OAKS: How Do I…?

Find answers to the most common questions regarding OAKS. Just select a category below or scroll to browse all the questions.

Announcements | Class Roll | Adding Course Material | Grading/Grade Book | Online Assignment Submission | Online Discussions | Online Quizzes and Tests | Semester Startup | Miscellaneous


ANNOUNCEMENTS (OAKS News)


Course announcements are created using the News tool on the Course Homepage. Not only is News the first thing a student sees when they enter your class, they can also sign up to receive email and text messages when a new announcement is posted.
READ how you can create announcements.

OAKS has a Notifications area that allows you, and your students, to receive emails and/or text messages when announcements are posted in a class. This tool also allows for notifications of other course activity such as due dates and discussion posts.
READ how to sign up for announcement alerts

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CLASS ROLL (OAKS Classlist)


Use the Classlist tool to view who’s enrolled in your course and send email messages.  When you email students within OAKS it uses their CofC Email and sends it from your CofC email. Since there is no internal email client a copy of sent email is not kept in your Sent mail folder. It is recommended that you make sure to copy yourself on all emails sent from within OAKS. You can do this either by cc’ing yourself on each email or set that you are copied as the default:From OAKS My Home or from within any course go to your name in the upper right and select the dropdown.Click Account Settings > click on the Email tab > check box for Send a copy of each outgoing message to xxxxx@cofc.edu
READ how to email your entire class from OAKS
WATCH how to email your entire class from OAKS




OAKS classlists should reflect the classlist shown in Banner. If you need to remove or add students in your course, please complete the OAKS Request to Add or Remove Students form found on the My Home page of OAKS in the OAKS Requests box.You can add a student to an OAKS course using this form if they appear on your official class list in Banner.You can remove a student from an OAKS course/classlist using this form if they have already been removed from Banner roll for the course.If a student is not in the OAKS Classlist and also not in Banner then you will need to contact the Registrar.

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ADDING COURSE MATERIAL (OAKS Content)


OAKS uses “Modules” to allow you to organize your course material in Content. Think of a module as being a file folder into which you will add your course material. You must create a module before you can add topics (course material). You can create sub-modules (modules within existing modules) to establish a deeper hierarchy. Once you create modules, populate them with topics (course material). You can organize your course materials in whatever way best meets your instructional needs.
READ how to create a new module
WATCH how to create a new module





We ask that you do not upload video or audio files directly into OAKS. Instead it is recommended that you add them to YouTube or to Kaltura then link to them within your course.
YouTube: media can be made public or unlisted and still be used in OAKS. Unlisted media is not searchable by the general public but is also not considered secure.
Step 1: Upload your video from your computer to YouTube.
— READ how to upload videos to YouTube.
Step 2: Link to the YouTube video in OAKS.
— READ how to add YouTube video in Content.Kaltura: media uploaded to Kaltura is available only to CofC faculty, staff, and students. Media can be made public or unlisted and still be used in OAKS. Unlisted media is not searchable by the CofC public and is recommended.
— READ how to upload and link your videos into Content.

VoiceThread is an interactive collaboration and sharing tool that enables users to add images, documents, and videos, and to which other users can add voice, text, audio file, or video comments and is integrated into OAKS.  It allows you and your students to create and share VoiceThread presentations quickly and easily.
READ how to add a VoiceThread to OAKS

There are times when you want to hide course material from the students’ view, for example if you are still building a module. OAKS allows you to hide individual pieces of course material, as well as entire modules, using the Draft/Published toggle. Remember, when you are ready to show your content you will need to change the toggle to Published.Some of you may be familiar with adding a Start or End date to your content to automatically make content available/unavailable to your students. Please note, this only restricts their access to view the material but does not hide the file name from the Content listing that the student sees.
IMPORTANT NOTE: setting a module to Draft will hide everything within the module.
READ how to set a MODULE to Draft
WATCH how to set a MODULE to Draft
READ how to set a course TOPIC to Draft
WATCH how to set a course TOPIC to Draft


Because OAKS is a web-based application, browser settings normally contribute to the inability of some students to see course material. Many times this troubleshooting has to be done on a per-student basis. However, with media, many times the problem results from their computer blocking specific types of content. This can be easily unblocked so that your student can view the material.
READ how to unblock content in OAKS

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GRADING/GRADE BOOK (OAKS Grades)


Selection of the type of Final Grade affects which column is released to the student’s view. The Calculated Final Grade is the most common selection.Calculated Final Grade – A user’s calculated final grade is calculated based on the grading formula set up in the grade book. You cannot adjust it to accommodate special circumstances without editing individual grade items or categories and recalculating the total. Adjusted Final Grade – The adjusted final grade enables you to modify or adjust a user’s grade before releasing it. This requires copying the information in the Final Calculated Grade then altering it as necessary.

