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ENGL 106 / 108: Teaching Assistant Guide For Implementation of Archives and Special Collections into Freshman Composition: How to Prepare Your Students

Navigating the Archives and Special Collections Website

Introducing your students to the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections through our website is a wonderful way to illustrate the resources available to them without immediately overwhelming them. It is best to do this on one of your computer lab days, so that the students can follow along at their own computer and take some time to look through the website themselves. 

Looking through the website is a fabulous way for your students to locate possible topics for their assignment and to become better acquainted with Archives and Special Collections. This is also a wonderful resource for T.A.s.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley

Letter from Aldous Huxley to Rust Hills, the editor at Esquire magazine from 1956-1963. This letter concerns Huxley's work on his novel Island. He writes: "Thank you for your letters. I think that the best plan will be for you to contact Mr. Cass Canfield at Harper & Bros, and ask him to see the script of the novel, which is in his hands." From the Aldous Huxley Correspondence in Purdue's Psychoactive Substances Research Collection.

Navigating Online Resources

A crucial element in your students' success with their assignment is proficiency in searching physical and digital collections online. Once you are well-versed in discovery of print and digital collection materials and the archival research process, you will be able to easily teach your students how to navigate the collections of Purdue University Archives and Special Collections on one of your computer lab days. 

Introducing Archives and Special Collections website, teaching use of online resources, and allowing students to search on their own for 10-15 minutes at the end of class can all be accomplished in one class session. It is paramount that you do this in a computer lab, where your students can follow along. Providing them with the hand-out (located under the "Assignments and Hand-Outs" tab) during the class session will serve as a friendly reminder not only to your students, but to you as well.

Schedule an Instruction Session

John S. and Dorothy D. Swaim Instruction Center

Once you discussed Archives and Special Collections with your students, it is encouraged to schedule an instruction session in the Swaim Instruction Center. You may email, call Archives and Special Collections, or contact a specific archivist to schedule an instruction session. Be sure to contact us at least 2 weeks prior to your desired date!! Again, collaborating with the archivist is key. Email the archivist a copy of your assignment and syllabus along with anything specific you would like them to go over or show to your class.

Instruction sessions are fun and exciting for your class because it is their chance to see and learn about materials from the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections. Students will also have the opportunity to meet an archivistregister for the reading room, and see where Archives and Special Collections is located, which always helps to lessen anxiety.

Location of the Swaim Instruction Center:

Located on the 4th floor of the HSSE Library in Stewart Center, Room 462.