librarian assisting a student using a laptop in a classroom

Instruction and Curricular Integration

KU Libraries empower learners to connect with, navigate through, and question an ever-expanding information landscape to become critical thinkers and engaged citizens.


KU Libraries are committed to the development and integration of information literacy into the curriculum. We collaborate with faculty and instructors from all disciplines to design learning opportunities that develop critical thinking, awareness of information sources, and an understanding of the research process.

We work with faculty to help students understand that:

  • Authority is constructed and contextual
  • Information creation is a process
  • Information has scholarly, social, cultural, political, and ethical value
  • Research is a process of exploration and inquiry
  • Scholarship is a conversation

Contact us to request a consultation with a library instructor.

Research Skills and Assignment Design

Librarians are experts at scaffolding the research process through assignments and learning opportunities that improve student learning and success. We will work with you to integrate information literacy instruction at your students’ point of need.

a group of librarians consults with each other

Subject Expertise

Some library instruction requires subject expertise and a grasp of discipline-specific research processes. Librarians with subject specialties are available to provide library instruction for your courses and consult with you on scaffolding the research process for your students.

Software Carpentry 2019 workshop

Course Collaboration Examples

Tami Albin, Josh Bolick, Sarah Goodwin Thiel, and Karna Younger worked with Shannon O’Lear to teach students principles of podcasting, public scholarship, and relevant intellectual property issues for a podcasting assignment related to environmental geopolitics. The KU Libraries Makerspace provided access to podcasting equipment, resources, and training and Albin and O’Lear directed students to create a Pressbook for the course which makes the podcasts accessible to a wide audience.

Carmen Orth-Alfie, working with Laura Barrett, selected discipline specific sources and research tools appropriate for the learning goals of a “business proposal” assignment for the course. A course guide was designed to facilitate the research process by introducing students to a variety of discipline specific information sources, licensed databases, and open government data. Each semester, the course guide usage data and assessment of student work inform edits to the assignment.

Deborah Dandridge, Letha Johnson, and Caitlin Klepper partnered with Rachel Schwaller to integrate primary source research into her U.S. history survey course. Visiting Spencer Research Library three times by section, students worked hands-on with a curated collection of original primary sources that document the lives of African American migrants to and farmers in Kansas between 1865 and 1930. The course’s final portfolio assignment asked students to select, scan, print, summarize, and analyze two to four documents from Spencer’s collections.

Betsaida Reyes and Jill Becker worked with Tamara Falicov to design an assignment that asks students to describe their topic and its connection to the course content, complete some preliminary searching for sources, and reflect on the search process and credibility of the information they found. Students bring the completed assignment with them to the library instruction session and the librarian uses the responses to guide the discussion and introduce students to subject-specific search strategies

Natalie Mahan, Samantha Bishop Simmons, and Jill Becker worked with Rachel Davis to design an assignment that teaches students search skills through an online tutorial followed by a hands-on library instruction session to support a future course assignment requiring an interview with a KU faculty member. In the spring 2020 semester when the course was quickly moved online, the unit was repackaged into an interactive course guide, accomplishing the same learning outcome.

Karna Younger and Carmen Orth-Alfie collaborated with Peter Bobkowski to create an OER and an open pedagogy assignment to scaffold information literacy in an undergraduate research course. The OER, "Be Credible: Information Literacy for Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing Students," iteratively localizes information literacy to journalism students and their future careers. Students educate their peers by creating video tutorials included in the text, which cultivates a more relevant and inclusive learning environment for students.

Karna Younger and Betsaida Reyes partnered with Araceli Masterson to integrate open pedagogy into her Spanish writing course. Here, students researched local Chican@ and Latinx history to create children’s books to be shared during story times at local shelters and public libraries.

Paul Thomas worked with Chris Beard, Matthew Jones, and Spencer Mattingly to develop a Wikipedia-based project that taught students about the scholarly peer-review process. The course used an assignment that incorporated research, peer review, and writing so that students learned both about peer-review and creating and sharing knowledge.

Rhonda Houser worked with Bob Hagen to build a hands-on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) exercise that is refined each fall semester. The tutorial focused on analysis of forest ecology and land use at the Fitch Natural Reservation. Hagen created an assignment based on the tutorial and unit objectives. The exercise is unique as students collect the data onsite (forest plots, tree age and size), then convert their data to a GIS format in the lab, and explore their data in a geographic context with other layers such as soil and historic land use. The faculty member has built a database of past data collected by students, providing a longer range of data for site managers and students to use.

Carmen Orth-Alfie, L.Marie Avila and Natalie Mahan collaborated with Julie Hartness to redesign an assignment that met the learning outcomes for a first-year experience business course. The scaffolded case study assignment tasked students with synthesizing information found in a variety of sources, including trade publications and scholarly journal articles, to propose options to expand the case study business and outline a marketing plan. Orth-Alfie curated a collection of sources for the assignment and designed a course guide that introduced student to these sources arranged within a business framework.

Sara Morris provides instruction for History 301 each year that helps students learn how to search for primary sources. With increasing digitization, discoverability is reliant on keywords and it is imperative for researchers to understand the pitfalls and nuances of depending on a database to retrieve sources. Sara approaches her instruction using a lesson plan that demonstrates that searching for primary sources is not an intuitive activity.