Helping Students Learn
“The library workshop helped me find ways to do research; we even practiced citing sources that I need to use for my paper. It also helped me think of different sources for research and how I can use them in my paper.”
– Student response, Post-Library Instruction Survey
The SU Libraries offer a variety of instructional services that help students learn how to locate, evaluate and use information. With so many courses taking place partially or fully online, it may be more important than ever for students to know all the ways the SU Libraries can help them with their research.
Library Liaisons – librarians assigned to support the various academic programs – have continued to work diligently with course instructors to provide in-class instruction sessions that help students learn how to locate, evaluate and use information. We have adjusted that instruction this semester in accordance with the various modalities of online instruction. Librarians have worked with classes in all the schools and colleges at SU, collaborating directly with faculty to custom fit their individual research needs.
Although we traditionally have provided library instruction in face-to-face workshops, our team of faculty librarians quickly adapted their techniques to synchronous online instruction using Zoom. For the Zoom environment, librarians have strategized ways to help students learn information skills and concepts that are directly related to research assignment requirements.
Asynchronously, librarians have created various means of instruction, such as the librarian-led discussion for the Library Workshop Day for English 103. Librarians have often developed online guides and tutorials as supplemental library instruction tools, which also can be used as stand-alone resources that students and faculty can discover at the SU Libraries’ website. These guides may be directly tied to a course, more general subject guides, or topic based, such as “Anti-Racist Resources” or “Citation Style Guides.”
Librarians also have developed interactive tutorials in which students learn through a more hands-on, experiential approach. Shorter “Guide on the Side” tutorials can help walk students through steps that help them to become effective users of library tools, and more comprehensive “Modules” are currently being used directly in many courses’ MyClasses sites [Note: MyClasses is SU’s online course management system]. See the accompanying photo for an example of a “Guide on the Side” tutorial that works with an online guide.
Students may also reach out directly to their subject library liaison to request an individual research consultation. Librarians can help students directly with their topic for a research assignment. This help may involve creating quality keywords to begin their research on the right foot, helping students navigate a tricky database, venturing into the greater world of the internet to find data, or understanding the intricate details of creating a citation. Students do not need to have met with the librarian previously in class to reach out for help in a consultation. Emailing the librarian directly is the best way to get in contact.
For immediate help, students should consider reaching out via chat on the Libraries’ homepage. Generally, chat this semester is available from 8 a.m.-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
Still Here to Help!
We’re all learning how this works together, but the SU Libraries are still here and committed to helping our students with their research needs, even from far away!