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Library Instruction, Information Literacy, and Critical Thinking

The primary mission of the Library is to teach and advance critical thinking and research skills in partnership with the Kent State University (KSU) and Stark State College (SSC) communities. Contributing to the academic success of students and their preparation for lifelong learning is central to this mission. Our goal is to develop, support, and increase information literacy competencies among KSU's and SSC's diverse student body, faculty, and staff. 

The librarians strive to create a learning environment which encourages student academic success and which prepares them for lifelong learning in our information rich society. This web page is an overview of how the library provides instruction. Faculty may be particularly interested in reviewing it, as a way to help integrate library instruction into their teaching efforts.

Schedule a library instruction session using our Online Request Form.

Types of Instruction

  • Orientation Library instruction for first year classes (KSU's Flashpoint and SSCT's College Composition, for examples) takes a very general approach to introducing students to the services and sources of information available to them. The general lay-out and navigational structure of the web site is discussed. Example searches are conducted to find books in KentLINK and OhioLINK and items are requested. Students are shown how to find and request documents and the plethora of databases and online sources to find information. Access to library resources from off-campus is also addressed. A short discussion generally takes place, when time permits, on the evaluation of web sites found using search engines. When the classes are small enough, laptops are used to give the students a hands-on experience with navigating the library site. A pamphlet is handed out which has reminders of their instruction, URLs, and library policies. To be most effective, this type of instruction should always be held in the library.
  • Subject-Specific Library instruction sessions for subject specific classes are individually designed to meet the research goals of the instructor and students. To meet these research goals, the most successful sessions require that the students have a pre-selected research topic. It is extremely helpful to discuss the research assignment with the instructor in order to choose the best sources for the students to use. When the students meet in the library for the instruction session, the librarian often provides a handout and an overview of the sources that should be used. The students are then provided with laptops and reference materials in order to start finding resources for their topics. The librarian meets with each student to ensure that the students are finding the sources that they need. If needed, the librarian can provide a follow-up library session with the students, individually or as a class, to ensure that the students are finding the best possible sources for their assignments. While it is better to hold these session in the library (where all available resources can be found), they are sometimes held in computer labs on campus, when only electronic sources are needed.
  • Plagiarism The library plays an important role in addressing the problem of student plagiarism. As a component of information literacy (described by the ACRL Standards--Standard Five), it is a responsibility of the library to assist students and faculty in understanding what constitutes plagiarism and how cases of plagiarism should be handled. As a result, the library has developed a Plagiarism Workshop, often provided to University Orientation classes, geared towards informing students of the university's policy on student cheating and plagiarism as well as providing practical ways to avoid the problem. The library also conducts "Plagiarism School" for first-time offenders. These sessions are modeled after "Traffic School," as a way to mitigate penalties in return for reeducation on the topic.
  • Problem-Based Learning The library is interested in working with instructors on problem-based assignments. If you are an instructor considering an assignment that describes a problem that requires students to use information sources to solve the problem, please consider contacting us to discuss holding a session in the library. Assignments such as these (particularly when students work in small groups) are an excellent way to allow students to apply practical information literacy skills for conducting research on a topic, using both print and online library resources.

Plagiarism Workshop

Plagiarism Workshop A 50 minute session that informs FYE students about policies and procedures at KSU as well as an interactive discussion of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

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