Reading, Research, and Writing: Connecting with University Libraries to Support Student Writers

Daniel Emery

As we prepare for the beginning of the Spring Semester of 2022, the Teaching With Writing program is placing a particular emphasis on the connections between reading and writing and how assignments and assessments can invite students to use multiple modes for presenting information and persuading audiences. This tip will identify three valuable strategies for working with library resources to enhance students’ writing and research processes.

Connecting the library to your Canvas site

O. Meredith Wilson Library

Although Canvas makes it easy for instructors to upload files and connect to external websites, the library’s course reserve system offers many advantages. After instructors submit their readings through the course reserve request form, library staff will assemble the materials for your course using the most accessible file formats and with appropriate attention to copyright and attribution. The Library course reserve system can help ensure that all students have access to materials regardless of the device, operating system, and software to which they are accustomed. More importantly, they can ensure that readings will be accessible for screen readers and other assistive technologies.

The Library Resources link on your Canvas site makes it convenient for students to find all course materials in a single location, regardless of medium. Faculty and instructors can request a course consultation for gathering and selecting their materials by emailing [email protected].

Connecting to librarians to support instruction

Most instructors know that librarians can support classes and introduce students to available library resources and databases. However, librarians can do much more than simply preview databases to promote critical thinking, careful reading, and effective writing.

The Libraries offer online tutorials for each stage of the research process. For students new to a discipline’s research process and practices, these initial tutorials can help emphasize essential elements of the research process: selecting the best resources, providing appropriate attribution, and finding assistance, whether in person or online.

Instructional librarians can promote the use of subject area research guides and the development of course-specific research guides and other support for your students’ writing projects. By directing students to the most relevant and comprehensive resources for their research, guides can help students identify suitable source materials that may not be available through a simple web search. In addition, students who are advanced in their majors can become more aware of where and how writing and communication work in their field.

Connecting to Library Media Services

Library Media Services offers a variety of ways to bring rich media resources to your courses and can support instructors and students in developing multimodal projects and assignments. In addition to assisting with the use of digital video, image, and audio collections, Library Media Services provides instructional support for multimodal projects with equipment and technology assistance at no cost to students. Coordination with media services staff can also help instructors articulate learning goals related to media literacy and production.

Meet with the Teaching With Writing Team

Are you interested in discussing ways to develop or refine some of these practices in your course next semester? Members of the Writing Across the Curriculum Team can meet with you in person or through Zoom to discuss specific strategies and integrate them into your Spring Semester courses.

Further Support

Our Teaching with Writing Program website offers resources to faculty members and instructors across the University of Minnesota system. Each semester, we host the popular Teaching with Writing event series, offering workshops, panels, and discussions on writing-related topics. Visit the Writing Across the Curriculum Program and follow us on Twitter @UMNWriting. You can schedule a phone, email, in-person, or Zoom consultation through our online consultation form.