Day 19 (Wednesday, October 8)
Connection to Course Goals. Research and collaboration are essential skills within academic and nonacademic communities; today’s class should also help student groups focus their work with your guidance.
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Follow up on library instruction (15-18 minutes)
Now that your students have attended library instruction and attempted searching their topics, they will doubtless have new questions and concerns about researching their topics. Choose an activity that will allow you to respond to their needs and to reinforce the lessons of the library session. You may want to ask students about their searches, soliciting both successes and failures. Focus on troubleshooting individual problems in a way that is instructive for the whole class. For example, if students "couldn't find anything" on the topic, ask a volunteer which keywords she used in her searches. List these on the board and engage the class in refining or adding keywords.
Tip. Few if any of your students will have prior experience with a large research university library, so they will need ongoing help to make the most of Morgan Library's offerings.
Assess inquiries and explain activity options (5-10 minutes)
Determine which groups you will meet with today (meet with any groups that are already behind and with groups that seem likely to fall behind). Explain that while you meet with each group, the rest of the class needs to work on one or more of the following activities (put the instructions on an overhead or make handouts—students need to be able to see the instructions for the activities they choose):
Trade annotations with your group members, and give feedback by answering the following questions (explain all yes/no responses, please):
Assess your inquiry
What answers have you already found? What answers do you need to find? What perspectives have you found? What perspectives do you need to find? Share your sources with your group members. Help each other out by suggesting good databases, search terms, and other search strategies.
Begin drafting your Critical Introduction(s)
Reread the assignment sheet to remind yourselves of what your Critical Introduction needs to accomplish. Use your WTLs and your inquiry interviews from last week to draft the introduction. Be sure to hold on to whatever you draft today, as you will be able to use it later.
Conference with groups (35-40 minutes)
As students work, you can conference with groups (aim to conference with about half of the groups today). Aim to help them assess their inquiry: are they finding relevant, reliable sources? Are they finding a range of perspectives on the subject? Is anyone behind (if so, how can you and the group help the person catch up?)? Are there group dynamic problems that you can ease? Also, be sure you have communicated that you understand where each individual student is with his/her research. This should help motivate anyone who is lagging behind, and it should ease any concerns that the best-prepared students may have.
Tip. Aim to leave each conference having helped the group formulate a plan for being ready to finish their research this weekend.
Conclude class and assign homework (3-5 minutes)
Find the rest of your sources. Bring all of your sources and at least one new annotation to class next time.