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Library Confidential: Spring 14 - ROI on research assignments

The Madigan Library dishes the latest in student research

Whew!...hope this helps!

 While you may currently be wrestling with the challenges of wrapping up this semester, we welcome you to browse, bookmark, or use NudgeMail (see sidebar below) as a reminder to consult this quick guide to help you prepare for your fall semester courses---when you are ready to do so!  Think of this as your "guide on the side."

First, however, we recommend

1- Breathe.  (Do you even remember how to do it slowly and deeply?!)

2- Eat healthy to maintain your strength and stamina.  (We've seen you eating lunch-on-the-run, grabbing whatever you can, whenever you can!)

3- Grant yourself little indulgences (caffeine, chocolate, 40 winks) to boost morale and do whatever it takes to get you through until the end of the semester! 

You can do all of the aforementioned in the Madigan Library & Bookmarks Cafe!

Then ... please leisurely peruse our guide for helpful hints as you begin planning for fall.  We hope you will find this guide useful. you know about...?

NudgeMail - The easy way to send yourself reminders by the minute, hour, day, month, or year. You can write or forward any e-mail reminding yourself to add to your syllabus, create an assignment, schedule a research session, and much more.

You can send yourself messages or reminders in the form of scheduled return e-mails. Emails are scheduled by sending an email to and including when you want the email sent back in the subject line. A useful tool to get and stay organized!

For Your Convenience

Faculty Library Services Guide - A full menu of library services and resources to assist you with your teaching and information needs

Effective Library Assignments - A guide designed to help faculty create effective library assignments for students

How to use the Library - These modules were created by the librarians in the Madigan Library.  If you are an instructor at Penn College and are interested in using any of these modules and the accompanying assessments through P.L.A.T.O., please contact us.

Evaluating Resources - Rubrics for Students - Rubrics to use for evaluating resources, evaluating bibliographies, etc.

Plagiarism - Madigan Library Plagiarism Tutorial

Information Literacy - A reference guide addressing information literacy concepts, college studenrs' learning process, and the research process

Faculty-Librarian Collaboration - Guide to promote and facilitate faculty-librarian collaboration

Madigan Library - Library's main site of services and resources

Subject Librarians - Directory of school subject librarians

Research Help - A suite of available research help services


Madigan Library

Have a question for Library Confidential?

Tracey Amey
Director of the Madigan Library

Judy Zebrowski
Librarian, Information Literacy Initiatives

ROI: Your return-on-investment - supporting student research

Loosely defined, return-on-investment (ROI) is getting back what you invest and realizing the benefit of your input. When you analyze and assess your students’ work, and conclude that there could/should be improvement in their research papers and projects, consider the value of library instruction services to your teaching and student learning.  Information literacy skills focus on locating and evaluating information sources and using information in a legal and ethical manner. We can work collaboratively to integrate critical thinking skills into the research process to achieve higher-order thinking that results in quality research papers and assignments. 

Contact your subject librarian for more information.


Critical Thinking Question Stems-Bloom's Taxonomy

Critical thinking skills and information literacy skills are inter-related in that they both demand higher-order thinking skills.  When planning assignments, projects, and class discussions, consider these skills and question stems below to encourage deeper, more provocative thought processes and better quality end-products.

Scooped from Flickr user enokson under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerive license)

Fall Course Planning

Jumpstart your fall course prep by browsing our Library Confidential Guide for inspiration, as well as useful library services and resources, as you begin planning for fall teaching and learning. 

Prep Recommendations

  • Plan to talk with your students about research and impress upon them that research is a continuous, qualitative process and not a once-and-done, simplistic Google search. Like writing, it is a developmental process.
  • Discuss with students your expectations for college-level learning and research.  Many students do not understand the concept of higher-level learning, and find the transition from high-school to college-level learning challenging.  What worked for them in high school does not necessarily translate to college-level expectations. 
  • Test-drive and update your assignment.  Like most everything in life, library databases and collections change with the times and the budget. 
  • Work with your subject librarian to ensure the quality and quantity of assignment-related resources to build and maintain the library collection in your field of study.  Encourage students to use the resources. The library is accountable for cost/use ratios. 
  • As you keep up with your professional development and best practices, recommend current resources in your field of expertise to your subject librarian. Ensure that current, qualitative information is available to students as they work to successfully complete assignments and projects. 
  • Discuss the assignment and ask students to explain it back to the class for understanding and clarification of requirements.
  • Embed the Library's website and your school's subject librarian into your P.L.A.T.O. course.  Your school librarian can be embedded virtually and also visit your classes throughout the semester to focus on specific learning outcomes.
  • Request research instruction and closely align it with the timing of an assignment.  Librarians can provide course-integrated instruction to scaffold research strategies and provide learning opportunities for students to become familiar with discipline-specific research tools and information.
  • Request a course-related research guide with resources and services tailored to course assignments.  Embed the research guide in P.L.A.T.O. for easy access for students.

What We're Reading

Remembering Our Mission to Teach - Educator's perspective on being mission-oriented and student centered esentially focusing on thinking deeply and building relationships

Eight Lessons about Student Learning and What They Mean for You - Classic principles that guide decision-making in curriculum development.  Mindful tenets even for the seasoned professional.

Three Teaching Styles - Consider varying your teaching styles to include the three Ds: Directing, Discussing, Delegating. 

Four Characteristics of Successful Teaching - Teaching-award-winning faculty identify the factors that have made them successful.

Featured Reads from the Library Catalog