Do's and Don'ts

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DO...   DON'T...
Consult with your Library Liaison to verify the availability of the most recent library resources - schedule a session on how students can best complete the research portion of the assignment as part of a library session.   Assume your students are skilled researchers; they are most likely skilled net surfers, which is a different and often irrelevant skill.
Discuss your assignment in class, online, and during your office hours.   Rely on students to find their own topic without your assistance.
Give ample time for completion of the work.   Give out an assignment orally or on the spur of the moment, or presume that students will meet your deadline without prodding and reminders.
Tell students what they are supposed to learn in the assignment and relate this to the larger objectives of the class -- e.g. "You will learn the most efficient way of locating and evaluating the quality of scholarly articles in cultural anthropology."   Ask students to do something you haven't successfully done yourself or assign scavanger hunts - these assignments frustrate students without giving them useful skills.
To discourage plagiarism and help those who need structure, break up large assignments into smaller pieces -- for example, Topic Selection, Thesis Statement, Short list of resources and how they were located, First draft, Revision and final draft of paper.   Hand out the identical topic or task to a large class.
Require that students cite and defend the validity of their sources.   Tell students simply to "find it on the Internet".