Research Where You Learn: Incorporating Research and Information Literacy Modules into WebCT
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Meeting students where they learn is integral to their academic success, and right now, students are learning online. The use of course management systems such as WebCT has expanded well beyond the realm of distance education. In addition to being the primary method of teaching online and hybrid courses, WebCT is used by UH professors who teach traditional classes to manage assignments, communicate with students, and supplement the in-class learning experience. Students log in to WebCT almost as frequently as they log in to Facebook. Since WebCT is so central to the student learning experience within the University of Houston System, it's the perfect platform for discipline-specific research and information literacy instruction. Librarians from the UH M.D. Anderson Library have created a series of course-specific research guides, virtual subject libraries, and research "how-to" videos that can easily be incorporated into multiple WebCT courses. Integrating these modules into the virtual classroom environment creates a direct pathway to the library and its abundant information resources, as well as research instruction. Students with minimal research experience can access resources that have been hand-picked and created by librarians, as well as learn how to use the secondary research tools essential to academic success. By incorporating these research modules into their WebCT courses, faculty can provide research tools and instruction in online environment that is familiar to their students. Doing so will help eliminate unnecessary hurdles in the research process, thereby improving the quality of their students' research papers and projects.