Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference or Event Name

ACRL 2011

Conference Location

Philadelphia, PA


Cross-unit collaboration and curriculum integration became a reality when librarians were approached by academic departments to teach a course about conducting discipline-specific research skills. At this university students are required to demonstrate general and discipline-specific information literacy competencies, which are determined by the departments and programs, not by the library; in reality most of the departments and programs adopt the general information literacy competencies for both sets of competencies.

Two departments, however, had 1-credit hour research courses on the books; in one case, the course had been taught over a weekend by a faculty member and in the other case, the course was recently approved. Both courses are required for the students wishing to major in the program. The faculty members sought out both the instruction coordinator and the department library liaison, an indicator of the strong relationship that existed already among the campus units.

After initial discussions, the librarians were given the freedom to redesign the courses, the outcomes of which were aligned to ACRL and discipline-based standards. The courses moved from the weekend meetings into a classroom, where classes are held on a weekly basis and where teaching innovation is encouraged. Course design is similar for both, with emphasis on discipline-specific resources, understanding database construction, resource evaluation, and citation skills. Required textbooks are simply discipline-appropriate style manuals. Students are encouraged to explore research topics relevant to work in other courses or honors undergraduate theses.

The courses combine traditional lecture and resource demonstration with written work and active learning. There are six written assignments, including database comparisons and annotated bibliographies. While most of the written assignments focus on resource evaluation and analysis, in-class exercises test student recall and knowledge about library resources via research scenarios that students must work through and present to their peers. They also practice citation skills, with one class session is devoted entirely to practicing citation construction, which is again presented to their peers. To facilitate understanding of subject headings, students develop and explain alternative subject headings as well as practice with LibraryThing. Students must also demonstrate familiarity with RefWorks. Finally, the course makes use of a course management system and LibGuides software.

Assessment of student learning occurs throughout the course with evaluation of written work, successful demonstration of research skills in front of peers, through concept mapping, and with brief pre- and post-tests at the start and end of the courses. Students write paragraphs reflecting on the research process and they also conduct peer reviews for several assignments. At the end of the course, students evaluate course content and structure through clickers and in written feedback to open-ended questions. These assessments are used by both the library and the departments to evaluate the course as well.

This poster will highlight the integration of the library into the University curriculum, the approach these librarians take in blending traditional instruction expectations with new technologies, and the activities used to engage students with the material.