General Education Program

General Education Library Skills:

Suggestions for Developing the Library Skills Component of General Education Courses

Purpose of the Library Skills Component

To be productive citizens and lifelong learners, students must be able to locate and use information to make decisions, solve problems, and to continue to grow. The purpose of the library skills component of the General Education program is:

  • to give students opportunities for independent learning/research experiences in the library
  • to ensure that all students graduating from Wichita State University are equipped with the ability to locate, use and evaluate information in an efficient and ethical manner.

To that end, the WSU Libraries ascribe to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association.

Tips for including Library Skills in your Gen Ed Course Syllabus

  • Please provide a detailed description of the library skills activity.
  • Make sure that the activity requires students to:
    • locate information
    • evaluate information
    • use information
  • Consider including examples of acceptable topics for the students.
  • Describe the types of sources students will be expected to use:
    • books
    • popular magazines
    • scholarly journals
    • newspapers
    • web sites
    • databases, etc.
  • Consider indicating the number of sources students will be required to use.
  • State which style manual students will be required to use (if any).
  • Explain the criteria that will be used to evaluate the project.
  • Explain how much of the student's grade is dependent upon the library skills project.

Tired of the Same Old Term Paper Assignments?

Links to sites that offer creative ideas for research assignments

Additional Suggestions

  • If you are not sure there will be sufficient library resources for student research in a particular subject area, check with the Subject Specialist Librarian in the WSU Libraries who works with your department.
  • Since it may take one month or more for the Librarian to obtain needed materials for your class, it would be a good idea to discuss your library needs with him/her before the semester begins.
  • Subject Specialist Librarians will also be happy to work with you on developing a library assignment with which students will be successful.
  • Consider inviting the Subject Specialist Librarian to present information to your class about navigating the library for this assignment to enhance successful completion of the project.
  • Consider having students locate several items (books, articles, websites, etc.) related to the course topic in the library. Have them reflect on what they learned from the sources, either in writing or verbally. Undergraduate students are often unprepared for the conflicting information they may find.
  • Stress thinking critically about resources.

Prepared for the General Education Committee by: Janet Dagenais Brown, Assoc. Prof.
Education & Social Sciences Librarian
Wichita State University Libraries
Date of last revision:03/12/2012