LOEX Conference Proceedings 2012

Document Type

Chef's Surprise - Pursuing Cutting-Edge Trends in Teaching and Learning

Publication Date



When established sources change formats, switch platforms, or upgrade, they aren’t always user-friendly, especially for inexperienced researchers. After using ill-fitting and frustrating legal research tools for years, librarians and instructors at the University of Dubuque jumped in and created local homegrown tools. Instead of changing an effective assignment to bend to inadequate search tools, the course coordinator and library liaison created and adapted tools to fit the assignment. Capitalizing on the librarian’s research skills, the professor’s subject expertise, and the plethora of free tools, the learning experience students (and professors and librarians) have is now more rewarding.

Rather than lead students through complicated methods of information hunting, customized research tools allowed instructors to focus on how to use the information. Creation of local tools can be time-intensive, but the resulting value to all involved is well worth the effort. Both librarians and instructors report that the database has significantly decreased the amount of time students spend selecting a topic, leaving more time to focus on application of resources, the actual learning objective. This session will provide a brief description of an introductory-level assignment, an overview of previous tools used, and the librarian's role in the course. The presenter will also explain the process of creating a database and illustrative content narrative and the impact on student learning. Participants will engage with the final products and discuss how to apply these ideas to their own instruction.