We’ve been working with faculty on Information Literacy for decades. Here’s what we’ve learned about what works well.
- Start by getting an overview of options from your librarian. We can lead research workshops, meet with students individually, create online guides, and provide assistance with assignment design and academic integrity support. This handout provides a few examples: Research & Writing Assignments: Overview of How Librarians Can Help.
- Ask your librarian for feedback while you are creating your syllabus. We can help you create classroom activities and assignments that will knit together the subject matter of your course, the development of research skills, and a broader understanding of how to find, evaluate, and use information.
- For maximum impact, have two library instruction sessions for First-Year Seminars. The first session is an orientation to the physical space of the library and library resources and services in general. The second allows students to do meaningful research after having gained familiarity with the tools (MIDCAT, Summon, research guides, etc.).
- Hold a workshop with Special Collections to have students learn how and when to use primary versus secondary sources. Bringing students to Special Collections in a First-Year Seminar, will likely make them more comfortable with the research process for primary sources: how to request items to view, how to handle them etc.
- Include your librarian’s name and contact info in your syllabus and refer students to your librarian in class and during office hours.
- Make your expectations for research assignments clear. When librarians receive questions from students, the first thing we do is refer to the assignment. What kinds of sources (scholarly, popular, primary, secondary…) should be used? Is there a preferred citation style? Is there a sample paper that can be consulted as a model?
- Learn about the skills of incoming students by reading this handout: Research Skills of New Students at Middlebury [.pdf]. You might be surprised to see the difference between students’ perceptions and their demonstrated skills.
- Help your students avoid poor papers based on last minute research by assigning a bibliography in advance of a more complex research paper.