NCSSM Online Program

Scholar Development


Welcome to the Unicorn Nation.  Scholar Development is the first required course students will take to begin their NCSSM Online Program experience.  It is designed to prepare you to accept the greater research challenge.


Course Overview

Scholar Development is a generally asynchronous, but occasionally synchronous, two-week, online course that will prepare you for the rigors of research at NCSSM.  In addition to individual study, this course requires maturity and initiative to quickly, professionally, and respectfully collaborate within a new group of people.  This is a fast paced course, where groups collaboratively make decisions quickly and move ever forward with creating products of their learning.  Successful completion of this Scholar Development course is require of students before participating in NCSSM Online Program courses.



Time management, individual study, collaboration in groups, and research & information skills, applicable to all fields of study (sciences, humanities, etc.), are a major focus of this course.  Scholar Development will give you practice in the following valuable life skills: (a) communicating with and presenting virtually and across geography to a variety of constituencies – your classmates, your Instructor, your Librarians, your partners for the final project; (b) communicating digitally in a variety of formats: email, video, chat; (c) learning about and using Library eResources available to you and how to avoid plagiarism; and (d) learning to research using professional journals, and to communicate that research to others.  Instructional content is designed to improve students’ abilities in these research and information literacy competencies: (1) engaging in a research process (inquiry); (2) successfully finding information; (3) critically evaluating information; (4) ethically using information; and (5) effectively communicating information.  Learning aligns with standards, such as the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.



Scholar Development is only offered to NCSSM Online Program students.  Registration is handled by the NCSSM Registrar’s Office.  When contacted by NCSSM to choose your preferences, communicate with your family to select a two-week summer session(s) that works with your and your family’s summer schedule.  Direct registration questions to the NCSSM Registrar’s Office in Durham:


Plan for Success

Register for a two-week session that works with your and your family’s summer schedule.  Budget for at least ten hours per week. Plan to start in the morning of the start-date for your section, or better yet, start early.  Yes, that is correct, students may asynchronously and individually access NCSSM Canvas, read basic information such as the Syllabus, and on their own explore general course resources all before the start-date.  Once you know your start-date, put a reminder in your calendar for four days before.  On that day, check your NCSSM email for an email from ‘NCSSM Canvas’ titled “Course Invitation” which will contain a link for access.  Be sure to check your All-Mail, Spam, etc. email folders to find your invitation email, if needed.  This early soft start, while not required, has proven very helpful to students, especially regarding pacing of group work in this course.  Why so quick of a start?  Trust us.  While you may have been able to do cool stuff at the last minute before, this ain’t that.  Making a quick start and planning your time with your group members between individual study and group work and back again multiple times over the two weeks are critical for success.  Note: The synchronous part of this course is dependent on yours and your group members’ schedules – you may have to be flexible.


Instructors and Access

Scholar Development Instructors typically hold advanced degrees in Library Science, as well as other professional educators’ credentials and degrees.  Students may start this course before the start-date of their course section as noted on this page.  Students’ access to NCSSM Librarians, Library eResources, and this course’s materials remains active throughout the Online Program.


Instructional Design

This completely reimagined Scholar Development course was created and designed by Mr. Keith Beisner with Dr. Robin Boltz in original formats using sources as cited in Canvas for non-commercial, educational use. Updates are made each year by Mr. Beisner. When citing this course, please attribute as follows: 
Beisner, K. & Boltz, R. (2024). SEM 2000: Scholar Development.


For Scholar Development questions: NCSSM Library in Durham.
For course registration questions: NCSSM Registrar’s Office in Durham.