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.

That said, faculty don't always know what it is that librarians do, or the range of things we can provide. Here are some tips to help your conversations:


1. Communicate your goals with your librarian.

We care a lot about your course learning objectives, and want to tailor our session to your students' needs! We might also be able to design videos, Canvas modules, or other content to supplement or scaffold workshop content (or be used instead of synchronous workshops). Depending on your course, it might be better to ask a librarian if they can be "embedded" in your course Canvas site, or whether you can work out designated library consultation hours for your students. It might be that your students are consistently citing low-quality sources, and you want to discuss with a librarian on how to design your assignment so that this happens less frequently. Whatever your goals are, we are happy to teach, design, consult, or just brainstorm together.


2. If you are requesting a workshop, give us time to prepare and partner with you.

We like to use 2 weeks' notice as a rule of thumb, mostly because we might be teaching in multiple different departments, and it can be difficult for us to do so many different preps. Two weeks usually gives us time to get a time slot scheduled, a lesson plan created, any subject/course research guides edited, and activities developed. If you are requesting a primary source workshop, we typically need even more time, as we will need to engage in archival research first to select appropriate materials.


3. Sometimes a workshop isn't your best bet.

Occasionally we get requests to do synchronous library workshops when faculty members know they will be out of town. These types of sessions don't usually work out that well, for a number of reasons. Instead of requesting librarians as "substitute teachers," consider working with us to develop an asynchronous learning module that students turn in to you. We can make videos or assignments or short tutorials that might meet your learning objectives better while also giving you more feedback about what students are learning. 


4. Schedule workshops to align with students' point of need.

Sometimes faculty will request library workshops or orientations in week 1 of a quarter. These are often less effective than workshops that are timed to meet 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.


5. Post LINKS to articles instead of uploading the article pdf.

Canvas makes it easy to upload full-text pdfs of articles or book chapters. However, this practice is technically a violation of our licensing agreements! Instead, please post links to articles (e.g. permalinks from UC Library Search or from specific databases). This has the added benefit of providing the library (and the authors of the articles!) with usage statistics. For more information please see this page about linking journal or course reserve content