For Emory faculty: Prepare for spring 2021 courses with the Emory Libraries

Since the spring semester will arrive before we know it, the Emory Libraries wanted to share some resources, tips, and suggestions for ways we can support your spring semester courses. Considering alternatives to the most common challenges in providing access to course materials and in supporting student research can reduce frustration for both instructors and students. Some problems that instructors and students may face include the following:

  • 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 may require students to 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.
  • Some instructors may turn to the Libraries’ Reserves staff for assistance with digitizing course materials, and if they need only a small portion of a book to be digitized and shared on e-reserves, that is usually possible. However, course reserves are intended to be supplemental course readings, and we cannot digitize and share large portions of or an entire book 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 Libraries 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 subject librarian or informationist (see below for contacts).
  • Utilize existing Emory ebook content and work with your subject librarian or informationist 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 multiuser 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 our ebook guide. Contact your subject librarian or informationist 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 subject librarian or informationist 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 Libraries 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. 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 Emory Libraries Instructional Services website to learn about how you can get support from the Libraries for your class. Remember, subject librarians and informationists are always happy to meet with you to discuss options for course materials and assignments!
  • Visit CFDE’s Online Teaching website for a wide range of content on designing and developing an online course, including crafting assignments and selecting course materials. The Flexible Teaching Toolkit and other resources include content from CFDE, the Emory Libraries, Academic Technology Services, and Emory College.

Contacts and Resources 

Consult with librarians and informationists 

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

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

Course Reserves Contacts

Instructors can get assistance with course reserves, including placing course readings on e-reserves which are integrated into your Canvas course, by contacting the appropriate reserves staff.

  • Woodruff Library, reserves [at] emory [dot] edu
  • Business Library, gbsreserves [at] emory [dot] edu
  • Law Library, lawcirc [at] emory [dot] edu
  • Oxford College Library, ox-librarystaff [at] listserv [dot] cc [dot] emory [dot] edu
  • Pitts Theology Library, theologyreserves [at] emory [dot] edu
  • Health Sciences Library, medref [at] listserv [dot] cc [dot] emory [dot] edu

Course Materials Resources

Instruction Resources




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