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Instruction a la Carte Menu

What is this?

Not sure what we can teach, or how long a topic will take? The below list shows our most popular topics. This is not an exhaustive list; if you would like other resources or topics addressed, we’d be happy to discuss the options with you.

We have two "menus": one is a general list that is applicable to any class (For All Classes), and one that lists offerings for students with some basic library research skills (For Upper Level Classes). We also have a list of "other options" for our Univ 100 and Core A classes.

Topics and Time Requirements

For All Classes
Will your students need to…[time required]
Points Covered

Develop a search strategy? (highly recommended) [10 minutes]

  • Brainstorming a topic
  • Narrowing topics
  • Identifying keywords and synonyms

Use the library’s catalog to look for books or DVDs? [10 minutes]

  • Finding books and videos on a topic
  • Accessing electronic books
  • Using call numbers to locate items in the building

Know the difference between popular and scholarly articles? [20 minutes]

  • Comparing and contrasting journals vs magazines articles
  • Discussing the publication process

Evaluate Websites? [50 minutes]

  • Analyzing sites for credibility

Learn how to cite in APA or MLA to avoid plagiarism? [50 minutes-75 minutes]

  • Understanding when to cite
  • Using the APA or MLA Libguides
  • Creating a reference and in-text citation for a source

Use general interest databases to find articles on common, popular topics? [15 minutes per database]

  • Using databases like Academic Search Complete to find articles on topics
  • Using the "find full text" link to retrieve articles



For Upper Level Classes (Students have library basics)
Will your students need to… [time required]
Points Covered

Mine a good article to discover other relevants sources on their topics? [30 minutes]

  • Find full text from a bibliography or works cited list
  • Reading citations
  • Distinguishing between book and article citations
  • Finding the full titles of abbreviated journal names
  • Using the catalog and journal finder to locate items
  • Searching a database to find related articles (especially through the use of subject headings)

Track the literature to find articles which cited an important work? [20 minutes]

  • Using Web of Knowledge and other tools to find citation information

Identify the different types of scholarly articles? [15 minutes]

  • Comparing and distinguishing between: research articles and literature reviews; primary vs. secondary
  • Discussing what peer-reviewed means

Search specialized databases for their fields? [30 minutes per database]

  • How to search for topics in PsycINFO, CINAHL; ERIC; Sociological Abstracts, Web of Science, etc.

Avoid plagiarism through correct APA or MLA citations[50-75 minutes]

  • How to cite quotes, summaries, and paraphrases
  • Recognize a 'good' paraphrase from a 'bad' paraphrase
  • Learn strategies to correctly paraphrase

Request articles and books through Interlibrary Loan? [10 minutes]

  • How to log in to ILL
  • How to request an article
  • How to access articles received


Other Options:


Univ100 Library Challenge! = 50 minutes
Students play a Jeopardy-style game, complete with buzzers and prizes, to learn about McConnell Library. Both faculty and peer instructors are required to attend, and the students need to complete the library exercise in the textbook before attending the session.

Core 102 Library Session I = 50 minutes
Searching for articles: Search strategy and the database most appropriate for your assignment

Core 102 Library Session II = 50 minutes
Evaluating sources: discussion of what is a reputable source, with an emphasis on Web sites.

Core 201 Library Session = Please choose from AMAZING RACE or FLIPPED CLASSROOM

In the AMAZING LIBRARY RACE, students compete with each other as teams, learning the objectives of the class by completing a number of rounds. For example, Round 1 has them identifying scholarly sources and justifying their answers. They can’t proceed until they get Round 1 right.  The first team to finish all the rounds wins a prize.
Best for: Classes that are just starting their research process; classes that may be quieter and need some competition to wake them up; students with varying levels of ability
Considerations:  Professor MUST be present- it gets fun and wild, and we need a second instructor in the room to help us judge answers.  No time for students to find their own articles.

In the FLIPPED CLASSROOM, students complete a series of four quizzes on D2L (together, they take about 30-45 minutes total) before the scheduled library workshop.  On the day of the workshop, the librarian will give a brief (~10 minutes) session clearing up confusion seen in the quizzes, and then the remainder of the time is spent as  a “research day”.  In a TR class, it’s not unusual for students to find all the sources they need for their paper in this one session.
Best for: Classes that have their topics approved and are ready to start searching; professors who can make sure students take the quizzes ahead of time.
Considerations:  Professors need to use D2L and be willing to add a librarian to the course to monitor those quizzes (we promise not to muck around with anything!).  You must cross-your-heart promise that the students will complete all the quizzes BEFORE the session, and dismiss from the workshop any students who have not. This format ONLY works with full cooperation.

You may also suggest your students attend Library Survivor workshops. These are a great way to help students with library skills outside of class time.

To set up a library session, use the online form. We ask that you request a session at least one week in advance; you will receive a confirmation usually within 24 hours of its receipt.

You can also contact any of the instruction librarians directly: