thing 3: Environmental Scan

Jacobson & Gibson get us started thinking about how to implement the Framework at our own institution. Similarly, this “thing” focuses on the big picture planning for integrating the Framework into your institution’s information literacy instruction curriculum. Subsequent “@ your institution things” will dive deeper into the essential steps like curriculum mapping, outreach & marketing, linking to institutions goals/accreditation, & collaborating with campus partners.

Reading

Jacobson, T. E., & Gibson, C. (2015). First thoughts on implementing the framework for information literacy. Communications in Information Literacy, 9(2), 102.

Activity

Before embarking on creating or revising an information literacy program/course to respond to changes in best practices informed by the new Framework, it is important do an environmental scan of your institution. Reviewing institutional goals, identifying partners, and collecting information will better enable you to “frame” information literacy at your institution.

With that in mind, as an individual or with your instruction team:

1.   Identify stakeholders & partners. Here are some examples to guide your search:

  • Departments & Offices: Office of research & assessment, English department, Writing Center
  • Committees: Curriculum Committees, Writing Intensive Program
    Individuals: library advocates (faculty, deans, etc), department chairs
  • Forums: Teaching Learning Institute, Center for Teaching and Learning

2.   Review institutional goals & strategies. Here are some questions to ponder as you’re reviewing:

  • Where does IL fit into the strategic plan and mission?
  • What frames/knowledge practices/dispositions connect with your institution’s learning goals?
  • Does your institution have any assessment processes you could tap into?
  • What accrediting bodies oversee programs/institution? What benchmarks & data do they require?

Share what you learned from completing an environmental scan in the comments section below. Here are some optional questions to guide your response:

  • What potential stakeholders & partners did you identify? Do you already have strong relationships that you can build upon? If so, how?
  • What frames/knowledge practices/dispositions connect with your institution’s learning goals?
  • Where do you see the best starting point for engaging your community & integrating the Framework into your teaching practice?
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27 comments

  1. This has already been done at my institution, and we are in the final stages of getting a very slightly modified version of the framework passed by the college as our college’s information literacy outcomes. It was mapped to one specific “ability” among the college’s General Education Abilities (i.e., the abilities that we say a student leaving here with an Associate’s Degree ought to possess), as well as to the information literacy criteria of our accrediting agency. There’s one final committee that needs to sign off on our info lit outcomes this fall before it becomes an official policy.

    We had good relationships with a lot of faculty members (and departments) who teach in person, and there are people we reliably know will bring their classes here for one-offs or two-offs each semester. The info lit outcomes (i.e. framework), give us a nice way frame our sessions and connect assignments and activities to information literacy.

    I think the bigger challenge is connecting with faculty who teach online and finding ways to meaningfully integrate info lit in their courses. I’ve been bringing up the information literacy outcomes with online faculty, but I really do need to find ways to be more strategic about it.

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  2. I identified the English department, the Office of Research and Creative Endeavors, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. I have relationships with members of these departments, but there is more that I could do. I need to reach out to the English faculty and ask about getting more involved with the first-year writing seminar that students take here at Guilford.
    I’d say that all of them apply – we are fortunate enough to have information literacy written into our General Education Learning Outcomes!
    I think that the best starting point for engaging my community is with faculty who already believe in information literacy instruction. I could use them to help spread the word about services that we provide.

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    • I think conducting an environmental scan is very important to really make librarians think about partnerships across campus. This practice also reminds us how our work fits in to the larger scheme of things.The first place to start is the mission of the university. For example, our mission is centered around scholarship, stewardship and leadership and states that we are “teaching-centered and student-focused, providing diverse learning experiences and professional programs grounded in the liberal arts.” Part of this experience includes information literacy instruction so that students can understand how to use the information they learn everyday in the academic world and the professional world.

      Our stakeholders of course are the faculty, and students on campus. Building relationships with faculty is very important and we do that very well with our liaison program. Faculty get to know librarians and have a personal connection to someone in the library. Attending faculty events and other campus activities gets librarians out to help build those relationships. Outreach is essential because a lot of people just don’t come to the library because they are not aware of how we can help them. One thing that I do with my liaison department (Education) is provide Brown Bag workshops for graduate and undergraduate students. These topics tend to be a little different than the standard library instruction sessions and they also reach grad students who do not always get information literacy instruction in their courses. I also collaborate on other projects within that department. Our department also offers a program called “Don’t Cancel That Class” that enables professors to schedule library instruction when they need to be absent rather than canceling class for the day. These sessions are also unlike the standard instruction sessions that we provide students everyday.

      All of the frames are applicable to what we do in and outside of the library.

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      • Ooh, I’d love to hear more about Don’t Cancel That Class. How does that work? You must have sort of pre-made lessons that you deliver, right? Would you mind sharing what they are? Do you find that professors take you up on it? Do students show up?

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  3. A great place to start is with the area Dean and Instruction Librarians. Reviewing the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) for the credited courses together and creating a map of how the SLO’s can be connected to the Framework. Depending on how many weeks the course is taught and the types of assignments covered then linking the SLO/Framework outcomes to individual assignments would be a physical document to follow.

    Next would be identifying those Professors that use the Library for Research Appointments and one-shot instruction sessions. A plan can be made to address subject specific goals that link to the Framework depending on the field of study.

    Our campuses do SLO reporting for the courses in which we report how the class did per class in relation to meeting the SLO’s which is gauged by test/quiz scores, student self reporting and assignment success. Something similar could be used to evaluate how the Framework concepts are being utilized and how successful they are in the classes and one-shots.

    To make a full institutional adoption my thought is that it would have to go through committees at each campus and at the district level. I am not sure of this but it seems to make an institutional adoption these steps would be necessary.

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  4. What potential stakeholders & partners did you identify? Do you already have strong relationships that you can build upon? If so, how?

    The environmental scan was useful because we have on campus a wealth of possibilities many of which we just have not really pursued. Of course we have the old reliable suspects of the English dept. but we also have a new position/area Diversity initiatives which aims to increase retention of students and their excelling in studies beyond simply hanging on. That will have a series of workshops in the fall.

    We have a Teaching and Learning Center which on paper 2-3 times a semester has presentations targeted to faculty/administration that presents workshops on best practices in teaching, retention, academic excellence targeted towards the faculty. Every few years the Honors department has a summer class which we teach that is called Research in a Networked Environment. These are just a few examples so there are potential and real partners we have. Our issue is making potential strong enough to become stable realities.

    What frames/knowledge practices-connect with your institution’s learning goals? As for frames I’ll list 3 for the sake of brevity that fit my institution’s goals, i.e. authority is constructed, information has value, and research as inquiry.

    Where do you see the best starting point for engaging your community & integrating the Framework into your teaching practice? Two good starting points would be the summer honors course and during the long semesters when we do the standard how to use a database instruction in the sense of research as inquiry vs. simply here is a database and here is how to hit a few buttons to get an answer to be spit out. 90% of instruction is through 1 shot session which increasingly at least have a focus vs. trying to cover too much in too little time.

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  5. This has been tough for me as I am new to my institution. I know that our library is involved in committees and plays a key role in information and knowledge management. From what I have observed so far, the levelsof involvement in curriculum decision making and collaboration with departments varies widely. I am looking forward to using this information as I continue to observe and get involved.

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  6. As a part-time employee, and a relatively new one at that, doing an environmental scan is beyond the scope of my position. However, I have been talking with others in the Research and Education department of the library about the Standards, the Framework, and library instruction. We currently use a checklist approach and tend to provide instruction on searches that the instructor wants us to cover. Jacobson and Gibson’s redesigned single session provides a useful model to follow to incorporate the Framework into a session.

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  7. This activity came a little late for us but it’s a great opportunity for others who have been on the fence about how to get started. We have already determined where we can start implementing the Framework to give our students more value no matter how long or frequent their library session might be. The starting point for us in a newly minted Inquiry Seminar with a wide variety of topics, each section taught by a different professor, to engage first year students in research and writing. I’m working with a biology professor who is teaching an Inquiry Seminar about infectious diseases, a topic that is wide, current, and even personal and I’m excited to be working outside of my usual liaison groups. Other sections are about how we handle change, the politics in your food, science in the movies, ethics and professional sports, and non-verbal communication are a few examples of the topics students can choose.

    Librarians are included in teaching “library skills” but we are far more a part of the process now. I loved the comparisons between the Standards and the Framework in Jacobson & Gibson’s article and the examples were most helpful. We are incorporating the flipped classroom into our sessions to make the most use of the in-class time but I especially liked the example where students were to think about and respond to the question of why authors include a literature review in scholarly articles. This seems quite basic to us but a terrific way to open the conversation on becoming a part of the scholarly community.

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  8. I really liked this exercise, as it made me think deeply about who and what to focus on if/when we should decide to incorporate more of a library/college partnership with regard to information literacy. Right now, we do classes as requested, with over 95% one shot instruction. We do not use standards or frames formally when we develop our objectives–I would say informally we are closer to the old ACRL standards. My hope is that someday we will start mapping to the framework as we develop and refocus our lesson plans.
    I identified several stakeholders and partners that I feel we could develop or strengthen relationships with if we wanted to incorporate the ACRL framework more thoroughly into our college curriculum.
    *VP Teaching, Learning, and Student Development
    *Dean of Academic Development and Learning Resources
    *Distance Learning
    *Departments such as English, Communications, or Health professions
    *Committees such as curriculum, assessment, and accreditation
    *Institutional Research

    Although we have some established relationships already, I would think that the most receptive to this may be the English, Communications, and/or Health Professions.

    Our college’s mission is a simple one: To improve people’s lives through learning. We also have several strategic goals and shared values which can be related to information literacy:
    *Goals (these 4 of 6 seemed the best fit):
    1. Foster a learning centered environment.
    2. Promote student goal completion.
    5. Strengthen educational and workforce partnerships to created a more responsive and sustainable community.
    6. Enhance Elgin Community College as an employer of choice.

    I think the Frames work better with the Shared values we hold, particularly:
    1. Ethical practices: mapped to Information has Value
    2. Freedom of inquiry: mapped to Searching as Strategic Exploration, Research as Inquiry, and Scholarship as Conversation
    3.Excellence: I think working to develop deeper and more meaningful ways for students to gain true information literacy fosters this particular value with all the frames. Aligning the frames with our curriculum and providing exercises (Jacobson & Gibson, 2015, p. 104) that instructors can use to enhance their current assignments will help to move students along and help us to assess the impact in a better way.

    I really liked the suggestion of assessing at some point a while AFTER the session (Jacobson & Gibson, 2015, p. 108) rather than immediately. I think you may be able to see a more entrenched learning here (transformative, irreversible, etc.) than in the immediate aftermath of the class.

    If I were to be in a position to be able to instigate a project of incorporating information literacy more into our curriculum, I would do a more thorough scan and identify individuals to meet with to propose a study. With that, I would provide some concrete examples of what these information literacy exercises, modules, or assessments MAY look like. I think the best means of approaching this is to show that there has to be as little work for the instructor as they would like (with the librarian taking on the IL role) and that the librarian show the impact and meaning of the extra exercises for the students and their success.

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  9. My institution is currently in the midst of consolidating with another institution, so it will be very interesting to see how the information literacy environment changes over the next several years. Currently, my institution incorporates information literacy in its Freshman Year Seminar program, and there is quite a bit in Freshmen Composition. We will have to wait and see what changes since the institution with which we are consolidating takes a different approach. An environmental scan (or several) could be useful as we see how things are changing and begin working with the various departments in the new, consolidated university that has new goals.

    My Reference & Instruction colleagues in the library have regular conversations about incorporating elements of the Framework throughout the courses we work with, however the reality is that one-shots are the predominant delivery method, and I don’t see that changing very soon. For me, it is about doing what we can with the interaction we have, and cultivating faculty relationships with those who already “get it.” They tend to be our champions and help spread our efforts.

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  10. We don’t have faculty status, we don’t sit on any curriculum committees, and only our director gets to go to the Faculty Senate meetings. Still we have made some inroads into adapting the basic freshman English composition class by working with individual faculty members. .

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    • We are faculty status (yay!) but as adjuncts, we are not included in most of the library’s planning or any discussions of instruction and objectives (although the adjuncts do the bulk of the instruction sessions.) We do have academic freedom with our lesson plans, but with 8 adjuncts, it is hard to have a level of consistency. So far I haven’t seen much discussion of incorporating the framework. We are also not encouraged (permitted?) to contact individual instructors on this type of idea. Only on the instruction/assignment. It is kind of weird…

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  11. Fortunately, the library has built strong relationships with a wide range of college organizations and departments, including IT and Instructional Technology Development Program. I mention these primarily because without them the library would not be at the table for important conversations about how to best support and integrate instruction of all kinds. We are lucky to have a few faculty librarians who serve on the faculty senate and other important committees as well. We are well placed to become part of the larger conversation about creating more student engagement through High Impact Practices. There are active discussions centered around this idea on our campus with some of the faculty actively supporting it. Here is a link for those who are interested: https://www.aacu.org/leap. If anyone has more information that adds to this I am very interested.

    At the moment, I can see Information Creation as Process and Scholarship as a Conversation as our immediate starting place. My MPOW is entering a new Strategic Plan phase that is emphasizing student engagement with independent and faculty sponsored research both at the institution, in the larger community, and internationally. There are several expansions going on both in the physical structures and in the curriculum, Humanities, Business, and the Sciences, that I believe we can capitalize on.

    Part of the Core Curriculum is a required two-year course called Development of Western Civilization. We are actively working with interested faculty on how to get students into the library and engaging with active research early in their college career. With this required course, we could at the very least see every student and introduce them to the library in their first semester. Even if only for a brief presentation in one class. What we want to ensure is that the projects and research are immediately relevant and useful to students and that they understand that what they learn in their first year of college is applicable to not just one class or the classroom, but also to their lives outsides and beyond college. I am hopeful that the Framework will help us do a better job at this.

    This overly long post is just the beginning. I will be spending the summer doing a larger environmental scan to discover what different departments use for Student Learning Outcomes, how they assess them, and to see if there are places where information literacy, or even digital literacy is mentioned. We may not be reaching everyone who could benefit from the resources we can provide.

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  12. I would start with a discussion involving those faculty members who consistently bring their classes to the Library for instruction. There are a few faculty who introduce their students to Library faculty using the most wonderful and inspiring words. I actually asked one instructor if I could tape his introduction, because he was so enthusiastic about librarians and the library.

    By discussing the Framework with these faculty members, and helping them incorporate these concepts into their assignments, I believe that others will start to see and hear how well these sessions are, and based on the success of the students attending, will seek out Library faculty so that more collaborative work can be accomplished.

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  13. I just started this position last month, so I’m still getting used to the university and I don’t really know my departments well yet. I liked how this article laid out incorporating a frame into a one shot session.

    I read a great article last week that uses a frame as a jumping off point for working with visual art students:

    Garcia, L., & Peterson, A. Who invited the librarian? studio critiques as a site of information literacy education. Art Libraries Journal, 42(2), 73-79. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/alj.2017.6

    I could see attempting to also do this once I secure a strong relationship with that department. I think that’s the biggest hurdle for all of us: building that relationship and trust with the faculty member.

