• Home
  • Services
  • Instruction

Instruction and Curricular Integration

Library Instruction Request Form

KU Libraries empowers communities of learners to connect with, navigate through, and question an ever-expanding knowledge-intensive landscape to become critical thinkers and engaged citizens. We work with faculty to help students understand that:

  • Authority is constructed and contextual
  • Information creation is a process
  • Information has scholarly, social, cultural, political, and ethical value
  • Research is a process of exploration and inquiry
  • Scholarship is a conversation

KU Libraries are committed to the development and integration of information literacy into the curriculum. We collaborate with faculty and instructors from all disciplines to design learning opportunities that develop critical thinking, awareness of information sources, and an understanding of the research process.

KU Libraries will collaborate with spring 2021 instructors to meet a majority of library instruction objectives through various online methods. Instructors who anticipate learning objectives for library instruction that may require an in-person component should contact us to explore options. Any in-person library instruction that does take place will follow KU protocols that prioritize the health and safety of students, instructors, and library faculty and staff, accounting for limited capacity in library instruction classrooms.

Contact us to request a consultation with a library instructor.

Course Collaboration Examples

Research Skills and Assignment Design

Librarians are experts at scaffolding the research process to design assignments and learning opportunities to help improve student learning and success. We will work with you to integrate information literacy instruction at your students’ point of need.

Film & Media Studies 316/716 and Latin American & Caribbean Studies 315/702: Cinema of the Southern Cone

Betsaida Reyes and Jill Becker worked with Tamara Falicov to design an assignment (PDF) that asks students to describe their topic and its connection to the course content, complete some preliminary searching for sources, and reflect on the search process and credibility of the information they found. Students bring the completed assignment with them to the library instruction session and the librarian uses the responses to guide the discussion and introduce students to subject-specific search strategies.

University 120: Introduction to Engaged Learning

Natalie Mahan, Samantha Bishop Simmons, and Jill Becker worked with Rachel Davis to design an assignment that teaches students search skills through an online tutorial followed by a hands-on library instruction session to support a future course assignment requiring an interview with a KU faculty member. In the spring 2020 semester when the course was quickly moved online, the unit was repackaged into an interactive course guide, accomplishing the same learning outcome.

Humanities 114:  Humanities – Western Civilization I Honors

Natalie Mahan worked with Dale Urie to scaffold step-by-step research guidance culminating in a live Zoom session.  Students worked through three playlists, one for each of the major research activities students would engage in to complete their assignments: keywords and search strategies, finding and retrieving articles in a database, and citing sources in Chicago Style. Each playlist began with a short, animated tutorial which provided an introduction to the concept at hand. After viewing this video students responded to a related discussion question on their Teams site to assess what they had learned. Following each discussion, students were asked to watch a Zoom recording with more in-depth coverage of the concept. Finally, students participated a live Zoom session to grapple with lingering questions about the research process.

Open Pedagogy/OERs

Open pedagogy encourages students to create and share new knowledge to benefit their peers and greater communities. Open Educational Resources (OER) range from open textbooks to a single lesson module. Librarians can help you identify, create, and use OER in your classes, and design and implement open pedagogy assignments to foster deep learning and inclusivity in the classroom.

Journalism 302: Infomania

Karna Younger and Carmen Orth-Alfie collaborated with Peter Bobkowski to create an OER and an open pedagogy assignment to scaffold information literacy in an undergraduate research course. The OER, "Be Credible: Information Literacy for Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing Students," iteratively localizes information literacy to journalism students and their future careers. Students educate their peers by creating video tutorials included in the text, which cultivates a more relevant and inclusive learning environment for students.

Spanish 424: Advanced Spanish Composition and Grammar

Karna Younger and Betsaida Reyes partnered with Araceli Masterson to integrate open pedagogy into her Spanish writing course. Here, students researched local Chican@ and Latinx history to create children’s books to be shared during story times at local shelters and public libraries.

Biology 527: Primate Evolution and the Fossil Record

Paul Thomas worked with Chris Beard, Matthew Jones, and Spencer Mattingly to develop a Wikipedia-based project that taught students about the scholarly peer-review process. The course used an assignment that incorporated research, peer review, and writing so that students learned both about peer-review and creating and sharing knowledge.

Subject Expertise

Some library instruction requires subject expertise and a grasp of discipline-specific research processes. Librarians with subject specialties are available to provide library instruction for your courses and consult with you on scaffolding the research process for your students.

Environmental Studies 460: Field Ecology

Rhonda Houser worked with Bob Hagen to build a hands-on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) exercise that is refined each fall semester. The tutorial focused on analysis of forest ecology and land use at the Fitch Natural Reservation. Hagen created an assignment based on the tutorial and unit objectives. The exercise is unique as students collect the data onsite (forest plots, tree age and size), then convert their data to a GIS format in the lab, and explore their data in a geographic context with other layers such as soil and historic land use. The faculty member has built a database of past data collected by students, providing a longer range of data for site managers and students to use.

Business 305: Business Writing

Carmen Orth-Alfie, working with Laura Barrett, selected discipline specific sources and research tools appropriate for the learning goals of a “business proposal” assignment for the course. A course guide was designed to facilitate the research process by introducing students to a variety of discipline specific information sources, licensed databases, and open government data. Each semester, the course guide usage data and assessment of student work inform edits to the assignment.

Business 120: Emerging Topics in Business

Carmen Orth-Alfie, L.Marie Avila and Natalie Mahan collaborated with Julie Hartness to redesign an assignment that met the learning outcomes for a first-year experience business course. The scaffolded case study assignment tasked students with synthesizing information found in a variety of sources, including trade publications and scholarly journal articles, to propose options to expand the case study business and outline a marketing plan. Orth-Alfie curated a collection of sources for the assignment and designed a course guide that introduced student to these sources arranged within a business framework.

History 301: The Historian’s Craft

Sara Morris provides instruction for History 301 each year that helps students learn how to search for primary sources. With increasing digitization, discoverability is reliant on keywords and it is imperative for researchers to understand the pitfalls and nuances of depending on a database to retrieve sources. Sara approaches her instruction using a lesson plan that demonstrates that searching for primary sources is not an intuitive activity.

Visual Communication Design 440: Bookmaking

Elspeth Healey partnered with Linda Samson Talleur on a synchronous Zoom session related to artists’ books in Spencer Research Library’s collections. Using a brief handout as a prompt, students worked in pairs in breakout rooms to think about the intersection between the physical structures and construction of their assigned artist’s book and its content. They did so by examining a brief video demonstrating their book’s physicality, paired with scans of selected pages from the book.  

Honors 190: Art on Campus

Andi Back worked with Saralyn Reece Hardy and Kelly Gibson Banks to select specific readings related to the public art of Memorial Drive. Students were provided with these readings prior to meeting for an in-person walk and critical discussion along Memorial Drive. Later in the semester Andi, along with Emily Beran and Jacinta Johnson, provided an online library instruction session to prepare students to complete the necessary research for their final presentations on a specific campus public artwork. During this session, Andi emphasized the complexities of research in the arts, how to begin researching an art object, and relevant resources and strategies to locate information sources.


Natalie Mahan
Undergraduate Learning Specialist
Watson Library

KU Today