Best Practices for Faculty and Instructors

UCI Libraries collaborates with faculty and instructors from nearly all departments to support students in gaining information literacy and research skills. Each quarter, the library teaches thousands of students in several hundred instruction sessions and workshops. The following guidelines outline best practices for making your session as productive as possible.

1. Request your library instruction two weeks in advance.
This gives us time to schedule librarians and plan your session, including creating or editing online course or subject guides, and develop activities and handouts to support learning. Finally, it ensures that we have time to schedule appropriate learning spaces such as computer or active learning classrooms. Click here to Request Library Instruction.

2. Communicate your goals with your librarian before the library session.
What assignments and course learning outcomes will your library session support? Communication with your librarian is critical to ensure that we are designing activities and lessons that best meet the learning goals for specific assignments or for your course. 

3. Identify specific learning outcomes for in-person sessions.
While it is tempting to try to cover every possible research skill and strategy related to your course or assignment in one session, students have a better chance at learning and retaining information in an in-person session if they have opportunities to engage with skill-building through active learning and inquiry. That may mean that some research tips, tools, or skills might not be “covered” in the library session. Discuss with your librarian how to prioritize workshop content to support specific learning outcomes. If the library is given enough time, we may be able to design videos, Canvas modules, or other content to supplement or scaffold our in-person sessions.

4. Be present during your library session.
Students learn best when their professor is also engaged and collaborating in their development of information literacy skills. By being present, you are able to answer student questions about how the research skills they are learning connect to their assignment. For example, librarians cannot advise students on whether or not their chosen topics are acceptable, or whether or not you consider specific sources to meet assignment requirements. 

5. Avoid scheduling workshops during Week 1.
General library overviews in week 1 are less effective than workshops offered at a student’s point of need. This is usually after an assignment has been introduced, and after students have had time to do some general pre-searching about topics online to gain familiarity with a topic. Students will be more prepared to learn and remember research strategies, tools, and skills if the library session is scheduled just as students are starting to work on the assignment that requires library resources.