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First Year Seminar Information Literacy Scaffold Overview: Home

FYS Information Literacy Program

Dear Faculty,

This First Year Seminar Information Literacy Scaffold is designed to help you easily incorporate foundational lessons about library research and services throughout your course. These lessons will help you meet the research requirements of the FYS mandate and prepare students for research in upper-level courses.  

Most of the exercises and tasks will take only a few minutes of students' time, but will save you time both during your planning process and in the classroom. The work will complement your normal classroom activity and help students become independent, proactive library users. The scaffold is linked to the Writing Center's "Writing Analytically" sample syllabus so that you can easily combine writing and research exercises to enhance classroom learning experiences.

This page provides an overview of the FYS IL Scaffold.  Faculty currently teaching an FYS should consult the Enhanced FYS IL Scaffold (login required) on the FYS Teaching Guide for examples of low-stakes assignments for each lesson in the scaffold, and ideas for integrating information literacy into existing FYS writing assignments, and other useful information.  


As you read through the suggested scaffold, keep the following in mind:

  • Requests for instruction should be made at least two weeks in advance to allow for adequate preparation and set up. Please offer several dates when making a request for IL sessions.

  • Please keep fair use guidelines in mind. More information can be found on our Copyright and Fair Use Guide

  • Students and faculty can use the Ask a Librarian page to contact a librarian for research, academic integrity, and citation assistance.

  • More information about teaching research skills and academic integrity can be found on the FYS Teaching Guide on Moodle.

Your liaison looks forward to working with you this year!

Ask a Librarian

Text us: 717-366-6623
Librarians by Department

Circulation desk: 717-245-1397

FYS Mandate and IL Goals

The First Year Seminar Description [excerpt] 

All seminars will include at least one assignment that requires students to: 

  1. seek and evaluate information on a topic relevant to the seminar 

  2. integrate that new knowledge into a project that allows students the opportunity to engage in scholarly conversation appropriate to the first-year level 

  3. revise their work 

To meet these requirements, first year students should be able to accomplish the following: 

  • Find and access on their own required readings such as books and book chapters, journal articles, and newspaper articles 

  • Distinguish among the various source types they may encounter during a search 

  • Select research tools appropriate to the task 

  • Find and access material needed to address a research question 

  • Analyze/evaluate potential sources of information for use in a research project 

  • Cite sources and interpret citations 

Benefits of the FYS Scaffold: 

  • Teaches students foundational research skills at their own pace, as opposed to rushing through button-clicking exercises during limited time in the classroom. 

  • Adheres to Universal Design principles for accessibility, allowing students to refresh/revisit a lesson as needed with the control to pause, rewind, read captions, and repeat a lesson as many times as necessary to grasp the concepts or refresh their memories. 

  • Peer-reviewed research repeatedly asserts that isolated, decontextualized methods of library instruction are ineffective at best.  This plan allows for gradual acquisition and practice of research skills rather than the attempt to cover many disparate competencies in one or two class periods. 

  • Regular incorporation of research skills demonstrates to students that research and library use are an integral part of most courses, sometimes even those without a specific research assignment. 

  • Reduces the pressure to secure classroom space during the 6-week period leading up to fall pause when most FYS instruction sessions (most of them taught on Mondays and Fridays at 12:30) are requested.