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Instructor’s Guide to the Course

By Modern Language Association

The MLA International Bibliography offers a free five-unit course that helps students search more efficiently, understand their search results, and locate publications.

In what classes can I use the Online Course?

The Online Course is appropriate for any class covering topics in literature, linguistics, folklore, and the teaching of language and literature. Specifically, the course might be used as an instructional tool in first-year composition (and in introductory literature or linguistics classes, if time permits), and for remediation in intermediate and advanced courses outside the classroom.

What topics are covered?

Topics include search basics, the scope of the MLA International Bibliography, types of research that warrant the use of the bibliography, locating materials online and in the library, and techniques for restricting searches.

How do students register for the Online Course? 

Visit the main MLA International Bibliography Teaching Tools page for instructions and to obtain a login.

How can I use the MLA International Bibliography Teaching Tools in advanced undergraduate classes?

The Online Course is helpful for reviewing research skills outside the classroom. Also, advanced search techniques can help students research the history of scholarship on a particular topic or literary work (see the Scholarly Conversation and History of Scholarship assignments for ideas). Instructors may also find these techniques useful for introductory graduate classes.

How can I integrate the Online Course into my course’s grading scheme?

Students who complete the Online Course will receive a badge that they can then e-mail to instructors. (At this time, the course cannot be imported into other course management systems, including university-hosted Moodle courseware.) Receipt of the course completion badge indicates that the student has viewed each tutorial, answered and reviewed all of the progression questions, and scored 4/5 or better on each of the five quizzes.

How can I verify that my students have completed the course?

Students will receive online badges through the e-mail address that they used to register for the course. They will receive separate e-mails for each unit badge earned, a course completion badge, and a badge for completing each subject-specific course module. If the student’s course average is above 90 percent, the student will receive an additional “Skilled Searcher” course completion badge. These emails can be forwarded to the instructor to verify that a unit, course, or subject module has been completed. The e-mail contains an image of the badge as an attachment and a link to the badge certification as it resides in the courseware. You may want to click on the link to verify the badge.

Troubleshooting: My student earned a badge in the course but did not receive the badge by e-mail.

Sometimes automated e-mails from the course end up in spam folders. If students do not receive an e-mail right away, have them check their spam folders and mark e-mails from the MLA as “not spam.” Ask them to add to their contacts to prevent e-mails from being diverted into a spam folder.

Also, be sure that students are checking the same e-mail account that they used to register for the course.

Occasionally, a server issue may arise that needs to be resolved by the IT department of your institution. For this reason, you may wish to notify the staff of your IT department that you intend to assign the course so that they can anticipate any potential issues.


If you have any other questions or you continue to experience difficulty, please contact us at

Start or join a conversation with other instructors who have already assigned the course or who are considering it by following our group on the Humanities Commons.

Published 10 May 2017

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