Course Syllabus

Information Literacy, One Half Unit

1/2 Unit Flexible Course

Mizzou K-12

Header image

Course Description: In this course, you will learn research skills using the library and online resources. We will practice different search strategies and techniques to evaluate information so that you can use information resources as genuine learning tools and become successful students and researchers. 
Prerequisites: None.


We are pleased that you selected this self-paced course to fulfill your unique educational needs. You are now a member of the Mizzou K-12's large and diverse student body—a student body that comes from all parts of the United States and many parts of the world.

Although the freedom to choose when and where to study is a privilege, it is also a responsibility that requires motivation and self-discipline. To succeed at self-paced learning, you will need to develop a study plan by setting realistic goals and working toward them. 

Course Introduction

What is information and why should you become information literate?  Merriam-Webster defines information as “knowledge that you get about someone or something:  facts or details about a subject.”  It further explains in the full definition that information is “the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence.”  Information is “knowledge obtained from investigation, study or instruction, intelligence, news, facts, data.” Information may be constructed (in fact, I’m constructing information about this course right now) and measured.  If you are literate about information, you know where to look for information on a specific subject.  

Information comes in many forms, and while some information is reliable and correct, some of it is wrong or unreliable.  What makes information reliable?  In large part, it is the sources distributing the information.  Information Literacy is the ability to understand the difference between reliable and unreliable sources of information, as well as to search for and finding the best source of information for specific information needs and queries.  You’ll practice finding, assembling, and assessing information.

For instance, in a library filled with books and no online service, you may need to find information about dogs.  Information literacy will help you be a more efficient and effective researcher because you will learn that you should first look in encyclopedias, then move on to books about dogs, then glance in the periodicals section and see if they have “Dog Fancy.”  (You would know not to look in a world atlas for information about your favorite type of dog, and that dictionaries and almanacs may have some information, but not a large amount of specific information.)   

If you have online access, you will learn that there are ways to search for specific information about dogs in online encyclopedias, and articles in a variety of periodicals, not just “Dog Fancy.”  You may use a database to find information on the American Kennel Club, and the Westminster Dog Show.  You might also use that database to find out about how to adopt your favorite breed of dog.  You could use the online library/media catalog to find electronic books on dogs—stories, information about how to care for dogs, and tales of brave or important canines—such as Balto.   Who knows, there may be a DVD or book about “Old Yeller” for you to borrow electronically.

In this class, you will practice thinking about ways to solve your reference/information questions.  You will also practice finding information in different ways and forms.  You’ll learn to think of keywords to narrow your search focus, and you’ll assemble information from different types of sources and assess which sources are helpful and which may be ignored, and why.  Thanks to our systems of communication, the world is filled with additional information every second.  This course will inform and refine your thinking and research skills to help you become a wiser information consumer.  

Definitions from:

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you should be able to accomplish the following:

  • Discuss the role of information historically and in your personal life.
  • Discuss the nature of information, its creation, and the different forms it can take.
  • Demonstrate an understanding as to how the information you need influences the information you will use.
  • Identify an area you'd like to research for the course project, the Paper Trail.
  • Determine what information you need for your Paper Trail.
  • Use different criteria to determine the quality of information.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what reference books are, their uses/purpose, and where these items can be found.
  • Perform preliminary research on topics using reference materials that will assist in mapping out topics and pinpointing areas within a topic for research
  • Learn how to brainstorm a topic by creating a concept map or an outline.
  • Create a workable research question.
  • Start using a database for your research.
  • Evaluate information resources based on their relevancy.
  • Demonstrate an expanded understanding of evaluation.
  • Identify key points and arguments.
  • Satisfy the requirements of your Paper Trail assignment.
  • Discuss how a good research question will guide research and revise your question.
  • Demonstrate the difference between the Internet, an E-reference resource, and a database.
  • Demonstrate when to use Web resources as opposed to print resources.
  • Apply the elements of evaluation to resources found on the Web.
  • Construct and explain the information timeline and its relevance to your selection of resources.
  • Describe the differences between various formats of information.
  • Describe the differences in the audience for these diverse publications.
  • Evaluate issues of trust about periodicals.
  • Perform advanced database searches.
  • Demonstrate an understanding as to how audience influences are advertising and how advertising influences content/bias.
  • Judge the credibility of news reports.
  • Demonstrate an understanding as to how the format of the news impacts opinions on a topic.
  • Demonstrate how the media as an industry affects how news is presented.
  • Understand why you should organize your information sources.
  • Learn how to organize your research/information with Zotero.
  • Know what an annotated bibliography is.
  • Identify parts of an annotation.
  • Work on your annotations.

Note: Not all of these objectives will occur in every lesson, but they are the basis for our study.

Required Textbook

  • There is no required textbook for this course. 

† Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection.

Technical Requirements

Minimum Technical Requirements:

Refer to the minimum requirements for all Mizzou K-12 courses on our website as well as in the "Helpful Resources" section of your course.

How is the course graded?


Your final grade will be based on the number of points you earn on submitted work and exams. The available points are distributed as follows:

Weight Distribution
Source Weight
Lesson assignments and quizzes 70%
Exam: Final Project (Paper Trail) 30%
Total 100%


The final project is instead of a final exam in this course. 

Grading Scale
Grade Percentage
A 90–100
B 80–89
C 70–79
D 60–69
F 0–59

How and when will I receive my final grades?

After completing the course, you will receive a grade report that gives your percentage and your letter grade for the course.

Mizzou K-12 will not mail your grade report until all outstanding balances have been paid.


What are graded quizzes and assignments?

Most Mizzou K-12 courses include graded quizzes, assignments, or a combination of the two, with few exceptions. Quizzes are taken online. After you submit them, you’ll quickly receive a report on how you did. Assignments may require you to submit your completed work in the form of a file (such as a text document, image, audio or video recording, or multimedia presentation) or a hyperlink for grading. See your Helpful Resources section of your course for tutorials.

You may use any assigned readings, your notes, and other course-related materials to complete graded quizzes and assignments. The points you earn on your submitted work count toward your final course grade.

You must submit all assigned work in sequence (Lesson 1, then Lesson 2, etc.)

You may submit lessons at your pace. However, passwords for the final exam will not be sent out before six weeks (42 calendar days from) from the date of the 1st lesson submission.


You may use any assigned readings, your notes, and other course-related materials to complete this work. After your work has been graded, you will receive a report that provides individualized feedback and comments on your work. Look carefully at what you missed and read any corresponding feedback. Then study the lesson materials to make certain that you can accomplish the associated learning objectives.

Each lesson provides step-by-step instructions on how to submit your work. Be sure to check submitted work carefully for errors (e.g. spelling, grammar, and punctuation) as they may result in points being deducted.

Canvas automatically allows students to resubmit assignments.

However, students should not resubmit assignments without prior instructor approval.

What type of submitted work will I have in this course?

The work you will submit for this course consists of:

  • multiple choice graded quizzes (scored instantly)
  • written assignments
  • journal entries
  • a course project

Written Assignments

You will complete five written assignments in this course. Points for the each will vary from 5 to 15 points.

Journal Entries

You will complete 15 journal entries in this course. These journal entries will help you prepare and complete your final course project (Paper Trail project). Points for each journal entry vary from 5 to 10 points). You will often be asked to submit multiple journal entries at one time within one lesson. In this case, please only upload/submit ONE document with all required journal entries within. Directions on when to include more than one journal entry in a submission are clearly stated within the Modules area.

Course Project (Paper Trail)

Beginning in Lesson 1, you will select a research topic and begin to develop a research question. You will use this topic and question throughout the course. After you complete Lesson 12, you will develop and submit your Course Project. The final submission of your course project includes three parts. Detailed directions for each part are provided within the course. The course project is worth 100 points. 

Helpful Resources

See the course’s link (on the left-hand navigation) to Helpful Resources for more information about Mizzou K-12 policies, proctored exams, academic integrity, course transfers or withdrawals, library resources, tutorials and more.


If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please let Mizzou K-12 know as soon as possible. If disability-related accommodations are necessary (for example, a scribe, reader, extended time on exams, captioning), please contact Mizzou K-12.


If, when completing any of your assignments or exams for this course, you copy from someone else’s work (published or unpublished) without proper acknowledgment, you are guilty of plagiarism. Proper acknowledgment means that you must use quotation marks around any material you have taken word-for-word from another source and state what that source is. If you have reworded someone else’s ideas, you must cite the source of those ideas. If you copy from someone else’s work (published or unpublished, in print or online) without proper acknowledgment, you are committing plagiarism.

At your teacher's discretion, evidence of plagiarism may be subject to either or both of the following actions:

  • receiving a zero for the assignment or exam
  • receiving an F for the course

Allowing someone to copy from your work is also considered cheating and subjects you to the same consequences.