OAKS allows you to drop the lowest 1, 2 or more grades from a category of grades. For example, drop the lowest two reading quizzes. In addition, you can drop the highest grades as well. Doing this requires the use of Categories in the grade book area. In the Distribution section of a Category choose Distribute weight evenly across all items then type the drop number beside Number of lowest non-bonus items to drop for each user.
READ how to drop the lowest grades
WATCH how to drop the lowest grades.

You can create an extra credit column in your grade book that will give points to the students that complete the assignment but not penalize those who do not. Making a grade column a Bonus will only change the Calculated Grade numerator and not affect the denominator.

  1. Create a column in your grade book as you normally would (New > Item > Numeric).
  2. Complete the form, including points and/or weight.
  3. Check the box next to Bonus. This will flag it as extra credit.
  4. Once you click Save and Close you will see a yellow star icon next to the grade column indicating it is Bonus points.

When you create your grade book you can choose whether assignments that haven’t been graded, or assignments that haven’t been turned in, will display in the grade book as a “0” or as a blank.If it displays as a blank the Calculated Grade will display the total of all graded assignments, showing a more realistic grade. (recommended if you are displaying the Final Grade to the student.)If it displays as a “0” the Calculated Grade will display the total of all assignments, showing a failing or low grade until all grade items have been accounted for.If you are unhappy with your calculation settings you can change them in the Settings of the Grade Book.
READ how to change our grade settings – pay attention to Grades Calculations.
WATCH how to change our grade settings





Sometimes you need to use a more complicated calculation than OAKS Grades can handle. When this occurs you can download the OAKS Grade Book for use in Excel.IMPORTANT NOTE: Student grades should only be stored on encrypted drives. Never upload the spreadsheet to the web, 3rd party cloud drives, or non-CofC drive. Portable drives such as usb drives should be encrypted.
READ how to export your OAKS grades to Excel

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ONLINE ASSIGNMENT SUBMISSIONS (OAKS Dropbox)


The Dropbox tool enables students to submit assignments in OAKS, eliminating the need to email or turn in paper assignments. This eliminates the need to collect assignments and helps you track when assignments are submitted. The students simply upload their assignments to the appropriate folder. The Dropbox tool allows you to see users’ submission times, download assignments to your computer, view submissions with the document viewer on the Leave Feedback page, associate dropbox folders to rubrics, and return submissions with grades and feedback.You can set up separate dropbox folders for each assignment and restrict access to the folders by date and time, group membership, or special access permissions. Each dropbox folder’s search and filter options enable you to find users’ submitted files by username, submission history, and amount of feedback they have received.
READ how to create a dropbox folder and create assignments in the dropbox
WATCH how to create a dropbox folder and create assignments in the dropbox
STUDENT how to submit to an online assignment

The OAKS Dropbox will accept most common file types (ex. DOC, PDF, PPT). Students should not upload audio or video files into the OAKS Dropbox. They may experience issues with either their network, file size, or file type incompatibility which will prevent them from successfully uploading the file. Instead we recommend two options that integrate with OAKS: Kaltura or VoiceThread.

  • Kaltura MediaSpace is a Youtube-like, online media area specifically for CofC faculty, staff and students. Unlike other media servers on campus Kaltura is available to students so it can be used to house and upload student media projects.
    READ how a student can use Kaltura to submit a audio or video assignment.
  • Voicethread is an online digital storytelling program that allows users to upload pictures or presentations then add a voice or video recording as commentary. Students will access and use VoiceThread in the same way as an Instructor. They will create and share in the exact same way. The primary difference is that Instructors have a Pro account which allows them to create as many Voicethreads as they want until they reach 2 GB of space. Students have a Basic account which allows them 1 GB of space or 50 Voicethreads (whichever comes first)
    READ how a student can use Voicethread to create and submit a media project

Students should not upload audio or video files into the OAKS Dropbox. They will experience issues with either their network, file size, or file type incompatibility which will prevent them from successfully uploading the file. Instead we recommend two options that integrate with OAKS: Kaltura or VoiceThread.

