Ineffective Assignment StrategiesPoorly designed assignments can have a negative impact on students' confidence in using the library in the future and can have a lasting impact on their learning.
- Prohibiting students from using any electronic information – More and more information is being converted to electronic formats. Often, the best information we can find on a topic is in electronic form. We have many great print resources, but students also need to learn to navigate through electronic information.
- Requiring students to use resources the library doesn't own – We have information resources on a wide variety of subjects. When students have a difficult time simply accessing resources, it distracts them from gaining skills in evaluating the information and providing their own analysis. Additionally, assignments that require a number of students to use Interlibrary Loan are not recommended.
- Assigning the whole class the same topic without putting items on reserve – The library has a finite number of print resources on each subject. The first couple students to visit the library will check out all the available materials and the other students will have a difficult time finding sufficient information on the topic. Fill out the Ask a Reference Question form if you would like assistance in selecting materials. We'll be glad to help.
- Requiring topics that are too broad or too narrow – A topic should be of the appropriate specificity for the length of the assignment and the time given to complete it. Additionally, resources for topics that are too narrowly focused may not be readily available in the Library.
- Scavenger hunts - The least effective assignment possible asks students to locate random facts. It doesn't teach information literacy skills. A library scavenger hunt assignment is like giving students a quiz without having taught them the material. Additionally, it lacks a clear purpose, teaches little, and is very frustrating. Frequently librarians, not students, end up locating the information.