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First Year Composition Instructor Toolkit

How the Library can support your instruction

Library Instruction Options

  • Digital Modules/Tutorials
    • High-quality, multimodal tutorials on a range of topics related to information literacy and research.
    • Provides knowledge checks for checking students’ understanding
    • Embed resources right into D2L
    • Stronger information literacy and critical thinking skills lead to higher retention
    • Offers ADA compliant resources
    • Good option if you feel too pressed for time to address information literacy concepts during class meetings. Also a good way to introduce and assess students to MLA/Citation information.
  • Class sessions with a librarian, tailored to your syllabus and assignment
    • Must share assignment guidelines and syllabus before session confirmation
    • Good option for students who all have similar assignments
  • Personal research consultations or small group instruction
    • Students meet individually or in small groups with a librarian to discuss topic, search strategies and locate relevant research.
    • Students can book consultations here:
  • Course guide creation
    • ‚ÄčA great place for housing links, readings, complementary course materials, open access educational resources. Also fully integrated within D2L.

Assignment Design: Things to Consider

  • Scaffolding
    • How does this assignment/class session support your syllabus and learning outcomes?
    • Is this assignment/session building on foundational skills?
    • Have you provided feedback or opportunities for peer review to students on smaller research or writing assignments?
  • Timing of session/assignment
    • Does the timing of the assignment/session make sense with respect to the semester? 
  • Available research
    • Is research about the topics or readings you assign readily available within library databases?
    • Does the assignment lend itself well to the skills of students doing academic research and writing for the first time?

Research Design Checklist

Research Paper Alternatives

  • Annotated bibliography
  • Literature review
  • Evaluate and edit an article in Wikipedia
  • Case study analysis
  • Compare and contrast
    • A reference book and a journal article
    • An article and a book
    • A popular article and a scholarly article
  • Identify primary and secondary source relevant to a specific person, place or event
  • Poster session
  • Mini-conference
  • Creative projects
    • Video/Photography
    • Visual art
    • Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Creative nonfiction
    • Music
    • Website
  • Online portfolio
  • Grant proposal
  • Curate an exhibit
  • Recommend the purchase of a resource in a specific discipline
  • Stage a debate
  • Write a rebuttal
  • Research and predict the impact of new or proposed policies/legislation
  • Propose a new topic for the course
  • Track uses of scientific research in the popular publications
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis comparing two companies
  • Review a book or film
    • Compare film to source material