  • Kaltura MediaSpace is a Youtube-like, online media area specifically for CofC faculty, staff and students. Unlike other media servers on campus Kaltura is available to students so it can be used to house and upload student media projects.
    READ how students can use Kaltura to submit a audio or video assignment
  • Voicethread is an online digital storytelling program that allows users to upload pictures or presentations then add a voice or video recording as commentary. Students will access and use VoiceThread in the same way as an Instructor. They will create and share in the exact same way. The primary difference is that Instructors have a Pro account which allows them 2 GB of space. Students have a Basic account which allows them 1 GB of space or 50 Voicethreads (whichever comes first)
    READ how students can use Voicethread to create and submit a media project


Create group work areas for users with the Groups tool. You can use groups to organize users’ work on projects and assignments, or you can create special work areas for users with different learning needs.Users can belong to multiple groups within the same course. For example, each user can simultaneously belong to a group for class projects, a group for special interest discussions, and a group for advanced users. Each group can have its own discussion forums, dropbox folders, and locker area to work in. You can grade members of groups individually or as a team.When creating a Group using the Groups tool, select Set Up Dropbox option, you are automatically taken to the Create Dropbox folders page. Creating a folder from this page creates a folder for each of the groups in the category.Note: Group submission areas are marked on the Dropbox Folders page with the Group Submissions icon. Any group member can submit and view files for a group dropbox folder. Deleting a group will permanently delete the group dropbox and ALL the work submitted by the students.
READ how to create groups in OAKS to auto enroll your students and create collaborative spaces for them
WATCH how to create groups in OAKS to auto enroll your students and create collaborative spaces for them

The Notifications tool under a user’s name on the Minibar drop-down menu allows them to subscribe to receive email notifications when updates occur, such as a Grade Item is released, a Grade Item is updated, and also a two-day reminder for upcoming Dropbox and Quiz deadlines.
READ how to enable the Notifications tool

OAKS has a built in rubrics tool that allows you to assess items uploaded into the Dropbox and connected to the Discussion Board tools in OAKS. Using this tool you can create two types of rubrics, analytic and holistic, which are explained below.Rubrics can be created on-the-fly from inside the Dropbox tool or in advance by clicking Rubrics under Management > Edit Course. Regardless of the method you choose the steps for creating the rubric are the same. For the purposes of this tutorial we will create the rubric on the fly from within the Dropbox tool.
READ how to create rubrics in OAKS and add them to a Dropbox for assessment.

The Evaluate Submission page enables you to evaluate and leave feedback for user submissions, but you can also download submissions from the Folder Submissions page to work on files offline.From the Evaluate Submission page you can download submissions to work with offline or view them inline with the document viewer.Note: Using the document viewer is not recommended if formatting is going to be evaluated because it only offers a preview instead of showing exactly how the document was designed.
READ how to grade and leave feedback on a student submissions in the Dropbox tool
WATCH how to grade and leave feedback on a student submissions in the Dropbox tool


The Desire2Learn (OAKS) Assignment Grader app allows faculty to use their iPads to grade assignments and submit them directly into the OAKS Dropbox. In addition to adding the grade and text comments, faculty can also leave an audio and/or video comment and annotate on the original submission.


The Evaluate Submission page enables you to evaluate and leave feedback for user submissions. You can evaluate students from Dropbox even if no submissions were made to a dropbox folder. This enables instructors to assign comments and grades to students with no submissions. Also, this enables instructors to evaluate submissions that occur outside of OAKS while keeping track of evaluations within dropbox folders. There will be an Evaluate icon to click on next to every student’s name; with or without a submission.
READ how to grade a and leave feedback on a student submissions in the Dropbox tool.
WATCH how to grade a and leave feedback on a student submissions in the Dropbox tool

An instructor will typically download all submissions in a .ZIP to mark them offline. Instead of downloading student submissions to be marked and individually returned as feedback files. File can be marked and combined in a .ZIP file to upload. The Dropbox tool takes care of the rest and distributes the feedback files to each learner automatically.

