What is LIBR 203?

iStudent Blog

Are you getting ready to start your first semester at SLIS? As you wait to get started you have most likely read about INFO 203, the class that all MLIS students must complete successfully within the first four weeks of their first semester. (MARA students take an equivalent to 203 entitled the New Student Technology Workshop.)

So what is LIBR 203 and why is it so important?

SLIS faculty want to empower you to be successful online students. They want you to have the skills and knowledge needed to complete a fully online program.

There are nine modules to complete in 203. Here’s my take on them…

1. Learning management system

You have to learn how to use a learning management system; SLIS currently uses D2L. If you have never taken an online course let alone an online degree, learning how to use D2L is your top priority. The majority of SLIS courses have sites on the learning management system. Each class has its own set of pages which are organized by the professor. Within the course pages you will find lectures and notes, readings and dropboxes for assignments, and discussion boards.

2. Social networking

Module two will introduce you to blogs as well as some other social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Blogging and using a blog can be a big component of many classes. I have created at least three different blogs during my time at SLIS, which the professor reads and evaluates.

3. Technology tools

Don’t worry, it sounds scarier than it is. The technology tools SLIS needs you to be able to use include Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Adobe Reader. This module also urges you to start using some kind of password and login manager. If you don’t already, I highly recommend you write down your passwords and usernames and keep them in a safe spot.

4. Web conferencing – Blackboard Collaborate

Collaborate is the main mechanism for live class sessions that meet at a specific day and time. Not all courses require that you attend live sessions. In fact, many instructors record lectures that you can view at any time. Also, in some courses, students make live or recorded presentations using web conferencing. In INFO 203 you will be required to attend a Collaborate orientation where you will try out your microphone and say hi.

5. Tools for collaborative group work

Going to school online is quite different than attending class in a face-to-face setting. Module five helps you navigate these differences. One big difference? Doing group work online. It can be intimidating. But many courses require group work. This module helps you set up a Google Drive account, which is typically used for group work. You will also learn about Blackboard IM, an instant messaging system where you can chat with your classmates and professors or start a live conferencing session which can include audio and video. I use these tools every semester!

6. Email notification systems

An email notification system is a great way to stay up to date with information as it is released. Our school uses SLISAlert, an email notification system that you must subscribe to during this module. SLISAlert sends out administrative information for all students. It also gives you a heads up about local events, library tours, and conferences that might be happening in your area.

7. King Library

Module seven introduces you to the King Library and its website – a place you will visit often. I even have the King Library bookmarked as a “favorite” in my web browser. Needless to say, King Library is the starting point for all of your research, so the sooner you can navigate your way around the library’s website, the better off you will be.

8. APA style

You need to learn and understand APA style for writing papers and citing your sources. APA style is required for all papers submitted at SLIS. So, find a website you like that explains APA and bookmark it as well. You’re going to need it.


You are probably already somewhat familiar with MySJSU because it is where you can check the status of your application to SLIS. But this module shows you other wonderful ways to use MySJSU – for paying tuition, registering for classes, and checking on grades.

That’s it! After completing these nine modules you will be done and ready to start your online school adventure.

And don’t worry about having to register for this class yourself. You will be automatically enrolled by SLIS staff.

I recommend completing INFO 203 before the semester officially starts. You can begin the course usually two to three weeks before the first day of the semester. Even completing some of the modules before you start other classes can help lighten your load.

If you have any questions about INFO3 let me know.

Additional pages to peruse:

INFO 203: Social Networking course description

MARA – New Student Technology Workshop description


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