For Oxford Faculty: Preparing for Spring 2021 with the Library

photo of the inside of the library

Since the start of the semester will arrive before we know it, the Oxford College Library wanted to share some resources, tips, and suggestions for ways we can support your spring semester courses.

The switch to hybrid and remote teaching and learning created many challenges for students and instructors. To reduce frustration for you and your students, consider alternatives to traditional ways of providing access to course materials and supporting student research. Some problems that instructors and students may face:

  • Students studying remotely have limited access to print materials on campus, including physical course reserves (even if they were on campus, current health and safety measures preclude our ability to offer print reserves).
  • Some instructors request that students purchase out-of-print materials, which may be readily accessible at used booksellers in the U.S. but very difficult or impossible to obtain outside the U.S.
  • Students can purchase print materials and have them shipped, but international shipping rates may be cost prohibitive.
  • The Course Reserves team is able to help with digitizing some course materials, if you only need a small portion of a book to be digitized and shared on e-reserves.
    • However, course reserves are intended to be supplemental course readings, and we cannot digitize and share large portions of a work via e-reserves if that book is still under copyright protection.
  • Acquiring course materials, like everything else, takes longer than expected these days.
  • Students may not be aware of ways to get help from the library with their research assignments.

Course Materials 

Please budget extra time and consider the following when drafting assignments and selecting materials for your spring 2021 semester course:

  • Consider access and affordability of course materials, including Open Educational Resources (OERs), as alternatives to traditional textbooks. A good place to start is the Open Textbook Library, a collection of 800+ OERs curated by the Open Education Network, based at the University of Minnesota. Another option is OpenStax at Rice University. You can also find more information on OER on the Emory Scholarly Communication Office website.
    • If you have trouble finding OERs that will work for you, please contact your personal librarian.
  • Utilize existing Emory ebook content and work with your personal librarian to access additional content, when available. The Libraries continue to expand access to an ever-growing number of individual ebooks and ebook collections, most of which are discoverable through discoverE.  While we strive to purchase multi-user ebook options for teaching and reserves, certain publisher restrictions may exist. For more information on our key ebook collections and assistance in locating, accessing, and working with ebooks for your course, please carefully review the ebook guide compiled by librarians at Woodruff Library. Contact your personal librarian to determine if we can acquire an acceptable ebook version of your required and supplementary texts, or if an existing text can meet class needs.
    • Keep in mind that textbooks are difficult for libraries to acquire in digital forms. Rental options, through the Barnes and Noble Bookstore, may be the best option for some students to access textbooks. Also, remember that Wiley, Oxford, Springer, Cambridge and Routledge all produce a variety of handbooks, companions, and surveys which can serve as course texts freely accessible to you and your students. Again, see our ebook guide for more details as to the availability and access to these collections. Consider OER options (see above) as well.
    • Free options such as Open Library may be useful, although these ebooks are read-only, and not downloadable.
  • Leverage existing Emory video content through discoverE and check out the Emory streaming video content options. Work with your personal librarian to acquire new contentAcquiring streaming video can take significantly more time than purchasing a DVD, so please inquire as early as possible to determine if the Oxford Library can provide streaming access. You may want to also consider if film clips are a potential option in lieu of the full streaming access. Keep in mind that some distributors do not have institutional streaming access options and may only provide individual rental streaming options. Please note that Kanopy and Swank provide the quickest turnaround.
  • When you are developing your research assignments and activities, remember to keep in mind not just your course structure, but also your students’ circumstances and access to research materials. Considering different situations in advance can help you select materials and develop assignments that ensure all of your students can achieve your course objectives, whether they are residing in an Emory dorm or spending their semester overseas.

Instruction Support 

  • Visit the Faculty Services and Resources guide to learn about how you can get support from the Oxford Library for your class. Remember, your personal librarian is always happy to meet with you to discuss options for course materials and assignments!
  • Visit the Faculty Training Resources Canvas site and review the OCOT (Oxford College Online Teaching) modules from summer 2020. The modules, which were created in collaboration with the library, Oxford Center for Teaching & Scholarship (OCTS), Academic Technology, and OCIT, cover online teaching best practices, syllabus creation, student information literacy support, and more!

Contacts and Resources 

Consult with Librarians

For assistance with open educational resources, ebooks, streaming videos, or research assignments, we are offering remote consultations with librarians.

For assistance with student learning accommodations, please contact Emory’s Department of Accessibility Services.

Course Materials Resources

Instruction Resources

Thanks to the Emory Libraries team for compiling resources which were used heavily for this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *