Studies have shown that bringing students to the archives has a positive effect on student engagement, performance, and, in some cases, student retention. Teaching with archives improves student engagement and performance through high-impact educational practices advocated by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
Our Teaching Philosophy
We welcome opportunities to teach and co-teach sessions on archival literacy using primary-sources. We are also happy to work with you on designing class projects, identifying collections, and making archival research approachable and engaging for students! Contact us to arrange a consultation or brainstorming session.
Document Analysis Activity( (can be applied to any of our physical or digital collections)
15 Minutes: Introduction to what an archive is, how it operates, and how researchers interact with the material.
30 Minutes: Digital document stations exercise- split the class into groups and give each group their selected documents. Students analyze the documents and discuss them in their group. Worksheets are provided to facilitate discussion. Each group prepares a brief summary of their findings to share with the rest of the class during the wrap up.
30 Minutes: Wrap up- gather students back together and give each group time to report back on their findings. Instructor highlights the takeaways and segue to the next group. After the reports, spend 10 minutes in class discussion
Digital Video Analysis Activity Example:
Archival research is critical to a variety of academic disciplines. For examples of research papers and projects using ODU's Special Collections and University Archives, see the How to Use Primary Sources and Archives in Your Research Guide.
You can also learn more about engaging students with archives online at the following websites: