Learn in the Collections
Our faculty and staff create and offer experiential learning opportunities as a critical part of our mission to advance learning at all levels. Scroll down the page to learn more about what your class can do.
What Can Courses Do?
Our faculty and staff work with instructors across the humanities and sciences to promote the active use of UF’s collections.We help select session materials and activities that meet students where they are and encourage further engagement with the collections. Collections may be used to augment a course theme, or promote group discussions, debates, and written reflections. Smaller, research-focused seminars can also use course visits as a means of searching for and discussing sources for the students’ ongoing work.
We can also help you design your syllabi for longer-term projects or presentations outside of class, so that students connect their time in the library to the goals of the course. Examples of some of these activities are below.
Students explore materials from the collections that fit a course theme or question, which serve as the foundation for discussion or a written reflection.
Small Group Projects
Students select a topic or object from an exploratory session, then return for a subsequent visit to investigate it independently or in small groups.
An independent assignment that builds on a selection of Special Collections materials, available to the students throughout the semester physically or digitally.
See our activities and collections in action in courses from the past years. If you’d like to design a course around any of these topics or activities, please get in touch with us.
Pirates and Power
The QUEST 1 course “Pirates and Power” investigated historical and popular portrayals of pirates from the 17th century on. Students also selected and discussed one source in depth in small groups with instructors.
Digitizing the Archive
A graduate seminar led by Prof. Leah Rosenberg used archival materials from the Panama Canal Museum Collection to create an ArcGIS StoryMap “Milton Garvey: A Case Study of West Indian Culture and Labor
Planning Class Activities
The following guidelines are meant to help plan your syllabus. Times are given in 50-minute class periods, but can vary depending on the level and size of the class.
Class Visit and Q+A: (1 Period)
Instructor and Curator work to select materials from the collections that fit a course theme or question . Students are introduced to the materials and the guiding question, and have free time to circulate, photograph, and ask individual questions. This activity serves as the foundation to other projects or assignments during or outside class time.
- These are ideal when tied to a reflection activity: a class chat, blog, or journal.
- Multiple visits can be arranged to convey a class theme or learning objective.
Intro and Group Working Session: (2 Periods)
Students select a topic or object from those introduced in the first class visit or period, then work independently in small groups for the second to investigate and discuss it. They may give a short presentation on their findings as an assignment or in a subsequent class.
Capstone Project: (1+ Periods)
An independent research assignment that builds on a selection of Special Collections materials, which remain available to the students throughout the semester physically or digitally. The type of assignment can be tailored to instructor needs and the learning objectives of the particular course. If the class is new to research, it is recommended that instructors build a session on the Libraries’ circulating resources into the course by consulting with the Subject Specialist in your area.
Collaborative Digital Capstone Project: (2+ Periods)
Students work in groups or as a class to produce a digital or creative project based on their research in the collections. Courses have used a range of different technologies, including Adobe Spark, Omeka, Scalar, ArcGis/Neatline. These will require class time outside of Special Collections, both for teaching the digital platform or any other necessary skills and for giving students time to work on their projects.
Instructors should consult with Tiffany Esteban, Digital Scholarship Specialist, to arrange for separate introductions to the technologies for their students.
Guidelines and Policies
Sessions may be requested either by contacting an individual curator or collection, or through our request form by clicking on the buttons above or below. We ask that all course requests are submitted at least three weeks in advance for visits, and that more involved activities are coordinated while your syllabus is being planned. This will allow the most flexibility and creativity in planning your class.
Please include a syllabus and an approximate attendance with your request, as it will make it easier for us to select and set up materials appropriately. Approximations and draft syllabi are perfectly fine (and encouraged)
Due to heavy demand on our instruction spaces, where possible please include alternate or flexible dates with your request.
All students attending the class will be required to leave bags, pens, coats, food and drink outside of the classroom. They may use computers and pencils to take notes, and are encouraged to photograph collection items with their phones. See the rest of our reading room policies, as well as a short video on handling materials during your visit, by clicking below.