In 2015, a librarian (Jessica Blackwell) and a course instructor (Trevor Holmes) collaborated to offer experiential opportunities in the archive itself for a large introductory Women’s Studies class. Since then, students from six semesters of the course have worked with primary source materials from the library’s collections. This chapter is a description of practice rather than a formal study. The authors describe design elements from the course, public products of the assignment, and reflections based on observations over time, offering several ways for librarians with access to archival material to co-design assignments with instructors. In the assignment variations, students visit the archive to complete a short transcription or digitization task pre-selected to benefit both the learners’ research skills development and the wider research community. Final products go live online, benefiting the students and the global research community. Then, students link the experience to a course reading in a critically reflective paper. While initially the projects hold barriers for students, in formal and informal reflections they ultimately find it to be a rewarding learning experience. The authors contend that the assignment has significant elements of experiential learning and high-impact practices.
Blackwell, J. and Holmes, T. (2020), "An Archive Assignment in Women’s Studies 101: Designing Hands-on Learning in a Large Class", Sengupta, E., Blessinger, P. and Cox, M.D. (Ed.) International Perspectives on Improving Student Engagement: Advances in Library Practices in Higher Education (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 26), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 145-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120200000026009
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