How the library can help
Subject librarians are always available to discuss course-related instruction with you. Librarians might have good ideas about how to integrate a library assignment into an interesting project or the newest resources that will be useful for students.
Reference services are available. You can chat, email, call, or visit a librarian to discuss course-related instruction.
Research consultations are available for both faculty and students.
Course pages are specialized library pages that relate to a single course. This can be a great way to organize library resources for student use. Examples include PSYCH 20000 and DESN 44108. Contact your subject librarian about creating a course page.
eReserves. Course content can be placed on electronic reserve.
Citing sources is an important part of scholarship and a library assignment can focus on this critical element.
Library assignments needn't be whole papers that you have to grade. There are many creative ways to integrate library instruction with traditional class activities. Students can simply keep a "research log" documenting where they found their information and how. For more alternative assignment ideas, check out the more resources tab.
Delta College has a good example of a traditional, longer, course-integrated library assignment: Biology 171 Research Project.
Effective library assignments:
- have a clear purpose
- relate to course objectives
- make students aware of the variety of resources available
- teach students to evaluate the quality of their sources
- teach students to conduct ethical scholarship
Clarity. Good assignments have a specific, understood purpose. Give assignments in writing and make the assignment unambiguous.
Currency. Information sources change rapidly. If your assignments aren't up to date, you may be instructing students to look for sources that are outdated or no longer held by the library. If you are unfamiliar with the latest sources or would like ideas on interesting library resources, contact a subject librarian.
Reasonable time frames. For incoming students unfamiliar with the library, assignments may be time-consuming. It might be appropriate to design an assignment in stages to ensure that the main research is begun before the final assignment is due.
Correct terminology. Students, professors, and library employees may refer to different things with the same word, or use different words to describe the same thing. Define any questionable words explicitly.