Where Do You Start?

(contact faculty at least one week before session, if possible)

Begin by settling the logistics:

  • What are preferred and alternate session times?
  • Where will it be taught? (Their regular classroom? If so, is it a hands-on room? In one of the libraries? Is there another hands-on classroom available?)
  • Will this be a required session for the students?
  • How many students are in the class?
  • Will class time be shared with the faculty member, or is he/she allowing you the full class period?
  • Will the faculty member be present for the session?
  • Request a copy of the syllabus and the assignment students will be working on

Identify what skills the students already possess and in which areas they need instruction. Remember, it is best to schedule an instruction session at the point of need - at the time a student is preparing for an assignment. Before speaking with or emailing faculty, it is helpful to create a checklist of questions you have. This checklist might include:

  • Will the students have chosen their research topics by the time of the session? Will the faculty member send a list of them before the session? (This will allow you to create demo searches that do not replicate any student topics)
  • Are the students required to use a certain number and/or type of source (Web, scholarly, 3 articles, 1 book)?
  • What are some skills that the faculty member hopes the students will acquire?
  • What year are the students (freshmen, upperclassmen?)?
  • Are there specific concepts, resources or databases the faculty member would like taught?
  • Are there concepts that are unclear to the students? Barriers the students have in the research process?
  • Do the students have any special needs (eg., ESL students, visually or hearing impaired students, etc.)?

See a Sample Email to a faculty member.