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Maximizing Your Library Session

Research Assignments

Moraine Valley Librarians can collaborate with faculty to design assignments and information literacy sessions that are meaningful to students, help further the goals of the class, allow students to understand the role of the Library in their college experience and beyond, and introduce information literacy concepts.

Planning

Some considerations when creating research assignments:
  • Inquiry-based assignments tied directly to course content can advance the goals of the course while integrating important information literacy skills. 
  • Breaking a research assignment down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable parts is beneficial to students: it models how to approach a research question and utilize effective time management, it gives students the opportunity to focus on and master key research skills, it provides opportunities for feedback, and it can be an effective deterrent to plagiarism.
  • Be clear about the expectations you have for the kinds of information students can use for the assignment. 
  • Faculty in different disciplines often have different expectations for  “scholarly sources”--let students know what your definition is in the context of the assignment. 
  • Internet sources can be another source of confusion for students. Differentiating between scholarly materials accessed online and websites can help students develop their evaluation process
  • Research assignments that require the production of a media project (video, podcast, screencast) may need extra planning time and additional scaffolding for students. 

Support

Librarians are also available to work with you and your students in a variety of ways depending on the needs of your assignment: 
  • Collaborate in the development of research assignments or media projects
  • Develop a single information literacy session or a series of sessions to help students at critical points during the research process 
  • Provide short reviews of library services. Librarians are available to stop by your classroom for a few minutes just to let students know who we are and what services are available. This might be especially useful for 200-level classes when students need a refresher on where to find needed resources. 
  • Offer individualized service to novice researchers at the reference desk or through scheduled one-on-one consultations.

Before Your Library Session

  • Share your goals for the session with the librarian with whom you’ll be working.
  • Let your students know how the library session will specifically address the requirements of the assignment. 

During Your Library Session

  • Attend the library session with your students, helping the students understand the importance of the session.
  • If appropriate, reinforce important concepts presented by the librarian during the session - this helps the students see the application of the library session to their assignment. Also, when the professor reinforces the information the librarian is providing, it can carry more weight with the student.