Students delve into digital world inside Kelvin Smith Library

Librarian instructor and students

Kelvin Smith Library and the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) program are helping students navigate and decipher social media and online communications. “Knowledge of Our Digital World from Social Media to Wikipedia,” a class that debuted in fall 2022, familiarizes undergraduate students with platforms and digital media they’ll use well beyond Case Western Reserve University.

“The goal is getting them to think about how they interact with these platforms, how they judge the information they find on them and have them consider the ways digital media and digital knowledge impact their lives,” said Erin Smith, instruction and outreach librarian at Kelvin Smith Library.

The class attracts mostly second- and third-year students from a variety of majors, including nursing, computer science and biomedical engineering. 

Smith says the location of the class is key.

“Getting the students into the library and showing them it's not only a study space, but also a place they can also come for research is a benefit,” said Smith.

Students are encouraged to use many of the library’s resources—including the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship. Vice Provost and Lindseth Family University Librarian Yolanda Cooper said university libraries contribute to overall student success through classes like this.

“Through instruction, Kelvin Smith Library—and all the libraries at Case Western Reserve University—work to help develop information and digital literacy skills for students,” said Cooper. “We are thrilled to have our librarians in the classroom through the SAGES program which increases our ability to touch as many students as possible.” 

Smith will be teaching a similar course, titled “Interrogating Information: Research and Writing for a Digital Public” in fall 2023 through the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.