What We Do
The Education and Outreach Services Department at Auraria Library seeks to incorporate meaningful information literacy skills and concepts into the curriculum of all three schools on the Auraria Campus. Our program is built around our teaching team partnering with course instructors to improve information literacy in several ways, including leading classroom sessions, developing online materials, and reviewing research projects before they’re assigned to students.
The planning and execution of this work is highly collaborative, and typically involves our department working with course instructors to review program goals, course outcomes, and individual assignments that address information literacy concepts. We also conduct assessments of student learning in consultation with our colleagues on campus to better inform our pedagogy and determine how our students interact with information.
Partner with the Library
Request Online Materials
- This option is for courses with a research component. If your course does not have a research component, we can help you create one, or we can provide you with materials that you can incorporate into your course in lieu of an instruction session.
- We require at least two weeks’ notice to develop online materials that address student research needs and are consistent with our instructional philosophy and scope.
- For the fall 2020 semester, our library instruction program will be completely online and asynchronous. We understand that several courses are occurring in-person or online via synchronous sessions in Zoom, however our teaching team has identified several reasons why we think that online, asynchronous instruction will better serve our campus community.
It’s easier to follow along.
Much of our in-person instruction involves active learning, where we often ask students to browse the catalog, search a database, or skim an article. While these activities can easily be done remotely, we’ve seen that it’s difficult for students to do them while also watching a Zoom session. Providing our content in an asynchronous format will allow students to read a description or watch a quick video, then put those skills to work on their own without having to toggle between browser windows in a live session.
It works on a cellphone.
We recognize that many of our students do not have a laptop or home internet access, and instead rely on their cellphone to complete their assignments. Providing written instructions and exercises will allow students to explore library resources without having to worry about slow data access from their cellular service provider during a live session.
For Zoom sessions to be accessible to students with hearing impairments, we would need transcriptionists to perform real-time closed captioning. This is a cost that we cannot presently afford, and we will not design instruction that is not inclusive. Instead, we’ll be providing written exercises and closed-captioned videos that will support all our students.
Our students already had a lot of responsibilities alongside their education, including working jobs, caring for family members, and serving their communities. With all the uncertainty associated with COVID-19 and its impact on our society, we wanted to give students a chance to learn about the library on a schedule that works for them. Additionally, many of our library staff have similar responsibilities that might prevent them for being able to participate in a synchronous session. Developing asynchronous materials allows more people to be involved in the process of teaching and learning.
We have other ways of engaging students.
For individual students who have questions or need additional help after reviewing our online materials, we have our 24/7 chat service, email support, and research consultations conducted via Zoom or phone, all of which were in place prior to COVID-19.
Our teaching team consists of faculty librarians who engage in continuous professional development in the areas of teaching information literacy and student learning assessment. The team also includes graduate assistants who undergo extensive training and classroom observations prior to teaching independently.
After consulting with course instructors and reviewing the research requirements of their courses, our teaching team will develop a lesson plan and learning objects that address both student research needs and our departmental learning outcomes. The content of the sessions themselves will be determined by our teaching team, whose members hold faculty rank and enjoy academic freedom as defined by the American Association of University Professors.
Our Instructional Philosophy
In our teaching we aim to:
- Recognize and honor students’ lived experiences
- Explore the complex, iterative, and political nature of information and research
- Discuss information creation and use as they arise in different, situated contexts
- Emphasize the transferability of information literacy in- and outside academic contexts
Our Instructional Scope
Our instruction program includes discussions about:
How research is based in inquiry, including articulating and defining the scope and purpose of research. In practice, this includes:
- Creating research questions and topic development
- “Presearching” or surveying a topic
- Identifying and articulating research needs
Structures of information and searching. In practice, this includes:
- Crafting and refining search strategies
- Keyword searching
- Facet/advanced searching
- “Citation chaining”/Cited Reference Searching
- Discovery tools (e.g., Start My Research)
- Distinguishing between types of information sources to respond to research needs
- Search engine algorithms and bias
- Scholarly and popular resources
- Types of Information sources, including (but not limited to) journal articles, books, newspapers, magazines, trade publications, social media, and Wikipedia
Synthesizing and evaluating information. In practice, this includes:
- Creating research questions and topic development
- Reading and analyzing information and texts
- Evaluating for relevancy and/or credibility
- Exploring the nature of authority and expertise
- Choosing and defining ‘evidence’; using evidence to build arguments
We encourage instructors to bring classes to the library, and we have multiple classrooms dedicated to information literacy instruction. These rooms are equipped with high-definition projectors, laptops, marker boards, and other technology that is conducive to active learning. Due to the high demand for information literacy instruction, our classrooms are unavailable for reservation by anyone other than our teaching team.