An Online Orientation to Research Course for SVSM Students

Research Prep

Course Start-Dates – Before Summer Ventures in June (or May)

Participants should plan to start promptly on their section’s start-date immediately after receiving an invitation containing their individual access link.  Invitations 2023, titled “Course Invitation,” will be emailed from “NCSSM Canvas” on  June 5  for all “June” sections, and on  May 15  for the “May” section.


Course Overview

Research Prep (RP) — an online, asynchronous, often fun, orientation to research and information skills short course — is offered to all Summer Ventures in Science & Mathematics (SVSM) finalists and alternates (who accept their invitation as such from SVSM) to complete at their own pace during the three weeks prior to the start of SVSM. The SVSM Directors made completing Research Prep required of all accepting finalists due to the overwhelmingly positive results and feedback since RP was started in 2018. The same learning content, offered in a self-paced, three-week RP section, starting in mid-May, is available upon request until the Thursday before its start-date for those whose schedules make participation in June not the best of timing. Invitations with person-specific access link are emailed on the section start-dates stated at the top of this webpage. See the How to Enroll in RP information below.


A Few Student and Faculty Quotes



This course is brief and concise, but it is also a comprehensive, detailed orientation to scholarly and scientific research and information skills with significant depth. Research Prep also functions as a study guide, which students can refer back to during their future research. Students who put effort into their study of this course report being better prepared and more confident to pursue their own research process with focus on successfully finding, critically evaluating, ethically using, and effectively communicating information through scholarly/scientific means.


Goals and Use

One goal for this Research Prep course is to better prepare students for their SVSM experience by offering them an opportunity to learn (or refresh their knowledge of) essential research and information skills, thus enabling students to spend more time conducting research and communicating findings when on campus. Gaining exposure to vocabulary and concepts beforehand can better prepare students for learning deeper working knowledge when on campus. And, through this course, SVSM students are connected with the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) Library online resources. Additionally, this course may be a resource for SVSM faculty, who may use this course as a good place from which students can leap into learning discipline-specific (i.e., sciences, mathematics, humanities, etc.) research skills upon arrival at their summer campus. The content in this course may also be useful in a “flipped” learning environment where students study or review some pages in this course prior to conducting related research activities in the classroom, library, or lab.


Audience (Who May Take this Course)

Research Prep learning content is designed for students meeting the academic requirements for SVSM. 
All accepting SVSM finalists and alternates who become finalists are automatically enrolled in a RP “June” section. 
Those who remain an alternate are eligible for RP, since learning in this course is applicable beyond SVSM, but they will need to request enrollment in RP using the form provided in the How to Enroll in RP information below.
Finalists or alternates interested in the “May” section of RP, rather than “June,” should view the How to Enroll in RP information below, and submit the May request form.
All of the above have due-dates and start-dates associated with them. Mark your calendars so as to not miss those dates.


Format & Commitment

Research Prep is online, asynchronous, self-paced, and uses the NCSSM Canvas learning platform. Access to this course is by email invitation only and will not be available through another organization’s or school’s Canvas account. There is one short assignment with a non-negotiable due-date (the last Sunday of the section), which allows for asynchronous collaboration. 
Students typically report spending between 6 and 9 hours total, depending on interests, to complete this course including the very brief assignments.



There are four “June” Research Prep sections, which allow students to complete RP during the three weeks before arriving at their Summer Ventures (SVSM) campus. Although not originally a major objective of RP, the “June” sections are now organized by assigned campus, so students have an opportunity in RP to communicate with others assigned to the same campus, which many report as enjoyable. There is one “May” section, which starts immediately after AP tests conclude, and allows students to complete RP by the end of the school year. Switching to the “May” section is by request only (see the How to Enroll in RP information below).


How to Enroll in RP

There is no enrollment in Research Prep during the SVSM application process. RP registration is by invitation only to those who qualify by being selected as a finalist or alternate in SVSM.

All offered a finalist status who accept and all alternates who become finalists in SVSM are enrolled automatically in a RP “June” section with folks assigned to the same summer campus. No action is required to stay in that RP “June” section, other than to look for the invitation email from “NCSSM Canvas” ( titled “Course Invitation” on the start-date and start promptly. Remember to check your spam/junk/all email folders if needed to find your invitation. Note that this invitation email will be sent to the student’s email address used for their application to SVSM.

To switch to the RP “May” section, submit this RP-May Request form (click here) by the end of the day on the Thursday before the May start-date, and then look for the invitation email from “NCSSM Canvas” titled “Course Invitation” on the May start-date and start promptly. Remember to check your spam/junk/all email folders if needed to find your invitation. Note that this invitation email will be sent on the May start-date to the student’s email address used for their application to SVSM

Because learning in this RP course is applicable beyond SVSM, alternates in SVSM who remain alternates are invited to enroll in RP by submitting this Alternate: Enrollment form (click here) by seven days before the “June” sections’ start-date. Submitting this form as an alternate will get you enrolled in a “June” section of RP. If you wish to switch to the “May” section of RP, you will obviously need to submit this alternate enrollment form earlier, and you will also need to submit the RP-May Request form using the link above by the due-date described. If you submit the form to enroll in RP, make sure that you participate fully for the benefit of others in the RP collaborative assignments. 
To be removed from RP, contact Mr.B at the email address listed below.

Start-dates for RP sections are stated at the top of this webpage.

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If you are enrolled in the NCSSM Online Program Scholar Development (SD) course, and complete it by the start of SVSM, you may substitute SD for RP, but before SVSM, you should submit this SD-Equivalent form to let us know. You should not take SD during SVSM simply because it would take time that should be focused on SVSM. If you need to switch sections of SD, contact NCSSM. Conversely, RP does not substitute for SD because of the group synchronous dynamic of SD (when in SD, just skim the content that is the same as RP, and move on — no big deal).


If you completed all of Research Prep last year as an alternate in SVSM, and you would like to be excused from RP this year, contact Mr.B at the email address listed below to make such a request before the start-date for RP this year.


For Research Prep, contact Mr. Beisner.
For Summer Ventures questions, contact your assigned campus or NCSSM office:

Keith Beisner

Master of Science in Library Science and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering – University Librarian and K-12 Teacher-Librarian – Instructor for Research Prep, 2018 to date