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University Libraries

Working together, teaching together

By Heidi Gauder

A prayer book, a turn-of-the-century student magazine, comic books, and a University-owned house:  these were the artifacts students researched for UDI 204, a 1-credit hour mini-course. The mini-course itself was something new for a group of University Libraries archivists and librarians who came together to create this class, which was titled “This is UD:  Archival and Primary Source Research.”

The course was based on a shared desire to offer students a more in-depth experience with not only the University’s archival and special collections, but also to expose students to relevant print and online primary source materials.  Working together, the librarians and archivists devised a course that taught students about our campus, community, Catholic, and Marianist past. The course aimed to go beyond an introductory “show and tell” overview of the materials by connecting items in the collections to current trends and issues that archivists and librarians confront; topics included visual literacy, representation in archives, historical empathy, and privacy concerns.  

Teaching a for-credit course was new for many of us.  We learned lessons about the syllabus outline, the session readings, rubrics, and grading expectations.  In the end, however, the student work showed that the effort that the team put into developing the course was worth it.  Each student created a digital poster based on the artifact he researched and presented to the library staff. “The students did a great job of connecting the archival themes we discussed to the artifacts, and their background research was interesting and relevant. They also showed great poise when they presented to a large crowd of library staff!” Stephanie Shreffler noted.

This course was an opportunity for collaboration within the library and also fulfilled goals of the University Libraries’ strategic plan:  advancing student learning and highlighting our Catholic, Marian and University special collections and programs. Special collections are reflections of the University’s identity and now these students have a better understanding of what it really means to be a member of the UD community.

UDI 204 Instructors for spring 2018 are Jennifer Brancato, Sarah Cahalan, Heidi Gauder, Kayla Harris, Kristina Schultz, Stephanie Shreffler. 

- Heidi Gauder, professor/coordinator of research and instruction.

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