Library Learning Experiences for Quest Courses

To consider the Smathers Libraries in your experiential learning experience, or to talk with a librarian about possibilities, contact your subject specialist.  

The Smathers Libraries can provide many opportunities to enhance the classroom experience.  Our librarians and curators can help you to arrange:

  • Hands-on introductions to library collections, resources and technologies.
  • Problem-solving activities and challenges designed around collection items.
  • Capstone assignments or other creative projects.

Using the ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education, UF Librarians can identify the outcomes that are ideal for your students. If you have an interest in integrating the libraries into an experiential learning assignment, reach out to your subject specialist at least a month in advance. If you are interested in creating a larger class assignment, like a capstone project, or designing a portion of your class around materials in our Special Collections or Archives, please consult with us as you are developing your syllabus.

Learning Experiences with our Special & Area Studies Collections

Below are models of experiential learning activities that can be done using the George A. Smathers Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections (SASC). If you’re interested in a particular approach, SASC’s curators can help tailor it to the number of students enrolled and subject area of your course.

Note – Periods here refer to a 50-minute period and are meant to give a sense of the time or number of visits that the activity would take when planning your syllabus. For example, a class that meets for two consecutive periods might be able to do a more involved activity during one meeting.   

Example Activities

Class Visit and Q+A: (1 Period)

Instructor and Curator work to select materials from the collections that fit a course theme or question. Students are introduced to the materials and the guiding question, and have free time to circulate, photograph, and ask individual questions. This activity serves as the foundation to other projects or assignments during or outside class time.

  • These are ideal when tied to a reflection activity: a class chat, blog, or journal.
  • Multiple visits can be arranged to convey a class theme or learning objective.

Intro and Group Working Session: (2 Periods)

Students select a topic or object from those introduced in the first class visit or period, then work independently in small groups for the second to investigate and discuss it. They may give a short presentation on their findings as an assignment or in a subsequent class.

Capstone Project: (1+ Periods)

An independent research assignment that builds on a selection of Special Collections materials. The type of assignment can be tailored to instructor needs and the learning objectives of the particular course.

  • If this is a lower-level class, it is recommended that instructors build a session on the Libraries’ circulating resources into the course by consulting with the department’s Liaison Librarian.

Collaborative Digital Capstone Project: (2+ Periods)

  • Students work in groups or as a class to produce a digital or creative project based on their research in the collections. Courses have used a range of different technologies, including Adobe Spark, Omeka, Scalar, ArcGis/Neatline. (see the #DLFTeach Toolkit 1.0 for ideas)            
  • These will require class time outside of Special Collections, both for teaching the digital platform or any other necessary skills and for giving students time to work on their projects.
  • Instructors should consult with Tiffany Esteban (link to email) to arrange for separate introductions to the technologies for their students.