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First Year Writing Instructor Guide: Start

This guide is created to familiarize first year writing instructors with available assistance from their dedicated librarian.


Contact Information:

Profile Photo
Ethan Pullman
Pronouns: he/him/his
410A Hunt Library
Frew Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412 268 5018

Course Guides


Hello an welcome from your first-year librarian.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and some important services I can provide to you.  If after reviewing this information, you still have needs, comments, or suggestions, please don't hesitate to email me or, better yet, schedule a brief meeting.

What do I do?

I am dedicated to supporting our First-Year Writing program’s learning goals and objectives by providing research and instructional services, from assisting students and faculty with planning for their courses, collaborating towards building successful learning experience. In addition, I assist our faculty, staff, and students in adopting an Open Educational Resources (OER) philosophy through activities such as identifying and locating potential tools and resources, building custom materials for learning, and advising on copyright and licensing.

What can I do for you?

I. Guided Research Sessions: It is my pleasure to your classroom, in-person or online, to support your teaching during a course. Typically these sessions are set a specific length that fits with your needs and the needs of your students. I can address topics like basic research skills (such as citation management, literature review, accessing library resources) or digital literacy (software instruction such as citation management, etc).

II. Canvas Modules: I am also happy to develop online modules for your students to use in Canvas when they need them.  They can be as simple as a video on keyword searching or as detailed as online activities that target multiple learning thresholds.

Already have your activities planned? No worries, I am also happy to review the assignment to make sure that students have the appropriate resources when the time comes to complete their assignments.

How does this work?  It is simple, click on Schedule an Appointment (red button on this page) for a half hour consultation.  During our consultation, we review options and select the best fit for your course needs.

If you have been through this process and just need to request a research session, please use the instruction request form (also in this guide).

Good Reads

Select Articles:

Need to schedule a library session?

Integrating Library Resources with Canvas


Research Guides are built through a platform from Springshare called LibGuides (pronounced "lib" as in liberty) is a content management system (CMS) used by libraries worldwide to curate and share information by creating online research guides on subjects, topics or for specific courses.  You can access our Research Guides - and filter them by the following:

  • Subject - this gives you broad subjects to help you quickly group guides.
  • Course - quickly selects guides developed for specific courses are are generally listed by Subject then course number
  • Librarian/Specialist - this list is great if you already know who your liaison or specialist are and want to see the guides they offer.

If you would like a new research guide created for a first year writing class, please contact me for assistance. If you are teaching a class outside of First Year Writing, you may want to find a librarian who specializes in the topic you are teaching here.

A. Databases, eResources, & Tools:

There are many Databases, e Resources, & Tools is a list of resources to which our libraries subscribe and that cover many topics.  You may link to any of them from Canvas.  This is a great way to introduce students to a specific resource (for example a database that may cover data or specific primary resources), to use a selection for comparison, or to focus student searches for a specific assignment.

1. Library Proxy Service

Links on library webpages (including  in LibrarySearch, Browzine, and Databases A-Z) run through a proxy server which verifies you are a Carnegie Mellon University Member, and that you are eligible to access library materials. When you click on a this type of link for the first time in a session, you are prompted to enter your AndrewID and password to access the resource.

2. VPN (Virtual Private Network) Service

For certain library resources, using the VPN service is necessary.  VPN is not necessary for CANVAS or searching the library catalog.

If a proxy link doesn't work for you, the VPN option lets you join Carnegie Mellon University's Network from off-campus (Note: Using VPN to access resources may slow your internet speed, so only connect when you need to access resources, and disconnect once you're done).

For additional instruction on how these options work, please go to


Canvas and Ed Tech Support

Contact us to get help with Canvas and using technology for teaching and learning.

Contact Us:
9am-5pm, Monday-Friday
24-48 hour response

We Provide:
1-1 Consultations
Group Trainings
Tool Matching

See Also:
About Us
Faculty Support
Graduate Student Support

Tips for integrating research guides and databases into Canvas:

The easiest way to integrate research guides and databases into Canvas is to use a uniform resource locator (URL) and link to the resource directly using rich text.  However, the best option to highlight resources and make it easier for students to identify is to use the redirect app. Here's how:

1.  Go to your canvas course settings, select the Apps tab, and search for "redirect"

2. Once you click on +Add App, be sure to provide a name for the link (e.g. Research Guides or Databases) and to check the first two boxes:

3. Be sure to navigate back to Navigation & click SAVE. 

4. This will create the link but you have to go back to Settings, click on the Navigation tab and move the redirect link to place it in the order you want it to appear in Navigation.

Why should I add a Librarian to my course?

It's helpful to add your Subject Librarian to Canvas. They can help integrate research guides or learning modules into your course, participate in research discussions and respond to student questions, and collaborate with you on instruction and creation of digital learning objects.

What does the Librarian Role mean in Canvas?

In Canvas, you have the ability to add your Subject Librarian using the Librarian roleThis role allows your librarian to view, add, and modify content, as well as interact with your students (discussions and assignments). Librarians can provide feedback and assign grades relating to librarian instruction sessions if these are present in your course, but it does not provide them access to the overall course Grades. For a detailed list of permissions, see the Librarian Role permissions table below.

If you do need to provide Gradebook access to your Librarian and expand their permissions, you can assign them additional roles in Canvas, such as:

  • TA: Can modify a course just like the teacher/instructor role.
  • Grader: Can only grade students using the Grade Center and cannot modify or evaluate content or coursework.

How can I add my Librarian in Canvas?

To add your Librarian to Canvas, first navigate to the People tool in the left hand navigation menu of Canvas. Here, select Add People. In the Add People window, follow the steps outlined below: 

  1. Under Add user(s) by, ensure that the Email Address radio button is selected, and enter your subject librarian by email address in the provided field.
  2. Next, click on the Role drop-down menu, and select Librarian.
  3. Click Next to confirm your role selection.
  4. Canvas will verify that the email address is accurate in the next window and confirm if the user is ready to be added to your course. If you receive an error, be sure to go back and verify that you have entered the email address correctly before proceeding. Once Canvas confirms that you can add the user to the course site, click Add Users to complete the process.

Your librarian will receive an email invitation to your Canvas site, and once they accept it, they are added to the course.

"Add people" window in the Canvas Learning Management system. Image demonstrates adding a librarian to a course by entering email and selecting the "Librarian" role in the drop down menu.

clicking the "add users" button allows a faculty member to finalize adding a librarian to the course.