Michigan State University

Teaching Resources

  1. Check with a librarian to ensure that the MSU Libraries can support the assignment’s requirements.
    • Because of the dynamic and ever–changing nature of our resources, especially electronic information, even assignments and guides used previously may need updating.
  2. Don’t assume students already know how to use the library or can successfully navigate its complex information environment.
    • Request a Information Literacy instruction session and encourage students to "Ask a Librarian" for help at the beginning and throughout the research process. Even upper–class and graduate students can be intimidated by the complexities of a large academic library.
  3. Offer general suggestions for resources, rather than limiting students to particular titles or formats.
    • Since particular resources may only be available electronically or in print, both traditional print sources and Web documents may be necessary for research on most topics. Do, however, specify what category of resources you require or prefer; e.g., scholarly journal articles, primary sources, subscription databases available through the MSU Libraries’ Web pages.
  4. Share your assignments – including the due date – with the Information Literacy staff at libinstr@mail.lib.msu.edu.
    • We can be prepared for last minute demand and inform staff of the "Ask A Librarian" service as to the nature of the assignment in anticipation of answering questions from students.
  5. Provide a reasonable time frame for the completion of the assignment.
    • Be certain to give your students enough time to request materials through interlibary loan if they are not available at MSU.
    • It might be helpful to do the assignment yourself to see how long it takes before you decide how long students need to do it, allowing for their inexperience and for request of materials.
  6. Consider the availability of information sources, especially those in print.
    • If it is necessary for all students in the class to use the same library materials; e.g., the same volume of a specific journal, edition/copy of a book, etc., please consider putting the item(s) on Course Reserves so all students can access them. This makes it less likely that needed materials will be checked out for long periods of time, lost or stolen.