Ask for a ‘ticket to class’

I have done this to ensure pre-readings or other preparation is done. One example is a newspaper article about Killer Whales and PCBs to prepare students (in this case who are not majoring in biology) to conduct scholarly research in the discipline. Along with this assigned pre-reading, I give each student a coloured slip of paper (1 of 3 colours). Each colour is a different question, such as ‘What words in the article would you use to find out more about the subject in a web search?’; ‘What would you do first to find a peer-reviewed journal article that relates to this article?’ Come to class with your answer. I have given the ‘tickets’ to a reference librarian, who is leading a computer session for the students to teach them about databases, google scholar, etc. The student answers on the tickets end up guiding the computer lab, showing the students that we are helping them using their own words, hence it is highly relevant to them.

Students left with skills they could use, in this case for their first research essay, due about a week or so after the computer session.

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