Well-designed course-related library assignments are an effective way to introduce students to library research and provide an excellent active learning opportunity.
1. IS THE ASSIGNMENT INTEGRATED INTO THE COURSE?
DOES IT MEET COURSE-RELATED OBJECTIVES?
The underlying objectives of an assignment can vary. Examples are: exposure to professional journals or key authors, application of course concepts to a new situation, independent self-paced learning, exposure to concepts not covered in class, manipulation of a case study, familiarity with supporting documentation, and/or student demonstration of understanding the structure of a discipline. With the assistance of the librarian, and keeping these objectives in mind, assignments can be constructed to better utilize library resources.
2. DO THE STUDENTS HAVE THE APPROPRIATE INFORMATION SKILLS FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT?
Although many students will be familiar with using some library tools (dictionaries, encyclopedias), few really understand the intricacies of the electronic databases and the like. The librarian can tailor a class presentation to explain library tools that the students will be using for the assignment.
3. DO THE STUDENTS UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF THE ASSIGNMENT?
Give students the assignment in writing with a clear idea of what the assignment involves, suggesting types of sources to be used. Give complete citations for specific works. The librarian can help compile a bibliography of useful resources for the assignment.
4. ARE LIBRARY RESOURCES READILY AVAILABLE FOR COMPLETING THIS ASSIGNMENT?
The Librarian can help locate materials in the collection that will meet the needs of the assignment. Our students are very familiar with interlibrary loan, however it is always a good idea to remind them that they will have to get materials from other libraries and it is best to get started early!
5. IS IT FLEXIBLE SO AS TO ALLOW STUDENTS TO PURSUE A VARIETY OF QUESTIONS?
Dozens of students using just one book, article, or index, or looking for the same information usually leads to misplacement, loss or mutilation of materials. Give students a variety of topics and sources. Use the Reserve service if needed; look into Aztec Shops photocopy service for details on customized readers for your course.
6. AVOID SCAVENGER HUNTS.
Searching for obscure facts frustrates students, can cause chaos in the stacks and teaches students nothing useful about research. When planning a library exercise, talk to the librarian about designing one appropriate to the class.
With sufficient lead time, librarians can provide instruction lectures, workshops and written materials geared specifically to your course and assignment. For more information about classroom instruction, please contact Yvonne Meulemans (email@example.com).
Find a librarian to request instruction
contact STEM / Interim FYP Librarian, Talitha Matlin.
contact subject specialist