Book Chapter or Section
Information literacy, inquiry, and empirical observation skills are essential to undergraduate students’ success, supporting the development of their independent critical thinking skills. In this chapter, we discuss an interdisciplinary course that we, an architecture professor and a librarian, co-taught at New York City College of Technology. The course, Learning Places: Understanding the City, combines place-based learning with primary source research, developing students’ abilities to observe an urban site chosen for study and to document their observations, and in the process build a line of inquiry for further research. The documented observations, newly created primary sources in their own right, initiated a research process focused on primary sources, building the students’ information literacy competencies along the way. Students found, evaluated, and integrated historical primary sources into a collaborative project that responded to a real-world issue or conditions of the site chosen for study.