Lesson Plan: Resources in the Virtual Library

This is a lesson plan I created for a class at the technical college I work at.  The full-time librarian and I have noticed a lack of information literacy skills in the adult students (see my previous post about this), and we are making a concerted effort to collaborate with the instructors to incorporate these skills into the classroom.  For this class, the students are working on a project in which they have to create a database from scratch, using what they have learned in class, through their textbook, and articles they can access through the school’s virtual library, which most of the students are unfamiliar with and reluctant to try (of course, they prefer Google!).  The plan is shown below; depending on how the students are able to follow along, I might have to visit the class a second time.  Fingers crossed that it goes well!

Resources in the Virtual Library

Project: To create a database that tracks faculty and staff computers and software.

Learning Objectives:

  • To familiarize students with the Virtual Library and identify types of resources available.
  • To locate resources in the Virtual Library that will help students with database building/development.
  • To practice using the citation tool in databases.
  • To encourage collaboration through use of Google Docs.


  • XML document
  • XPath statements
  • XML schemas
  • normalized logical database design
  • Microsoft Visio
  • MySQL
  • database queries
  • jQuery
  • relational databases

Activity (demo this first, then have students try it on their own)

  • Open up Google Doc created for this class. [Link not included here]
  • Have students pair up with a partner.  Assign one of the keywords.
  • Conducting searches in the Virtual Library:
  1. In another tab or window, log onto the Virtual Library.
  2. In the Basic Search field, type in your search term, then scan the first page of your results.
  3. Click on a resource that you think will be relevant to your project. This will take you to the Detailed Record page.
  4. On the right of your screen, click Cite, then scroll to find the APA citation style.
  5. Highlight the citation (triple-click), then press Ctrl+C to copy. Navigate back to the result list.
  6. Switch to the window that has the shared Google Doc open.  Paste this citation into the Google Doc under references.
  7. Repeat until each pair has located and cited at least 3 resources and transferred them into the Google Doc.


  • Students might end up with same resources — this is okay since many of these keywords are related!
  • Students might have to go to the second page of results to find something relevant, or revise their initial search to find relevant resources.

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