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Selecting Course Materials

Successful course development and teaching require careful consideration and planning. An important part of this process is selecting material. Material selection informs not only what students will learn but also how faculty can teach. During course development, it is important to consider the following factors when selecting material:

  • Course Goals: The material selected for your curriculum should support and enhance the goals of your course.
  • Course Content: Students should be able to make a direct connection between the materials assigned to the content covered in the course. 
  • Teaching Methods and Tools: The assigned material should follow your teaching style, classroom technology, in-class activities, discussions, and course assignments. 
  • Evaluation: Consider how you will evaluate your students' use of the material. Will you determine their reading and comprehension through quizzes and exams, essays and writing, or other projects and activities?
  • Essential v. Supplemental: Not every text will be essential to your course's goals or assignments. Consider which texts may be listed as supplemental.

In addition to these core factors of course development, it is important to include the following factors for evaluation:

  • Cost: Assigning a long lists of books can be financially burdensome to many students. Consider limiting your list of required texts for purchase.
  • Availability: Is the assigned book or reading available through the library, WRLC, or freely online? It is not always easy to get the required text if limited or no copies are available.
  • Format: You should consider how the text will be used by students with disabilities. Online-only material can sometimes be difficult for those with visual or auditory disabilities to use. Additionally, not every print text is available in accessible formats. Students also have different learning styles and the format of the text may impact their ability to assimilate and synthesize the material 
  • Copyright and Fair Use: All assigned material should be found and used ethically and according to University policies and procedures.

Course Reserves

The UDC Library can place materials related to your course in a special location with restricted circulation rules. These may be items that the library already owns or may be supplied by you. Instructors are welcome to donate materials to the library after the course ends.

The purpose of reserves is provide access to material required by or needed in classes. 

You can read more about reserves and fill out the reserves form here.

Open Educational Resources

As you prepare for classes, consider using Open Education Resources (OER).

OER are learning objects that have a copyright license which allows for the resources to be freely used and revised without permission. They can range from full, peer-reviewed textbooks to worksheets and lesson plans. These educational resources can help you by providing tools to use in your class. They can also help your students because they could be used to replace high-cost materials.

Want to learn more? Check out our Open Educational Resources guide.

Questions? Contact Meghan Kowalski at

Syllabus Language

The library encourages all faculty to add information about the library to their syllabus. We offer the following sample language for you to use. You may use the language in its entirety or adapt the language to suit your needs. 

Our librarians are also available to offer draft language tailored specifically to your class. Contact us at to request individualized syllabus language.

Note: If you are using the language in the Long Version, our opening hours change during the summer session. You can always see our current hours here.

In this course, you are encouraged to use the library’s resources and services. The library provides access to books, articles, videos, and other materials. Librarians can help you find resources, help with search strategies, identify the best resources, develop citations, and more.

The library is located in Building 71, 6th Floor (Reference) and 3rd Floor (Circulation). Please see the library's website at for further details. At the library, you can use computers, print/copy/scan, check out books, and receive research assistance. 

Librarians are available by email (, phone (202-274-5104), online chat, and in-person. You can request an individual appointment (online or in-person) at

More information about the library and access to online resources is available at

In this course, you are encouraged to use the library’s resources and services. The library provides access to books, articles, videos, and other materials. Librarians can help you find resources, help with search strategies, identify the best resources, develop citations, and more. Help is available via email, phone, online chat, in-person, or by appointment. You can learn more about the library at

[Note: If your class is online, we recommend adding the following language at the end of the general library syllabus language.]

In addition to in-person services, the library provides online support services. You can schedule a virtual appointment at Online appointments are available via Zoom and can include screen sharing and video. You may also email the library at

[Note: If you are using items on reserve, we recommend listing the particular items here (with their call number) to make it easier for students to access the material.]

Textbooks used in this course are available at the library on Course Reserve. These items may be checked out for two hours at a time. You may read, photocopy, and scan these items. Course Reserves are located at the Circulation Desk. To check out these items, bring your student ID to the Circulation Desk and provide the item’s call number and title. You can also search for Course Reserves in the library’s online catalog.


Additional Syllabus Language

Depending on your course, you may want to include some or all of the following information in your syllabus.

  • Appointments
  • Relevant Subject Guides
  • Recommended Databases
  • Tutorials

Sample language for each of these items can be found in the tabs above.

Our librarians provide online and in-person appointments. Students may discuss any of their research and academic needs with a librarian. Appointments are available in 30-minute and 1-hour slots. Most appointments need to be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.

Sample Text:

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the library's one-on-one appointments. Librarians are available to help you find and use library resources, increase your research skills, and provide other academic support. You can schedule an appointment online at

The library provides curated guides with recommended resources and tools in numerous subject areas. We also provide Help guides which walk students through how to find articles, books, citing sources, and evaluating sources. In some instances, we can also create specific course related guides. It can be helpful to direct students to guides which may be relevant to your course. All of our guides can be found here

Sample Text:

To help jumpstart your research, you might want to check out these online library guides: [Provide links to specific guides.]

We offer access to over 200 databases. Not all databases will be relevant for your course. You can recommend students look at specific databases which are most useful to the assignments in your course.

Sample Text:

The following library databases will be most relevant for the assignments in this course. You can access all of these through the library at: [List recommended databases by name.]

The library is creating video tutorials to help students navigate the library’s resources and tools. You can direct students to our YouTube account or to specific tutorials.

Sample Text:

Check-out the library’s YouTube page for video tutorials that walk you through how to access and use library resources and services: