A well designed library assignment improves students' information seeking skills. It involves the student in profitably exploring information resources appropriate to the knowledge level of the student, the level of the class and the time available.
Planning library assignments thoughtfully makes the professor's job more pleasant, and the student's experience more rewarding.
Partnership for developing library assignments
The library faculty can work closely with you to design library assignments. You may speak with the liaison librarian for your department, call the Reference Desk at (212) 237-8246, or email the Reference Desk.
A well designed library assignment is...
- developed with clear objectives.
- doable within the allocated time frame.
- tested at the library by the faculty member before making the assignment.
- neither unmanageably broad nor too narrow that no resources can be found.
- modeled for the students by providing one or more samples of appropriate resources.
A poorly designed library assignment may...
- confuse the students by prohibiting the use of electronic formats of research level journals and books.
- assume the library has a particular resource that is actually not available.
- expect that all 30 of your students can use a single specific book/journal on the open shelves. The first student may be the only one who is actually able to find and use the item.
- assume the students can find items when the references may be incomplete or inaccurate.
- assume that the students have library research capabilities that they do not have.
Library assignment ideas
Several web sites now provide creative ideas for class assignments that build student skills in the selection and evaluation of appropriate materials from library resources and the Internet. The librarians of CUNY provide a central web site for such ideas.