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  14. In Leiden University departments have their own strategies on education. That’s why we work with faculty liaisons to know what is going on the different departments. Our faculty liaisons talk with all the program managers about the learning goals and the way information literacy fits in those goals. It depents on the classes and their program managers what is possible.

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    • Hello,
      It looks like your institution is “about” the same size as the one I work at. Do you find that different departments or faculty frame their learning objectives differently? I am finding that each department describes things differently, and need to determine if in the end they are talking and teaching to similar ends. I would love any insights or experiences you have had.
      Thanks,
      Heather

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      • Anneke,

        I just double checked the number of students you serve. My mistake. My institution is tiny compared to yours, but I would still love you here your thoughts.

        Heather W.

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  15. Because our librarians don’t have faculty status, we are very much dependent on whatever inroads we can make through our relationships with the instructors. Very often our most fruitful opportunities for implementing change come from working with in-coming faculty who are open to new ideas. I’ve come to realize that the best thing I can provide for both meeting the needs of assignment-driven one-shot library sessions and my own Information Literacy goals is to have a library instruction policy.

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  16. We are fortunate at my institution that librarians serve on the Strategic Planning Committee, chaired (and still serve on) the Curriculum Review Committee, participated in our Critical Academic Literacy initiative, and participate in program and institutional accreditation (SACS) review activities. The ONE group with which I wish we had a voice is the General Education Assessment Committee. This group identifies institutional learning outcomes for the gen ed courses, but librarians have not had success gaining ground with this group. I think a coffee date with the chair of this committee is in order this fall!

    While the frames connecting the institutional learning goals for general education classes overlap, I propose the following as a baseline for further exploration and discussion with my colleagues.

    o Scholarship as Conversation – Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively.
    o Authority is Constructed and Contextual – Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze communication critically.
    o Information Creation as a Process – Students will confirm the ability to think critically through demonstrating interpretive ability and cultural literacy.
    o Scholarship as Conversation – Students will acquire competence in reflecting critically upon the human condition.
    o Research as Inquiry – Students will determine appropriate mathematical and computational models and methods in problem solving, and demonstrate an understanding of mathematical concepts.
    o Research as Inquiry – Students will apply appropriate mathematical and computational models and methods in problem solving.
    o Searching as Strategic Exploration – Students will demonstrate the ability to critically examine and evaluate scientific observation, hypothesis, or model construction, and to use the scientific method to explain the natural world.
    o Authority is Constructed and Contextual – Students will successfully recognize and comprehend fundamental concepts, principles, and processes about the natural world.
    o Information Creation as a Process – Students will demonstrate the ability to examine behavioral, social, and cultural issues from a variety of points of view.
    o Authority is Constructed and Contextual – Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic social and behavioral science concepts and principles used in the analysis of behavioral, social, and cultural issues, past and present, local and global.

    You’ll notice that Information Has Value is not represented here, but it connects to the institution’s overall academic integrity policy which applies to all courses, not just gen ed.

    Two new librarians will be joining my library within a couple of weeks. My first objective is to introduce them to the frames and how we use them to inspire our teaching. This will be their first teaching experience, so I do not believe they will need to unlearn the standards. As the instruction program lead, I must demonstrate a level of comfort to my colleagues regarding the frames. If we as librarians don’t embrace the frames, it will be difficult to sell them in the classroom. Faculty with whom I work have responded positively to the hands-on critical thinking activities (many of them team based) used to introduce what can be a messy process – research. Thanks to Assessment in Action’s findings, it is easy to show the correlation between student engagement with library resources (including librarians) and their success – read retention and graduation. These findings show administration how relevant the library is to institutional goals. Here is a link to the April 2017 report, Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects.

    http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/issues/value/findings_y3.pdf

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    • Connie, as someone who has successfully found opportunities for the library to participate in key committees, what advice would you offer to folks trying to make those connections?

