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Library Resources as Course Materials

Information about how to link library resources to course materials such as syllabi or class session documents in Canvas

Listing Library Resources as Course Materials

The libraries at Tulane University are ranked among the members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), a group recognized as the top 125 research libraries in North America.  For Tulane students (and faculty) this translates into a tremendous educational opportunity not to be missed or underutilized. The broad scope and depth of its library resources is one of the university's distinguishing strengths. 

Still, many Tulane students who are used to relying on less authoritative general internet sources will not benefit from high-quality library resources unless they are encouraged by faculty, through course assignments, to use them.

Therefore it's important for teaching faculty to develop course materials that point students to articles, books, primary source materials and other scholarly resources apart from textbooks, and to develop assignments that generally point students toward the library (physically, online, or both).

Course Reserves and Scanned Material

Course Reserves provide students with access to print format materials selected by Tulane faculty and instructors for use as course materials. Physical items such as books, CDs, DVDs, or printed copies of book chapters can be placed on reserve at a variety of service points (Howard-Tilton circulation desk, Howard-Tilton Media Services, Matas Health Sciences Library, and the Architecture Library) and made available to students through short term loans.  For more information see Course Reserves.

Journal articles or book chapters originally published in print format and without published versions online may be scanned and linked to course materials such as those accessible through Canvas.  For assistance with linking scanned items within the Canvas course management system contact the Faculty Technology Lab at (504) 862-8594.

However, all content placed on Course Reserves or copied from an original physical format to a digital copy for use as course material must comply with U.S. Copyright law and fair use guidelines. For example:

  • Faculty should not seek to place on reserve or otherwise post copyrighted material or portions of copyrighted material without first determining that the content is sufficiently licensed or falls within the public domain and that use of the content is a fair use for which the owner's permission is not required.

  • Copyrighted materials placed on reserve can be made available for students only while the requesting instructor is actually teaching the course, and must be removed from reserve status after the course is no longer in session.

  • Book selections scanned as course material should not exceed 15% of the total pages in the source.  Journal articles scanned as course materials should not exceed two articles from any issue of the publication.

  • Placement of items on reserved or use of scanned publication originally in print format for two or more consecutive semesters requires copyright permission. Copyright permission can be sought though the Copyright Clearance Center.

Encouraging Students to Find Library Reources on their Own

Information from social media, the internet, collected data, and observation, however important, can also be somewhat one-dimensional.  In an academic or research setting, meaning and understanding from these things are derived through a process of considering them within a context provided from comparisons to related concepts treated in thoughtful, authoritative literature. 

Library Instruction:  Librarians can help students go beyond Google to engage in this process of scholarship. They can help students learn to find information and scholarly literature, understand how it's produced and valued, and use it ethically to create new knowledge. Based on the goals of your assignment, a subject specialist librarian will custom-prepare a library workshop for students to learn about the research process, to use subject-specific databases, to locate scholarly sources, and/or to properly cite sources.  See the Library Instruction Services web page for more information.

General Research Help:  Students can get quick general help at any stage of the research process, by calling the library's Research Help Desk at (504) 865-5606 or emailing the Research Help staff at libref@tulane.edu. They may also chat with the Research Help staff.

Within the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building the Research Help Desk is located on the 1st floor in the Learning Commons area near the building's main entrance.  During normal semester periods the desk is staffed during the following hours.

  • Monday–Thursday 9 am - 9 pm
  • Friday 9 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday Research Help Desk 12 noon - 9 pm

Other Types of Research Help: Students can request a Research Appointment for a personalized, in-depth meeting with a subject specialist librarian to discuss specific or in-depth project related research needs.  The library also offers a wide range of open attendance workshops covering the use of specific research tools or topics.

Customized Guides Provided by the Library

Librarians involved in the library's Instruction Program will by request create an online guide to accompany a course-related assignment. Guides typically include relevant databases, library research tips, and contact information for subsequent help. Links to resources in these guides are generally the persistent links that allow students to connect remotely to resources licensed from publishers and therefore with access otherwise restricted to the Tulane campus network.

For more information see the library's Collections Contacts list to locate the contact info for the librarian liaison to your academic department or discipline.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Textbooks can be expensive for some students, particularly for those who depend on financial aid to attend college.  Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that are freely available for instructors and students to use or adapt for use. Examples include textbooks and even entire course modules but also individual lesson plans, assignments, exams, videos, and instructional software. Many OER textbooks are peer reviewed and can be an alternative to commercially published texts.

The library maintains a guide designed to increase awareness about Open Educational Resources (OER).  Listing a variety of sources for obtaining OER resources, the guide can be a starting place to begin to consider them for selection as course materials. 

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