English Composition

What can the librarians do to help you with your composition class?

As part of the College's Core Curriculum, English 3, English 4 and English 5 are SMC students' first introduction to information retrieval and evaluation. The Library has worked closely with the Composition program to outline the common learning goals for all students taking the course. The skills that the students learn in the library sessions for English 3, 4 and 5 will lay the basic foundation of information literacy that will develop further in the various disciplines, including in designated Writing in the Disciplines courses. 


Schedule a Session (or Two!) for Your Class

The Composition Program includes Information Evaluation and Research Practices (IERP) as a key learning goal. To help achieve the IERP Learning Outcomes, library sessions are required for each section of English 4: Composition, and English 5: Argument and Research. When and how the requirement is met in each individual section can be discussed between the librarian and faculty member. Because of space limitations, please request your prefered library session date as early as possible.  
To schedule one or more library sessions for your English 3, 4, or 5 section(s), please complete the online Library Session Request Form for Composition Classes and a librarian will get in touch with you.

What Will the Session Look Like

The Composition program and Librarians have outlined the key learning objectives for English 4 and English 5, and the librarians have designed a "core syllabus" for each course. To ensure that all students receive the same foundation, these objectives will be the focus on each library session. Additional information and skills can be added at the request of the instructor.

English 4 information literacy learning objectives include:

  • Students are able to evaluate sources of information using provided criteria (IERP 2)
  • Students are able to seek and identify confirming and opposing evidence relevant to original and existing theses (CT 2a)
  • Students are able to use some interdisciplinary databases for finding information (e.g., Opposing Viewpoints, Multisearch) (IERP 1)
  • Students understand how to cite sources and avoid plagiarism (IERP 3 & 4)
  • Optional: Students are able to narrow their topic to an appropriate scope (originate plausible theses) (CT 2)
  • Optional: Students are able to analyze arguments of others and reflect on the assumptions of other writers and how those assumptions relate to the student's own assumptions on the topic (CT 2b & CT 2c)
English 5, a more research intensive course, builds on English 4 by adding in
  • Students are able to construct criteria for evaluating sources and use it to evaluate an article (IERP 2)
  • Students understand the basics of developing a search strategy and can use more advanced techniques to search the library catalogs and databases for relevant evidence (IERP 1)
  • Students understand why to use and cite sources and know how to do so in MLA style (IERP 3 & 4)


The session will feature hands-on instruction, allowing the students to practice what they are learning. 

Where Will the Library Session Be?

The Library has one instruction room: the Wildenradt Theater, on the second floor of the Library. The room seats up to 30, and includes 20 laptop stations. Wi-fi is available for students who choose to use their own laptop or tablet computers. Sessions may also take place in the Library Conference Room, on the first floor of the Library near the ITS Lab. The Library has 15 iPads that can be used for hands-on activities in the Library Conference Room; if you have more than 15 students, some may need to bring their own laptop or tablet. It is strongly prefered that the library session take place in the Library so that students become familiar with the facility, services, and staff. 


What else should I know?

To emphasize the importance of the session, it is required that the faculty member attends with his or her students.