Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter



Bringing the Library into the E-learning Environment

WebCT Course WebCT sites are proving to be prime locations for access to course-specific online library resources. By presenting links in WebCT course sites to well-chosen, high-quality online books, journal articles, databases, tutorials, research guides and other scholarly materials, faculty can encourage students to use resources that will enable them to improve their research skills and locate higher quality sources for their papers and research projects. Digitized books, films, audio files, and images can also be added to WebCT sites to provide direct access to primary source materials.


A first step is as simple as providing a direct link to the online course reserves. Faculty who provide their syllabi or reading lists to the BC Libraries Course Reserves staff can request that a link be added to the course site. Students can then click directly from the site to their required journal articles and single chapter readings in full text. Students can also locate these readings in the Course Reserves catalog in Quest, but a link in WebCT allows students to view the syllabus, course materials and the reserve readings from the same location. Contact the Reserves staff at to set up online course reserves or to add this link to your courses.


Students in the History of German Literature class taught by Prof. Rachel Freudenberg have been pleased with the availability in their WebCT site of direct links to the BC Libraries’ full-text online editions of works by Brecht and Goethe. Students can print out the assigned chapters and make notes, comments, and translations directly on their printouts. Rachel also provides a direct link to library research databases covering German literature so students are aware of high-quality sources for their papers.


Eight different instructors are teaching a new course in Macro Social Work Practice, coordinated by Prof. Katie McGuinness- Dittrich. Katie collaborated with the staff of the Social Work Library (Betty Cohen, Kate Silfen, Nancy Adams and Scott Carlisle) to select and present a wide array of library resources to the 175 students enrolled in this required core course. For example, four required videos were digitized and made available online, so instructors had the option of showing the video in class or assigning it for viewing at home. Legislative tracking skills were introduced to students by including a link to a new library resource, LexisNexis State Capital. An online tutorial was created using Camtasia software to teach students how to use this database to follow particular issues and bills introduced to the State Legislature. Several other library resources, tutorials and guides were included in this site. Usage statistics and survey responses indicated that this collaboration was highly satisfactory to students and faculty.


The WebCT site of a Fine Arts course, The Age of Leonardo and Michelangelo, includes a customized, interactive bibliography of recent literature developed by Adeane Bregman, Bapst Art Librarian, in collaboration with Prof. Stephanie Leone. Adeane used RefWorks, the online citation management software to develop the bibliography by importing citations from several arts and humanities research databases available at BC Libraries. Students were able to select articles for their papers from this bibliography and directly link from the bibliography to full-text online copies. Adeane also added an online survey to assess students’ use of the bibliography. The WebCT site also includes links to images of Michelangelo’s works selected from library image databases, such as ARTStor and BCdia, the Boston College Digital Libraries collection.


There are many other examples of successful collaborations between faculty and librarians to enhance the e-learning environment at Boston College, including courses in Music, Law, Western Civilization, and the Honors Program. These projects were highlighted at a recent mini-conference held at Boston College in December (see related article).


These examples show how easy and effective it can be to enrich course WebCT sites with content derived from resources available at BC Libraries. Faculty can collaborate with their subject librarians to select appropriate materials for any course and explore ways to integrate them into course assignments and projects. Special tutorials and research guides can be created to instruct students on use of the materials. WebCT tracking and assessment tools allow the instructor to evaluate the effectiveness of the resources in helping the students do their work.


Learn more about how to integrate library resources in WebCT by logging on to a WebCT site called “Library Resources.” This site demonstrates how to use all of WebCT tools to incorporate direct links to library resources for reading, viewing, listening, discussion, research and enrichment. To request access to this site, send an email to


For additional information, contact your subject librarian or the department of Instructional Design and eTeaching Services.


Betty Cohen

Head, Social Work Library




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