Designing a Library Assignment

Here are some tips on designing an assignment using library resources.

  • Define your objectives.
    What do you expect students to learn as a result of the assignment, and how do the objectives for the assignment fit in with your course objectives? Do you want students to identify and use key resources in the subject area? Are students laying groundwork for a research paper? What do you want students to do with the information once they've found it?
  • Develop the assignment.
    Ask students to find information they can use. Avoid treasure hunts. Students are easily frustrated when the entire class is looking for the same material. Incorporate critical thinking into the assignment. Ask students to evaluate the information they've found and compare it with other sources.
  • Test your assignment.
    Do the assignment yourself. Make sure your students have a reasonable expectation of successfully completing the assignment. Get to know the library's collection and work with your library liaison to ensure that sufficient and appropriate material is available.

    Show the assignment to a colleague in your department or to your library liaison. They may have important suggestions to make and may see some practical problems that you overlooked.

    Ask students for feedback on the assignment. Be open to their suggestions and comments. The next time you use the assignment, it will be more effective and more likely to achieve your objectives.