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This information has been provided for faculty & instructors interested in learning more about the SmartStarts tutorial. If you have contributions or suggestions about using SmartStarts, please  e-mail us.

What Is SmartStarts?
SmartStarts is a resource for SPC students, a self-instructional tutorial to teach them basic library and research skills. It covers the research process from initial topic selection to citation styles and the issue of plagiarism. There is a link to the SmartStarts tutorial on the library's home page or you and your students can access it directly from http://www.southplainscollege.edu/library/smartstarts/index.html.

Its content is organized into six modules: 

1. Starting smart is an overview that introduces students to various types of sources.

2. Choosing a topic has tips on broadening & narrowing a topic and discusses search concepts.

3. Using Voyager has live practice searches in our online catalog.

4. Finding articles provides practice searching in Academic Search Complete database.

5. Using the Web includes the comparative evaluation of Web sources.

6. Citing sources includes the topics of citing, plagiarism, and copyright.

Students can complete the tutorial on their own time outside of class. Each of its six sections takes about 15 minutes and students can complete one or more modules at a time. Each of the modules is followed by a short quiz (see details below).

How Can I Effectively Use SmartStarts with My Courses?
Please have students complete SmartStarts before they begin their research or attend a library session. Students can complete SmartStarts on their own time and submit their quiz results to you.

Each module is followed by a short quiz and a results page, which provides an overall percentage score for that module, as well as a summary of questions answered right or wrong. Students can print the six results pages with their name and submit the printouts to you as proof of completion.

Many instructors have chosen to give extra credit points to students who complete SmartStarts. We strongly suggest that students be required to pass the quizzes with a score of at least 85% or better. Students may retake a quiz as many times as they want to improve their score.

Does SmartStarts Replace Library Instruction?
No! We continue to offer course-related library instruction and hope that you will incorporate a library session into your syllabus. Timing is important! Have your students complete SmartStarts, then schedule library instruction with us for a date after they have received an assignment. Then they will learn about searching databases when they need these skills to complete their research assignment. Research has shown that:

  • Students learn best and retain most when they need the information.
  • Library instruction is more effective when the course instructor is present.
  • Library instruction is more effective when coordinated with a class assignment.


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