Lesson/Handout: Information Literacy Scavenger Hunt



This lesson/handout is designed to help students begin to navigate the UAF library’s sources for research. The library has a great tutorial online and in this lesson, students use that tutorial to actually begin their own research.

  1. Go to the Library Information Literacy Tutorial.
  2. Watch the videos and take the self-check tests.
  3. Go to the Searching Google Scholar Guide and the Searching JSTOR Guide.
  4. Use the information in the videos to find and create the following:

Keywords that you can use to search for your topic:

Boolean operators that will help you with your search:

One resource from the library catalog that you can use:

One resource from a periodical that you can use:
The most reliable web resource you can find that is relevant to your topic. Use the CRAAP Worksheet to give it a score:

One resource found on Google Scholar:

One resource found on JSTOR:

Lesson, Day 1: What is this class about, anyway?


Contributed by Jaclyn Bergamino, 2015

On the first day of class, I wanted to start getting the students talking about the ideas. I divided the class into two groups. I was teaching on the theme of love, sex, and marriage so I brought quotes about writing and quotes about love all different, the same number of quotes as students. I tried to pick quotes that could be very visual. Half of the class received a slip of paper with a quote about writing on it and the other half received a slip of paper with a quote about love.  The students paired up so that each pair had one love quote and one writing quote.  First, the pair had to put their quotes together to come up with a definition of what it meant to write about love. Then, they had to create a visual representation of their new definition and put in on the board. Finally, as a way of introducing themselves, they gave the reasoning and process of how they came up with the picture and talked about whether or not they thought it was a good representation of what it meant to write about love for the natural and social sciences.

This lesson could easily be adapted for any theme, pairing quotes about writing with quotes about place, food, identity, whatever you’re teaching!

As a conclusion to the course or a final, you could record all of these pictures/quotes and at the end of the semester, revisit whether students feel they are accurate representations of writing about your theme and how their understandings have changed.

Lesson: Brainstorm Inkshed Party


Contributed by Jaclyn Bergamino, 2015

To get students thinking about research topics, I often use the Research Paper Topic Generator Game and then take it a little further.
Once students have their lists of things that evoke them, I have them choose three and write them on spread out on a piece of paper. They then pass this paper to the left and the next student gets one minute to write everything that comes to mind in conjunction with each possible topic. The papers get passed several times until each paper is nearly full. Then students get their own topic ideas back and pick one that had new or surprising associations. I often have then write a brief reflection on what surprised them and new directions that their peers’ ideas helped them to think about. Or, I have them pick the one that they want to pursue and write a proposal for it.

Lesson: Defining Success across Audiences


Contributed by Elizabeth Alexander, 2014


  • To identify audience needs and revise writing accordingly
  • Engage in self-assessment and self-critique for more effective communication with different audiences

When to use this:

In a unit in which students must revise a piece using a different mode and/or for a different audience

Prior Class:

Ask students to bring an outside piece of original writing that was deemed successful by somebody else. This can be ANYTHING. It can be a contest entry, a publication, a school assignment, a blog, a social media interaction, a public or private letter, etc.

20 min.:

In small groups students share their piece or summarize it (depending on the length) and reflect on why it was successful and according to whom and what they think was strong / weak about this particular piece.

15 min.

The group will look for trends or raise questions as they define success. Have them record and share out the group-think (bigger piece of paper to hang up, the whiteboard, online in a discussion forum).


Students will self-assess assigned piece of writing and self-reflect on what changes would be made in order to meet some of the definitions of success the class generated with the outside pieces.


Outside piece: a compare / contrast essay of two different events during the Civil Rights Movement for a U. S. history class

Group-Think Success: balanced points with two comparisons and two contrasts

Revision of “How To’ Essay: include a “how not to’ paragraph
I would have a variety of examples to share for the group think just in case students don’t remember to bring their own examples

211 Sample Syllabus: Digital Literature


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Contributed by Kendell Newman Sadiik, 2015


This is  my class website for my 211: Digital Literature and Storytelling. It was a really successful course and I think others should teach it! I also kept a running list of resources for teachers, which you can find here: https://diglit.community.uaf.edu/teaching-resources/

I used this website as well as Drive for the course. Drive was mostly for group work and also for grading (I had a shared doc of grades with each student).

I and the students spent a lot of time on this website, but it made sense because the course was on digital lit. We probably worked with the site in class once every couple of weeks, and they did most of their assignments as blog posts.
We collaboratively created and designed online workspace for students and the class as a whole to experiment with some of the tools and ideas we were studying in the course.

Featured Lesson: (Re)Search Parties

(Re)Search Parties

Send your class on a rhetorical scavenger hunt in the library! Students research a text by splitting into teams, each assigned a component of the text’s rhetorical situation to investigate. Later, they report their findings to the rest of the class.

