Teaching and Learning

Guiding patrons to become adept researchers and effective communicators by providing teaching and learning that engages with students, researchers, faculty, and staff.

Library Research Instruction

Research instruction sessions for First-year Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) classes rebounded since the 2020-2021 school year, going from seven sessions that year to 30 in 2021-2022. This exceeds even pre-pandemic numbers. Some classes were still taught online using Zoom, but the majority returned to Fondren for an in-person library experience. FWIS Program Director David Messmer brought his students to the library for a walking tour and classroom session in Fall 2022; he reports:

"The session was hugely impactful on the class.  The next day the students raved about how helpful the tour had been.  Perhaps more importantly, at the end of the semester when I asked the students what they had  found most helpful about the course, several mentioned the library tour and commented on how it had a direct impact on the research they did while writing essays for the class."

Fondren Library credits FWIS instructors' enthusiasm for library sessions to our long-term commitment to teaching course-specific library research introductions for the entire subject range of FWIS classes. Overall, librarians offered 51 research instruction and library orientation sessions in 2021-2022.

Classes held at Woodson Research Center

  • The Woodson Research Center returned to providing in-person research instruction for courses, both for the Rice community and for outside patrons. In FY22 staff members in the Woodson offered instruction for ANTH 355 Place, Space, and Landscapes; ENST 314 Culture/Media of Environmental Health; FOTO 383 Photography Bookmaking; FREN 311 Major Literary Works and Artifacts of Pre-Revolutionary France; HART 377 Medieval Manuscripts; HIST 233 History of Modern Science; HIST 477 How they made things; RELI 2019 The Supernatural and Religion; and SWGS 238 Gender & Repair: Feminist approaches to redressing historical violence.  
  • Outreach to national and international audiences included presentations to the Archives of the Impossible Conference and the Digital Archive Symposium. Additional presentations were made to University of Houston’s Medicine and the Arts course on Covid 19 collections; an English class in Queer Culture at the University of Houston Downtown; and to University of North Texas MLIS students, to the Atascocita Branch Public Library, and to a Houston Seminar class on use of primary resources, rare books, and WRC collections. The Woodson Research Center also welcomed groups and individuals for tours and discussion of collections, including members of the Society of Southwest Archivists and the Jewish Community Center.  
  • Collectively the Woodson served over 400 patrons in person, and an additional 1,500 via live virtual access. 

Leganto tool assists in faculty course reserves  

  • Course Reserves continued to see an increase in controlled digital lending requests from faculty. The team saw a nearly 170% increase in Leganto usage (Fondren's Course Reserves platform), compared to a year earlier. With the help of IT, the platform was migrated to a new software version which allows for faculty to create read and respond assignments for students, based on course reserves materials stored in their Canvas pages. Course Reserves staff assisted faculty in incorporating many new types of resources into their reading lists due to the versatility of Leganto including websites, YouTube videos, podcasts, audio recordings and controlled digital lending materials. Additionally, Course Reserves staff offered virtual office hours this summer for faculty to learn about the new read and respond and assignments features.   

Fondren Fellows

The Fondren Fellows program funds Rice undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research or teaching projects that involve skills, collections, spaces, or services related to libraries and archives.

The 2021-2022 cohort of Fondren Fellows included a record-breaking 19 undergraduate and graduate Fellows, working on projects that developed their skills in areas such as performing archival research and visualizing data. Several projects involved collaborations with Rice faculty members and focused on racial justice, including “Research by Members of the Racial Geography Project” and “Where Is Texas on the SlaveVoyages Website? Reconstructing the Coastwise Traffic to the Lone Star State in the Nineteenth Century.” At the 2022 Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium, Fondren Fellow Juliana Pham won the School of Humanities Poster Presentation Winner for her poster on The Sugar Land 95: Mapping Convict Leasing in Fort Bend County, 1865- 2018. Fellows working on the SlaveVoyages website presented at the Bound Away conference hosted at Rice in December of 2021.

Digital Scholarship Services 

Digital Scholarship Services partnered with faculty, students, and staff to advance research, teaching, and creative expression in the digital age, offering expertise and access to facilities and tools:

  • The DMC taught 70 short courses throughout the year including 14 in-class sessions and 56 regular sessions. The in-class workshops included Zotero for FWIS classes and a BIOS class, Tableau workshops for MGMT classes, an Unreal Engine demonstration for an ARCH class, video editing and digital storytelling for a PJHC class, and podcasting workshops for BIOS and ENGL classes.  There were a total 493 participants.  The courses are designed to assist patrons to learn and advance their digital media skills in iMovie, Premiere, Audacity, GarageBand, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Blender, Tableau, and Zotero. 

The DMC has collaborated on a multi-year project starting in Nov. 2020 to assist professor Juan José Castellón in creating a digital means of experimentation for his students. Professor Castellón’s class includes assignments which require students to physically create form finding models from wood, chain, cloth and other material. The DMC has supported the Architecture assignments by allowing students to create digital versions of these models using a videogame created with Unreal Engine. The game was created using the collab viewer template which is actively used in Architecture firms to collaborate and display architecture visualizations. DMC Supervisor Mario Norton added features into the existing template to enable users to quickly create relevant models and explore forms that could be created physically. The current game allows students to play the game simultaneously in a Desktop and/or VR environment. The game was installed in Rice Architecture’s RAVL lab in July, 2021 and updated in Nov, 2021. Professor Castellón’s students were able to experience the game as a practical component of their course.