Designing Effective Library Assignments
The necessity of growing basic skills for finding, evaluating, and using information should be part of each student's education. We provide an ideal setting for acquiring and improving these skills. Your course assignments are excellent tools for acquainting students with the library and our resources and services. Many students arrive at WTAMU with limited knowledge of libraries and the array of resources available to them. Often they do not utilize the library unless required to do so for their coursework. The following are tips to help you design effective library assignments. Well-designed assignments help to create positive experiences and foster enthusiasm for future research. They can also encourage students to continue using libraries long after they leave the University.
Call the Research & Access Desk at (806) 651-2215 or check our Cornette Library website for information on our resources and services. Our collection changes with the growing access to online resources. It can be difficult to keep up with them.
- Create assignments that are clear and in writing
- Librarians are often asked to explain assignments because students do not fully understand what they are required to do. Avoid words that may be confusing or unfamiliar to students. If topics are assigned, include those along with instructions for completing the assignment. Students often forget oral instructions or take incomplete or confusing notes that result in frustration and anxiety.
- Check to make sure that the sources needed for completing the assignment are in Cornette Library
- If you assign a topic requiring sources, search our online resources using Subject Guides for material on the topic. Search the online catalog to determine if we own the journal, magazine, or newspaper you suggest to your students. If they are not in the library, students must request items through Interlibrary Loan. This may take approximately 7 to 10 days. Please inform them of this drawback in advance.
- Be sure that assignments match your students' level of comprehension
- Many freshmen are not able to understand articles in scholarly journals, especially within the sciences. As such, students become frustrated while searching online resources. Try placing copies of articles appropriate for their comprehension level on Reserve at the Research & Access Desk.
- Assign a variety of topics for larger classes.
- Some items are limited by number. If many students are working on the same topic, the items may not be available to them all. Placing such items on Reserve at the Research & Access Desk insures all students have equal access to these items.
- Avoid scavenger hunt questions.
- Most students do not know the range of resources available in the Library. They have little if any idea where to begin searching for answers to this type of question. They often focus on finding the answer rather than on examining the sources they are using.
- Send a copy of the assignment to the Outreach & Instruction Unit.
- This allows us to prepare and to notify you of any problems we might foresee. Let us know if want students to use specific sources.