Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (2019) » Using Course-Specific LibGuides in Online Classes: A Case Study


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Using Course-Specific LibGuides in Online Classes: A Case Study

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.


Tonya Otto, Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Poster Description:

This poster presents a case study on the creation of a course-specific guide for an online nursing course at Clarion University. The teaching faculty worked with the virtual learning librarian to identify specific content areas, construct a LibGuide, and provide online resources to assist students in completing course objectives.


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About the Presenter: 

Tonya Otto is an early-career librarian with an interest in online learning and faculty collaboration. She is currently the Virtual Learning and Outreach/Reference Librarian at Clarion University, and she previously worked as the Reference Librarian at Piedmont Community College in North Carolina.


  1. Thanks for sharing your case study, Tonya! Is this something you’re planning/hoping to do with all of your nursing classes or is 470 an exceptional case? Does your institution regularly teach from LibGuides? I know that one of the arguments against creating course specific guides can be that you can easily end up with a proliferation of very similar guides for the sake of creating an individual course guide for each class – how are the course guides connected to more general guides, or did you just dispense with the general guides and only make course related guides?

    As you can see I have lots of questions! 🙂

    • Mary-Michelle,

      Thanks for your interest and your questions! Currently, this is just something I do per faculty request. However, as I have had 2 different Nursing faculty request a specific LibGuide, it may be something I look into to create a collection of course-specific or even topic-specific guides for that program. We do offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in Nursing, so there are definitely a lot of students who would utilize these resources. The graduate and doctoral programs are online and offered jointly with another institution, so it would be interesting to see how we could develop degree-specific content that isn’t repetitive or redundant.

      We currently use both general subject guides and course-specific guides for the Nursing programs. I do see the potential to have that overlap in information, which I agree would lead to an overabundance of the same information. I think if the faculty and students find the course-specific guides more useful, I could begin to “combine” some of the course guides into subject areas or course levels (i.e. NURS 1XX, NURS 2XX) with a tab for each specific course. It would require some condensing of information, but it could be a direction to look into.

      Thanks again for all of your questions!


  2. Thank you for sharing this case study about using Libguides to specifically teach a class, this demonstrated embedding a librarian within a subject. How often is LibGuide content changes, or is it reviewed before the class begins and then published?

    • Linda,
      Thanks for the positive comments! I do usually check any LibGuide content between semesters to make sure there are no broken links or outdated materials. For a course specific guide like this one, I plan to check with the professor for feedback to see what changes need made or if they would like to add any additional resources. The one thing I like about LibGuides is that they are dynamic, and I can keep content updated throughout the semester, which is a plus!
      Thanks for your questions!

  3. This is great – we recently starting embedding subject-specific guides into Canvas. There are some design ideas here that I may incorporate. Thanks!

    • Kristin,
      I’m glad to hear you’ve started embedded guides into your LMS! This is definitely the next step I would like to see with our course-specific guides, gaining a more natural presence in all online courses. I’m glad you were able to take away some ideas from my experience!

  4. Great libguide and great narrative. Very helpful and provides lots of excellent information.
    Thank you for sharing.

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