How I did it: A week before my class’s visit to the Rasmuson Library, I had my students go through the online library tutorial at https://library.uaf.edu/blogs/library-basics/.  I also assigned the text for the project. In this case, I chose “A Modest Proposal’ by Jonathan Swift, because its rhetorical situation is far removed from the students’ experience, and because the students need to dig deep into history to understand exactly what is going on with the text.

On the day of the library visit, we didn’t start out in our classroom, but rather in the west foyer of the library. (It’s helpful to write a reminder on the chalkboard if your class isn’t meeting in the classroom, and to allot a couple of minutes for those who forget and go to the classroom first.) I broke the class into four teams–my method for doing so changed from one semester to the next. I then randomly assigned each team one of the four components of rhetorical situation: Rhetor, Audience, Context, and Purpose. I told them they were to research their assigned component of the text, and to be prepared to present the material to the class. (More on this later.) I also said that each team needed to provide a bibliography of five references used in their research, and that at least three needed to be non-digital. (I was flexible if a library book was only available as an e-book, which is the case with a sizable bit of Rasmuson’s collection.) I reminded the students that if they needed any assistance, that they could speak with either me or one of the library staff.

I allotted an hour total in the library, including the introduction to the assignment in the foyer. I checked in with each team about halfway through the time to see how they were doing and if they had any questions. For some students, it can be a challenge for them to keep on task for the whole hour, so I found this check-in helpful in getting those students back on track.

What happened after the hour in the library depended on the class’s schedule. When the class met for an hour and a half, we cut the library time a little short and went back to the classroom for each group to give an oral presentation of about five minutes, allowing ten minutes at the end of class to discuss the presentations. When I taught this lesson with an hour-long class, though, I had the students duplicate their work by either typing it out or scanning it, and putting it in a folder on Google Drive for the whole class to read later. I found that, in this latter approach, the students had trouble following through with providing their material to their classmates; if I had to do it again, they would give a short presentation during the next class session.

Overall, in the two times I have conducted this class exercise, I have been impressed with the depth and ingenuity of the students’ research. It’s a short and simple demonstration of the level of research they need to do as they progress in academic writing. This exercise is also great for 111x students to become acquainted with the Rasmuson Library and its many resources.


  • Acquaint students with the Rasmuson Library and its resources
  • Conduct research in both digital and print resources
  • Focus on a single component of a text’s rhetorical situation
  • Work as a team in research and presentation of materials
  • Compile research in a manner suitable for others’ use
  • Practice copying bibliographic material

Contributed by Whittier Strong



Photographer: Sakeeb Sabakka Portfolio: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sakeeb/

Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Featured Lesson: The Peer Review of Elimination



Students pair up and take the pen to unnecessary sentences, phrases, and words in order to trim their paper down. This peer review session focuses on the practice of revision.

On peer review day, students came with 1 copy of their first draft of a paper. They were told they were working on a 5-6 page paper and they were to bring 4 of those pages to peer review. When they arrived in class, we had a discussion about how the writing was going and what they were struggling with. Then I told them that their 5-6 page paper was now to be only 2-3 pages. While I had some dramatic reactions to the new requirement, students were mostly thrilled that they were now writing a shorter paper.

I paired them up and they traded papers. Their partner’s assignment was to read the paper twice. The first time, they were to make no markings. The second time, they were to cross out everything that was unnecessary, repetitive, or irrelevant. If a sentence needed rewording, they underlined it, but the main priority was to cross things out.

Then they discussed the changes, being sure to talk about the things they thought were working in their paper and their reasoning behind cutting certain things. Writers were encouraged to go home, open a new document, and start over with their partner’s eliminations in mind.


While this assignment made me feel a little deceptive at first, I wanted to students to really understand the real concept of revision. I wanted them to re-envision their paper in a new way and learn that sometimes it’s best to write more than you need, then cut it down. The only way I knew to do that was to change a basic requirement of the assignment. I also wanted students to learn how to make their argument strong in a concise way, rather than focusing on “getting to page count.’ The process of elimination was a little painful for some of the students, but their papers were stronger after the exercise. They wrote more concisely, and I could tell they cared more about their arguments than they had previously.


Contributed by Natalie Taylor, 2015

Featured Prompt: Collage Essay



The research assignment for this class is a bit unconventional. Your goal is to create a  research collage about Alaska and its status as a frontier/wilderness. What is a collage?Collage is term used to describe a certain kind of abstract art in which various materials  are cut and pasted together in order to form a design.

Collage can also be used to refer to a kind of writing, which consists of a combination of  original and quoted material. The individual pieces of writing which compose the collage  are often fragments and arranged in an artistic/meaningful/creative/non-linear way. An  example of collage writing is Susan Griffin’s “Our Secret.’ Your assignment is to imitate  Griffin’s style of writing in order to compose a research collage that depicts the various  ways in which Alaska is a frontier/wilderness (historical, literary, scientific,  technological, cultural, governmental, etc.).

