Yesterday I taught an ELP Vocabulary 3 class. The instructor is so enthusiastic about getting her students more engaged with the library, so she created an assignment to get them using library resources. She came up with the learning goals, and I figured out how the library could fit into the assignment. For each part of the four-part assignment, I identified tools and resources the students should use, and gave them a step-by-step process for completing their goals. I even created an instructional video!
I wanted students to use both library and web resources at different points. During class, we talked about the differences between using Google and the library, and when one might be more appropriate than the other. I don’t want to try force students to use the library all the time, because they’re not going to do it anyway, and sometimes you just have to use Google. The first part of the assignment asks them to identify and define 20 new vocabulary words in their majors or master’s field of study. They wanted to just use Google. In this case – nope! The library has much better information. Dictionary.com and Wikipedia might be okay to get a general idea of a topic, but “plot” in the math world does not have the same meaning as “plot” in the Literature world. I wanted them to become more familiar with specific tools in their disciplines, and gave them a couple strategies to use, including this video:
For the next part of the assignment, I gave them a website to help them identify and define different word parts. In this case, using a website was going to be much easier and faster than trying to use a reference book. The third part of the assignment asks them to create sentences using their new vocab words, which I left them to do on their own. And the final part, an oral presentation! I gave them tips and directions to resources in the library that can help them, notably the oral communication section on the international students research guide, and the practice presentation room on the first floor. It’s a lot of work, but they have plenty of time to complete it, each part due on a different day. I’m meeting with the ELP instructor next week to see how the first part of the assignment goes, and to brainstorm more ways we can engage the students with the library, and academic resources. It was pretty fun, and I hope to more of these kinds of things in the future!