on the terminology listed in the module plan. A quiz will open on Wednesday of each week and close at 11:59 on Sunday. You are required to take the quiz at least once but you may take it as many times as you like. Smart studiers will use it as a tool to test and reinforce their understanding. The grades on the weekly quizzes will not count per se, but your record will be reviewed so the instructor can see how you are coming. Failure to take quizzes in the week in which they are offered will adversely affect the class participation grade. Some guest instructors may not use terms and quizzes, but that will be clear in their module plans.

Exams. There will be a mid-term exam consisting of terminology, short-responses, and an essay. There will be a final exam covering terminology, short responses, and a take-home essay. Additional details will be released in class.

Assignments. In addition to weekly discussion, there are several assignment to be completed over the semester. Details on each of the assignments and due dates will be posted in the course. A brief summary of assignments includes:

  • Tour of a library or information organization and an interview with a librarian or other information professional.
  • Term paper, based on an issue of your choice. Your paper must have a thesis. Additional instructions will be posted when the course opens.
  • Job Search Assignment. You will research job postings on an information job of your choice as the course progresses, and submit a final report on what you found towards the end of the semester. Job search will be a weekly activity.
  • Report back assignments. Occasionally, you will be assigned to find or research something on the web and report back to D2L. Details of these, and other miscellaneous assignments will be described in the module plan.
  • EPortfolio Reflection. SIRLS uses an EPortfolio consisting of four very substantive reflections on your academic work in lieu of a final comprehensive exam. The ePortfolio will be explained in detail by a guest lecturer during the course of the semester. The first reflection due covers your 504 experience and must be completed by the end of the course. The ePortfolio reflection is not graded, however failure to complete it will lower your course grade.

Dropbox. D2L provides a digital dropbox where some assignment submissions can be made. Assignments will indicate whether they should be submitted to the dropbox. The D2L dropbox tracks when submissions are made and will lock out late submissions.

Course Objective: 

By the completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts and terms in foundational content areas;
  • Give examples of how the concepts can be applied in libraries and other real-world information settings;
  • Show evidence of critical thinking in applying concepts, principles, theories and research to contemporary library and other information settings and issues.
  • Demonstrate the ability to write an academic research paper involving a thesis and references cited correctly.

Required Course Materials: 

There is no required textbook. All necessary course readings will be provided or linked for download.  Supplementary recommendations will be made for students who wish to acquire a text book for reference.

Course Requirements: 

There are no additional course requirements other than regular prepared participation in discussion and completion of all assignments as listed in the description above and the detailed instructions posted in D2L.

Course Grading: 





Class participation and discussion



Mid-term Exam



Interview and tour



Issue Paper



Final Exam







Assignments must be complete and submitted by their due dates and times in order to receive full credit. Late or incomplete assignments will be penalized.

Grading Scale


900 – 1000 points


800 – 899 points


700 – 799 points



Assignments not specifically graded and quiz participation are included in the class participation and discussion component of the grade.

In graduate school, a course grade of C is indicative of academic problems. Students must receive a grade of B or higher in this course to continue the SIRLS program.

Writing Guidelines

Norms of graduate level writing including appropriate organization, level of expression, use of standard grammar and spelling, and citation of resources are expected in this class. All graded assignments include elements of writing competence. Help in improving writing is available through the Writing Center  The following Web sites offer excellent advice as well.

    The OWL at Purdue University:

    Chuck Guilford, Paradigm Online Writing Assistant:

Course Policies: 


Face to Face Sections. Attendance in the face to face Discussion I component is mandatory. All holidays or special events observed by organized religions will be honored for those students who show affiliation with that particular religion. Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean’s designee) will be honored.

Virtual Sections and Virtual components of Face to Face Sections. Regular logins and participation in discussion components are mandatory and tracked by the D2L system. The course is not self-paced. Students should plan on logging in regularly throughout the week to review and respond to course materials and readings, discussion posts and announcements. Infrequent logins will adversely affect the participation grade for discussion.

Accessibility and Accommodations

It is the University’s goal that learning experiences be as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability, please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact Disability Resources (520-621-3268) to establish reasonable accommodations.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to abide by The University of Arizona Code of Academic Integrity, see The guiding principle of academic integrity is that a student's submitted work must be the student's own.' If you have any questions regarding what is acceptable practice under this Code, please ask an Instructor.

Syllabus and Schedule

The information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.


Incompletes are not generally approved except under exceptional circumstances in advance consultation with the instructor. The grade of may be awarded only at the end of a term, when all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed. The grade of is not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when the student is expected to repeat the course; in such a case, a grade other than must be assigned. Students should make arrangements with the instructor to receive an incomplete grade before the end of the term. If the incomplete is not removed by the instructor within one year the “I” grade will revert to a failing grade. See


Instructor Contact

Bruce Fulton, MLS, PhD

School of Information Resources and Library Science

1515 E First Street

Office: 520-626-4631

Office hours: Wednesdays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm or by appointment. Students in virtual sections who are unable to meet face to face can be accommodated by phone or video conference using Skype.




College of Social and Behavioral Sciences