Instructional Services for Faculty

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Library Services for Teaching and Learning

More than 20 campus libraries participate in presenting about 2,500 instructional sessions each year, reaching more than 30,000 campus library users. Upon request, library staff can customize instructional sessions to the learning goals and requirements of your research assignment and course. These services connect students to the most appropriate research materials and promote the development of valuable research skills.

Instructional support can include instruction in the library or classroom, and can also include instructional materials integrated into the online Library Course Pages and Learn@UW.

Library instructional services include:

  • Course-related library instruction sessions
  • Customized instructional handouts and Web pages
  • Web-based tutorials
  • Orientation tours and presentations
  • Assignment design, syllabus enrichment, and curriculum consultations
  • Print and electronic materials placed on reserve for students in your course
  • Instructional support for the creation of products such as posters and web pages
  • Drop-in workshops and tours
  • Individual instructional consultations
  • Ask-a-Librarian service in person or via phone, e-mail, or instant messaging

About Our Program

How We Can Work With You

Information literacy instruction is most effective when it is fully integrated into the goals of your class.

  • We can help you design an effective research assignment that introduces your students to the most useful, logistically feasible resources.
  • We can help you determine the most appropriate type of library instruction: class session, part of a class session, Web page, handout, tutorial, Learn@UW link, etc.
  • You can schedule library instruction to coincide with the time when students are working on their research assignments and are most motivated to learn.
  • We usually provide instruction in our library classrooms, but we can and will come to your classroom.
  • We know the information resources, but you know your students. We need your presence and involvement in the planning and teaching of a library session to ensure that your students will be actively engaged.
  • With your help, we can stay in touch with your students to provide follow-up assistance after the library session through e-mail and individual consultations.

How We Do It

The following goals guide the design of all instructional modules developed for our program:

  • Teach students to define their information needs, identify and select appropriate sources of information, and to evaluate these sources in terms of relevance, reliability, and objectivity.
  • Teach students strategies, as well as mechanical skills, for information seeking.
  • Teach students information seeking as a process that involves critical thinking and decision making.
  • Integrate hands-on learning techniques, including in-class exercises and database searching, using our computer-equipped classroom.

How to Get Started and Get More Information

Effective library instruction takes time to prepare and is in great demand. To ensure that your students will get the instruction they need when they need it, please contact us as far in advance as possible.

See Scheduling a Library & Information Literacy Instruction Session or schedule or attend a library tour.

To learn more about information literacy, see the ACRL Characteristics of Information Literate Students.

For more information about the campus Library & Information Literacy Instruction Program or the instruction program in individual campus libraries, please contact the program's coordinator:

Sarah McDaniel , (608) 262-4308.

Tips for Designing Library Research Assignments

Well-designed course-related library assignments are an effective way to introduce students to library research.

Guidelines for Positive Research Experience

  • Address Learning Goals Related to the Research Process.  Information Literacy, the ability to find information and use it effectively to accomplish a specific purpose, is included among the “Essential Learning Outcomes” for students at UW-Madison.   Consider what research skills you would like students to develop in completing the assignment and discuss with your students the importance of developing those skills.
  • Be Clear about Your Expectations.   Remember that your students may not have prior experience with scholarly journals, monographs, or academic libraries.   Spend time in class discussing how research is produced and disseminated in your discipline and how you expect your students to participate in academic discourse in the context of your class. 
  • Scaffolding your Assignment Brings Focus to the Research Process.   Breaking a complex research assignment down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable parts has a number of benefits: it models how to approach a research question and 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.
  • Devote Class Time to Discussion of the Assignment in Progress.   Periodic discussions in class can help students reflect on the research process and its importance, encourage questions, and help students develop a sense that what they are doing is a transferable process that they can use for other assignments.
  • Criteria for Assessment.  In your criteria for assessment (i.e. written instructions, rubrics), make expectations related to the research process explicit.  For example, are there specific expectations for the types of resources students should use and how they should be cited?   Research shows that students tend to use more scholarly sources when faculty provide them with clear guidelines regarding the types of sources that should be used.
  • Test Your Assignment.  In testing an assignment yourself, you may uncover practical roadblocks (e.g., too few copies of a book for too many students, a source is no longer available online).   Librarians can help with testing your assignment, suggest strategies for mitigating roadblocks (i.e. place books on reserve for your students, suggest other resources), or design customized supporting materials (i.e. handouts or web pages). 
  • Collaborate with Librarians.  Librarians can help you design an effective research assignment that helps students develop the research skills you value and introduces your students to the most useful resources.  We also can work with you to develop and teach a library instruction session for your students that will help them learn the strategies they will need in order to complete your assignment. 

For more information about how we can help, please go to the campus Library & Information Literacy Instruction Program’s Web site.

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