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Learning Commons: Instructor Resources

Welcome to the OJC Learning Commons

Instructor Resources

To foster collaboration and reflective teaching, we encourage you to utilize the Faculty & Staff Resource Room in the OJC Learning Commons - 112. Three computers have been added to this room to support our part-time faculty. Feel free to browse and borrow from our collection of instructional books and videos. To reserve this room for meetings, please contact Donna Eddy at (719) 384-6884.


What Is a Course Guide?

A course guide is a website built specifically for your class by Wheeler Library staff. It may focus on a single class assignment, or it may address all assignments given for a semester. The choice is yours. Course guides are entirely customizable, can be linked to your D2L class, and can be easily updated from one semester to the next!

At the most basic level, a course guide will contain links to the best library resources for a specific topic or assignment, along with explanations of how to use those resources. A more robust guide may include any of the following:

  • multimedia files such as PowerPoints, podcasts, and videos
  • text documents such as Word or PDF files(a syllabus or assignment?)
  • interactive polls
  • RSS feeds pulled from the Web or the library's databases
  • images

Your imagination is the limit!

How Do I Get a Course Guide?

If you'd like a robust and original course guide, please be prepared to meet with library staff and discuss ideas and possibilities. However, we are more than happy to create a basic course guide for you with a copy of your syllabus and an explanation of the assignment(s) for which we are creating the guide. Please give us at least two weeks to put together a guide for your class. Contact Dr. Chelsea Herasingh by phone or email at (719) 384-6976 or to get started on your course guide today. 


Information Literacy in a Nutshell

As you know, Information Literacy has been designated one of the Institutional Learning Outcomes. A rubric and scoring sheet are provided.

Don’t panic! More than likely, you won’t need to change much of what you do. You might just need to change how you look at assignments, both when you’re creating them and later during evaluation.

First, let’s talk about what you’re getting yourself into. The Association for College and Research Libraries defines Information Literacy as “a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information.”
OJC’s information literacy ILO’s are:

  1. Evaluating information and its sources;
  2. Synthesizing main ideas to construct new concepts;
  3. Documenting references properly;
  4. Avoiding plagiarism.

The rubric will help you determine where your students are for each outcome. Library staff can help you if you get stuck.

Create Info Lit Assignments

Here are some general guidelines to use when creating assignments that incorporate information literacy:

  • Focus on each of the competencies
  • Give clear directions, and make the rubric available so students know what is being assessed
  • Don’t assume the students already know how to do research or use the library
  • Schedule a library instruction session
  • Don’t just tell the students not to plagiarize; explain what plagiarism is
  • Encourage students to ask library staff for help (but make sure the library staff has a copy of the assignment)
  • Talk to library staff about creating a LibGuide for your course and specific assignments.
  • Make sure the assignment makes sense and is do-able. Test it out
  • Require more than print resources; Wheeler Library has a wide variety of databases. Explain the difference between using library databases and the free internet, e.g., Google
  • Make sure if you require specific books/databases/etc., that they are available in the library
  • Assign a variety of topics. Having everyone do the same topic is boring for you and the students, and makes plagiarism easier to accomplish
  • Consider assigning a group project; use variety—allow students to do a podcast or video instead of the traditional written assignment

Research Paper Alternatives

Remember, you don’t have to assign a complete research paper to assess information literacy! Some suggestions:

  • Write an annotated bibliography on a topic
  • Evaluate sources based on specific criteria
  • Compare and contrast information on the same subject from a popular magazine and professional journal
  • Summarize a journal article; provide citation
  • Evaluate an article in Wikipedia against an article on the same topic in Credo
  • Find sources that back up an opinion or experiment
  • Examine bias in media
  • Pick a journal article and check its references. Are they available through library sources? Do they seem credible?
  • Find a source that gives a different opinion or outcome than one you’ve been studying.

Putting items on reserve is easy. Just fill out and print the Instructor Reserves Form and bring the material(s) to us.

You can choose if you want items to be for library use only or for three-day checkout. You can also specify how long you want the item(s) to be on reserve. By default, items will be on reserve through the end of the current semester. Wheeler Library's materials can also be put on reserve for a limited amount of time.

We’re happy to put current or older editions of textbooks on reserve. However, we can no longer accept donations of old textbooks for the collection. Other donations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis following our collection development guidelines.

We want to help you keep track of the items you have on reserve so that you can keep these materials current and relevant to the courses you are teaching each semester. We require that you come and pick up all of your reserve materials at the end of each semester so that you can evaluate them and decide if you want them on reserve for the next semester. We will send out a reminder via email toward the end of the semester.

Reserve requests will be available for student use within 24 hours upon our receipt of the items. DVDs cannot be duplicated for circulation. We no longer accept video cassettes. Please contact the library with any questions regarding the instructor reserves process.

View the items currently on reserve.

Using Online Sources

You have access to many online databases and other resources through Wheeler Library. We encourage you to embed and/or link to any of these resources in your D2L courses or in your course guides. All links to licensed databases must require a student to sign in prior to accessing the resource off-campus, for example, logging-in to D2L or linking through OJC's proxy server in course guides. These resources are here to help you and your students. Please let us know if you need assistance with making specific articles, videos, or other resources easily available to your students.

To access many of our online resources off-campus, you must have an OJC login. These resources are marked with a key icon . When you click on any of these links, you may be asked to input a username (your S-number) and password (your OJC network password).

If you would like to schedule an in-class instructional session to provide your students with information on how to conduct scholarly research or access a specific online resource, please contact Chelsea Herasingh at (719) 384-6976 or

Copyright Compliance

Yes. We know. You don't like to hear that word: Copyright. Believe us, it's more complicated than you think, and it's constantly changing, especially in this digital world. We can't advise you as to whether something violates copyright or not; that's up to the attorneys (who make a lot more than librarians or instructors!).

However, here are some tools that will help you make those decisions yourself. 

(One recommendation: it's generally safer to link to an article/item than reproduce the article/item itself).

P.S. All of the tools below fall within the creative commons license. Thanks to the American Library Association!

Fair Use Evaluator Tool

Does the term "fair use" have you stumped? That's unfair! Use this tool to determine if what you're using falls under fair use guidelines.

Fair Use Evaluator Tool

Instructor Exemptions

Yes, there are exemptions. Use this tool to find them!

Exemption Tool

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