Your goal for this assignment is to take Griffin as a model and create a 1,000-2,000 word  research paper, which weaves together a number of different kinds of sources and various  passages of your own writing. You should have a separate bibliography which does not  count towards the final page count of the paper. For the bibliography, be sure to follow  MLA format, which we will discuss in class.

You do not have to generate a complete and concrete outline of the paper, but you should  be thinking about how your various sources will interact with one another. Consider how  you plan to fragment your sources and how you intend to organize them on the page.  Think about how you want to work in your commentary on your sources. You might also  want to think about other ways of fragmenting and interweaving your prose. For  example, you could play with italics, boldface type, font size, font type, colors, still  pictures, artwork, or photographs. Images do not count toward the final page count.

The Sources: You must have the following sources in your paper. If you need help  locating sources, feel free to stop by my office or ask a librarian for assistance.

1. Two books (either e-books or print books from any discipline).

2. Two academic journal articles (from any discipline). There are many  databases you can use to locate articles: Academic Search Premier, JSTORR,  or Project Muse. They are all available on the Rasmuson Library webpage.

3. One website with .edu or .org in its address. Do not use Wikipedia.

4. One dictionary definition from the online Oxford English Dictionary.

5. One non-English word translated and/or defined.

6. One article from a nineteenth-century periodical. The periodicals are  available on the “American Periodicals’ database on the Rasmuson Library  webpage.

7. One newspaper article. The newspapers are available on the “National  Newspapers Core’ database on the Rasmuson Library webpage.

8. One artwork (historical or contemporary)

9. One photograph (historical or contemporary).

All of Rasmuson Library’s databases are available here:   https://library.uaf.edu/databases-by-title.  They are organized alphabetically, so click on first letter of the title of the database  that you are trying to access.

Note: You can also find sources using “Google Scholar’ or “Google Books.’

Revision Requirements for Assignment 6:  Alaska and the Frontier/Wilderness, a Research Collage

For your revision, I would like you to do two things. First revise the paper according to  the suggestions provided (both in class and in the feedback). If you feel as though your  paper is relatively complete, that’s fine. You should still go back and double-check your  sources and your MLA formatting. Make sure that you have all the required sources, and  make sure that the textual citations and the Works Cited page follow MLA format. Next,  I would like you to write a one page reflection letter in which you think about your paper  and explain how it is similar to and different from the Griffin collage. Think about your  writing choices. How did you decide on your topic? How did you choose the individual  threads? How did you go about your research? How did you organize the information on  the page? Why? What were you trying to say about Alaska as a frontier/wilderness? Do  you think you conveyed your idea? What would you change about your paper?



Contributed by Jen Schell

CoW: Celebration of Writing

Join us for a day of Choosing Your Words at UAF’s 2015 Celebration of Writing!

Create a literacy narrative, explore recipes and food as communication, join a dictionary dialogue or travel through time and USE YOUR WORDS!
Coming soon!

Who: You! This event is for everyone in the Fairbanks community. Come as a student, come as a writer, come as a collaborator …

Interview with Dana Greci, Developmental Education (Reading & Writing)

In this video interview, Dana Greci (Associate Professor, Developmental Education) talks with us about working in her courses to address the many challenges that students face when they enter college. From those who are returning to school after many years away to students who are moving to a city for the first time, our classrooms at UAF are diverse social and academic spaces. Dana talks about how she negotiates this diversity in her classroom and helps connect her students with all the resources that UAF has to offer.



Dana Greci, Associate Professor of Developmental Education
Dana Greci, Associate Professor of Developmental Education


Interview with Donald Crocker, Student Advising

Donald Crocker, alumnus of UAF and former lead academic adviser for the Academic Advising Center, talks about UAF’s undergraduate students – what they expect when they enter our classrooms, and what we should expect of them. How do advisers prepare students and set expectations for writing courses? What’s unique about our student population, and about teaching in Alaska?

Watch this 5-minute clip for Donald’s insights.

Interview With Dr. Trent Sutton

For the second installment of WriteAlaska Conversations, we sat down with Dr. Trent Sutton of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Science. In the interview, he offers some helpful advice on using short writing assignments to develop student’s awareness of the rhetorical situation.

What do you think? Use the comment box below to start a dialogue!



Difficult Dialogues

Difficult Dialogues  is an online space that features news and commentary of interest to writing teachers. We use the “Scoop it!” platform to curate these articles and share them with you. Check here for recent scoops!

Interested or inspired by one of these pieces? Comment below. Start a dialogue.

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WriteAlaska Conversations

WriteAlaska Conversations hosts monthly posts from across the UAF community about writing and students and classrooms. Every month, we interview a different UAF community member about their perspective on writing at the university – in their classrooms, in their work places, and beyond. Our aim is to build community across departments and other sectors of UAF to strengthen our ideas about what we teach, how, and why in our writing classrooms.

If you’d like to contribute an interview or nominate someone to be interviewed, please  contact us.