  1. In the Users tab on the Folder Submissions page, select the checkbox beside the users you want to send feedback to. Note: If you select users who already received published feedback, bulk publishing will update their feedback to the latest feedback.
  2. Click Publish feedback for selected users. Note You cannot revert bulk publishing, but you can retract feedback for users individually on the Evaluate Submission page.

READ How to bulk upload feedback evaluations back into OAKS dropbox
WATCH How to bulk upload feedback evaluations back into OAKS dropbox

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ONLINE DISCUSSIONS (OAKS Discussions)


There are two ways to grade specific students’ posts: via the Grade Book or via the Classlist > View Progress.
Via the Grade Book: This will work only if you have attached a grade book column to the Discussion topic..

  1. Go to Grades > Grades > Enter Grades.
  2. Next to the student’s section of the discussion’s column you will see a chat bubble icon, click on it.
  3. This will take you into the grading area. Scroll down to see only the student’s posts and replies.

Via the Classlist > View Progress:

  1. From Communication > Classlist, choose View Progress from the dropdown next to the student.
  2. Click on Discussions then click on the links to drill down into the boards until you find the appropriate posts.
  3. You will now be able to see the posts and replies for that student.


By default, students can post to a discussion board as soon as you create it. However, there are a few things that can prevent students from being able to post to a discussion they can see.The most common reason a student can’t post to a discussion is that you only created a Forum but NOT a Topic. To check this go to the Discussion tool and see if you can click on the discussion. If you can’t then you have only created a Forum. You will then need to choose New > Topic to create a postable topic in that forum. Remember, a forum is only an organizational tool.The second common reason is that the discussion board is locked. A locked board allows the students to view all the posts/replies on the board but not add anything new to the board. You can tell a board is locked by the locked icon below the Topic name.

Make sure that your discussion boards are both visible and unlocked. To check this choose Edit Topic from the dropdown arrow next to the discussion topic. Under Availability make sure Topic is always visible is checked. Under Locking Options make sure Unlock topic is checked.

This is known as “showing the quote in the reply” and, while it is meant to help follow the conversation, it can often make the discussion board cluttered and chaotic. You can easily turn it off in the Discussion Settings.

  1. Go to Discussions and click Settings in the upper right of the window.
  2. Under Reply Settings UNCHECK Include original post in reply then Save.

OAKS allows ONLY FACULTY to pin a discussion post to the top of the board so that no matter how many people post or reply, that post will always display first.

  1. Click Start a New Thread.
  2. Write your post as you normally would and, under the large text box, click Pin Thread.

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ONLINE QUIZZES AND TESTS (OAKS Quizzes)


Respondus is a tool for creating and managing quizzes that can be published directly to OAKS from a document, such as Word or a .txt file and Publishers’ test banks. Respondus allows you to import multiple-choice, true-false, paragraph, short answer, matching, and multiple response questions from a file that can be published into OAKS.This software can only be installed on a PC. It is installed and available for use in the FTC Lab (J.C. Long Room 323). You can also install it on your own PC for a 30 day free trial.
READ how to format an existing document to use with Respondus.
READ how to use Respondus to upload that formatted document into your OAKS course.
WATCH how to import quiz questions

Respondus is a tool for creating and managing quizzes that can be published directly to OAKS from a document, such as Word or a .txt file and Publishers’ test banks. Respondus allows you to import multiple-choice, true-false, paragraph, short answer, matching, and multiple response questions from a file that can be published into OAKS.This software can only be installed on a PC. It is installed and available for use in the FTC Lab (J.C. Long Room 323). You can also install it on your own PC for a 30 day free trial.
READ how to format an existing document to use with Respondus.
READ how to use Respondus to upload that formatted document into your OAKS course.
WATCH how to import quiz questions

A bonus question will not count against students if they get it wrong; it might help them, and can even count as extra credit, if the Grade Item is set to “Can Exceed”.
WATCH how to create a bonus question(s)

Use the options located under the Restrictions tab to set up the availability and timing of your quiz.

  1. Be sure in the Availability section, you set the Status to active. Users can only see quizzes that have been set to Active status even if you have set a Start Date.
  2. Check the Start Date.
  3. Check the End Date.
  4. Check if you added any Release conditions. If you did they may not have been met therefore the student cannot see the quiz.
  5. Check in the Timing section for a set time limit you may have set for your quiz. The default time limit is 120 minutes.

READ how to set Up Quiz Restrictions
WATCH how to set up and or check these settings in the Quiz Restrictions tab


Special access permissions allow you to set different availability dates and times for specific users, such as SNAP students or students with an illness. For example, you could extend the deadline for users who require remedial help or who are submitting work beyond the original scope of the assignment. You can also add special access after a folder’s end date has passed for users who have a legitimate excuse for missing the deadline or for users you want to submit additional material, such as planning notes or a bibliography.
WATCH how to give students different availability dates and times for a quiz.

Occasionally a student may save their quiz responses, but forget to submit their quiz. The quiz will have the status of in progress next to the name of the student and may require an instructor to submit the quiz for the student. The following will demonstrate this process of submitting a student’s quiz as an instructor.

  1. Go to Grades > Quizzes
  2. From the drop-down menu next to the quiz click Grade. A list of the students and their attempts will appear.
  3. If you wish to see only attempts that are in progress, select Users with attempts in progress from the Restrict to: drop-down menu and then click the Search button.
  4. Select the Enter Quiz As User icon beside the user’s name.
  5. Click Yes.
  6. Click Go To Submit Quiz.
  7. Click Submit Quiz.
  8. Click Yes, submit quiz to confirm the quiz submission.
  9. You are automatically returned to the page as yourself (you are no longer impersonating the user).

Sometimes students do not successfully submit their quiz because they have missed the final click in the submission process. If this happens and the quiz closes, then the quiz remains in progress and the student cannot go back and submit it properly. In order for the quiz to be graded it needs to be submitted. The solution is for the instructor to submit the quiz for the student.

  1. Go to the quiz and select Grade
  2. In the Restrict drop down menu, select Users with attempts in progress.
  3. Click on the search icon in the Search For box. Any students who have a quiz in progress will display.
  4. Click on the white and green icon next to the attempt in progress.
  5. You will be asked if you want to enter the quiz as the student, select OK
  6. Click on the Submit Quiz Button at the bottom of the page.
  7. When it asks you if you want to submit the quiz click OK and the quiz will be submitted and will be graded if it is set up to be auto graded or will be available for manual grading.

Occasionally there is a need for students to have quizzes reset. This can occur for a number of reasons. The most common reason is that the student claims that OAKS “kicked” them out of the quiz. This seems to be most likely due to internet connections at the student’s home or dorm. Regardless, faculty do have the ability to reset quizzes within OAKS.
READ how to reset a student’s quiz attempt



Use the options in the Submission Views tab to give feedback to users after they submit a quiz attempt.

  1. Go to Grades >Quizzes locate the quiz.
  2. Next to the name of the quiz, use the dropdown and select Edit.
  3. Click on the Submissions Views tab.
  4. Click on Default View.
  5. Under View Details/Show Questions? Click on the radio button next to “Yes” – you have to select Yes to show questions in order for the student to be able to access your feedback.
  6. Click on the radio button next to “Show question answers” if you want them to see the answers.
  7. Click Save.

This is how your students view your feedback/comments:

  1. On the navigation bar in the course click on Grades > Quizzes.
  2. Find the quiz (for example Exam 1) and to the right of that quiz name select the dropdown arrow and click on Submissions.
  3. On the Submissions page, click on Attempt.
  4. Find a Short Answer/Essay question and click on View Feedback.

READ how students can see quiz feedback




Create a grade item in the Grades tool. Then, when you set up the quiz, follow these steps:

  1. From the Navigation bar, click QUIZZES.
  2. The Manage Quizzes pane appears.
  3. Click the quiz you want to edit.
  4. The Edit Quiz pane appears.
  5. On the Properties tab, select the Grade Item to which you want the scores to export.
  6. Select Auto-Export to Grades: allow automatic export to grades.
  7. Select Automatic Grade: allow attempt to be set as graded immediately upon completion.
  8. Click SAVE QUIZ.

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SEMESTER STARTUP



There are a variety of users you can add to your course and each type requires a different addition method.
READ a full list of the types of users and their rights


If you teach multiple sections of the same course, you can have the sections crosslisted in OAKS in order to eliminate the building of identical courses within OAKS. This will put all students into one course within OAKS, but they can still be separated by their registered section within the Grades area and other tools.For example, if you teach three sections of Technology 101, you would have three separate section links where you could upload the same material into each section one at a time. However, if you chose to crosslist, or merge, all three sections, you would only have one link, therefore, needing to upload the material only one.IMPORTANT – this will erase all student work and all course material you have already uploaded, so it is imperative to request a crosslist before adding anything to your course. Also please remember to add all additional users, such as Content Assts., Grading Assts, Chairs, and Fake Students BEFORE you request the cross listing.
Complete the form on the OAKS Home > OAKS Requests >Request to Crosslist

The copy components tool lets you copy quizzes, content, grade items, discussion forums, dropbox folders, and nearly every other type of component from another course offering into your course. Copying components saves you from having to recreate your course’s resources from scratch and can significantly reduce the amount of work required to create or re-offer a course.
You can use the copy components feature to:

  • Reuse components created in a previous course offering.
  • Add components created by your peers into your own course offering.
  • Set up standard components inside a course template and copy them into a new course offering each time a course is re-offered.

WATCH how to copy course material


For most tools you can use the Role Change tool. To access this click on the dropdown arrow next to your name in the upper right corner and choose View As Student. This will change you to a student role. Don’t forget to change your role back to the Instructor role when you are finished. This role switch will NOT allow you to experience taking a quiz or view the grades as a student, or experience grading a student’s assignment or quiz as an instructor. For this you will need a Fake Student.Getting a Fake Student: a fake student is a true student account that is enrolled in your courses. This allows you to fully experience your course as a student would, including quizzes, assignment submission, and grades. Complete the form on the OAKS Home > OAKS Requests > Request a Special User be added to your OAKS Course and select Fake Student.

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MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS


Use the form called Request to add a Course to OAKS found on the My Home page of OAKS in the OAKS Requests.With it you can request a Development Course – Course that can be used to develop course structures. Note: This cannot be used as an active course. No students will be added to this course.Or request a Special Course – Course housed completely in OAKS for a special purpose. This could include special training courses, administrative courses, or departmental courses.

You can use the Attendance tool in OAKS. The Attendance Tool allows an instructor to create an attendance register, to take class attendance, and to assign grades based on attendance.Note: The Attendance tool is not/does not connect to the OAKS Gradebook. Any information you add to the Attendance tool must be manually entered into the OAKS Grade book tool.
READ how to use the Attendance tool

Films on Demand is a comprehensive collection of high-quality educational videos licensed from a long established educational media distributor Films Media Group. More than 7500 videos cover a wide range of topics organized into multiple broad subjects. These subjects are then further divided into narrower subject. Individual segments subdivide each video into discrete shorter units.
READ here to learn more about Films on Demand and how to add to your OAK courseVAST: Academic Video Online/ Alexander Street Video includes over 20,000 in a wide variety of subjects and topics. It can be searched by keyword, discipline, subject or video type (i.e. animation, biography, commercial, documentary, demonstration, newsreel, interview, and more). It also has advanced search features that allow searches by transcript, series, author, publisher, and date released.
READ here to learn more about VAST and how to add to your OAKS course.Kanopy Streaming Service has one of the largest collections of films in the world with 50,000+ films from thousands of leading producers such as Criterion Collection, Universal Paramount, The Great Courses, New Day Films, California Newsreel, Kino Lorber, PBS, First Run Features, Media Education Foundation, Documentary Educational Resources, etc. These films are all genres – from documentaries to movies and training videos – and touch on every topic imaginable.
READ here to learn more about Kanopy collection and how to add to your OAKS course.

Use the form called Request a Librarian found on the My Home page of OAKS in the OAKS Requests box to request a librarian to assist in the research aspect(s) of your course. The College’s Libraries strive to collaborate with faculty of every discipline to teach students research, information, and digital literacy skills. Librarians work closely with the faculty member to develop a special lecture that focuses on the type of research and content specific to each course. Librarians can also create web based library research guides and help instruct students in other tools (such as iMovie/Moviemaker, WordPress/Blogger, Google Apps, Prezi, etc.) that specifically incorporate library resources related to your course.

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