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  17. Institution wide, our library has a few opportunities for building information literacy into the curriculum from the ground up. Our instruction librarians have conversations with University College, the Writing Center, English, our campus Curriculum Committee, our Liberal Education program, and our University Assessment Committee to insert or synthesize information literacy into curriculum maps and strategic planning. Not all of the librarians are in agreement for how information literacy should manifest itself in curriculum, however, and not all faculty embrace the language of information literacy or know how to incorporate it into their curriculum, so they still rely heavily on one-shot library instruction, which does not really solve the problem. Our instruction librarians have reviewed the VALUE rubrics that the Higher Education Commission wants the university faculty to use to assess their courses, and have discovered that there are elements of information literacy in most of those rubrics. Some of the librarians have conversations with faculty about those elements and how to make them happen in their courses. We need more conversations where we can use the language and thresholds of the faculty disciplines, rather than our own library discipline, to get our point across, though.

    Part of the challenge is that our Liberal Education Program’s student learning goal areas are mandated by the state. A few years ago librarians attempted to negotiate for an 11th goal area for Information Literacy, but that was shot down by the state. So there is a great need to infuse and assess information literacy frameworks at the lower division and upper division levels. These conversations take time to initiate and not all faculty wish to participate in them, especially if they are tenured and have done the same type of teaching for over 20 years. I would be interested to hear from those people participating in this 23 things program how other libraries are collaborating with college/school faculty to synthesize information literacy into the curricula of other disciplines.

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    • In general, I’ve found it helpful to start conversations with faculty about information literacy by focusing the discussion on what students struggle with when completing research assignments in their courses, or what really frustrates them about the student work they see. While there are certainly some faculty members who aren’t open to trying new things, these kinds of questions can open up discussion about opportunities to collaborate on research assignment design, or courses where a new approach to information literacy instruction might be helpful. These conversations can be helpful with faculty you already have a relationship with, or in more formal conversations at departmental meetings or programs. What have other folks found helpful?

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      • Kim, what you say makes a great deal of sense. In the fall we will have the usual meeting where a faculty group officially approves the library’s budget. It might be great to carve out a bit of time asking faculty what are their frustration errors when it comes to student work. We at least might have a better sense of where we could make inroads.

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  18. Our institution has been in the midst of some sweeping organizational changes in the last academic year. This has given us – the library as a college-wide department – some opportunities to “come in on the ground floor” as new departments and initiatives are being established. Librarians have been invited to work with course developers (faculty members) across a variety of disciplines and programs. One of the departments that reached out to us was the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning. At their request, I created and deliver a course on IL in course design and I use the Framework (and the Standards) to identify opportunities for content-based activities that engage IL skills and builds competency. The Framework – and, really, talking about the Framework and the threshold concepts was really helpful for the faculty who participated (even librarian faculty). It helped them understand how the Standards, as Jacobson & Gibson write, are deceptively finite: “Even [one] performance indicator is too much to tackle in a single class period.” Mastery – or even tenuous competencies – “are to be mastered over time.” I think, in that way, it provided another avenue for that conversation we all want to have about IL instruction: it is more than point-and-click vendor and catalog demonstrations. Development is ongoing and we are reassessing this program for the upcoming year; but, overall, it was an opportunity I’m glad we had and that I believe can be successful.

    I think, however, that the best starting point will *always* be at the class level. Each individual in an academic department will have different experiences with libraries and different values and ideas about librarians as instructors or faculty. As much as the Framework is useful in the course I described above, it’s not really the best entry-point for a discussion with faculty. It’s still a point of need relationship in many ways. They need us for XYZ and we fill that need as best we can. Our college has adopted a standard course model (developed by and providing flexibility for discipline faculty) for some courses. One of our librarians considered appealing to those course developers as they were being designed. Now that they are we have another opportunity to appeal to the faculty whose content we *know* and whose points-of-needs we can safely guess from the course outline.

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