graphic depicting COVID-19 research and focus on education

COVID-19 impact: Online resources for at-home learning

University Libraries offers free online resources for K-12 students

As the coronavirus threatens health and upends daily life throughout the world, UofSC Today is turning to our faculty to help us make sense of it all. While no one can predict exactly what will happen in the coming weeks and months, our faculty can help us ask the right questions and put important context around emerging events.

 Stacy Winchester is a research data librarian in University Libraries’ digital research services department at the University of South Carolina. We asked her about resources for parents during this period of at-home learning. 

With the closing of K-12 schools across the state, parents are now more involved than ever in their children's education. What online resources are available through University Libraries that could support their efforts?

The University Libraries at UofSC provide access to over 400 research databases. This huge collection of materials is available from home and covers every discipline and topic imaginable.

In addition to the libraries’ regular online collections, some companies are also making access to their educational content free to facilitate learning from home during this period of uncertainty. Kathy Snediker, Research and Instruction Librarian at Thomas Cooper Library, has created an online guide that highlights content recently made free. More information will be added to this guide as it becomes available.

Does University Libraries have resources for all K-12 students, even the early elementary grades?

The University Libraries provide access to many online K-12 resources. These include quality educational materials suitable for elementary through high school grade levels. Students can use these resources to access narrated picture books and graphic novels, primary source materials, periodical content, reference materials at a variety of grade levels, and more.

What tips would you offer to parents who want to nurture their children's sense of curiosity and tap into their digital native abilities to find information online?

Most children know how to access information online, but they don’t always understand how to differentiate quality sources of information from those they should not trust. This problem may be amplified because children often get their news from social media. There’s a huge amount of misinformation online, and in the search for answers to their questions about COVID-19, for example, they may stumble upon inaccurate information. Parents can help steer their children toward quality sources of information. Library content is a great place to start.

Parents can ask their children questions about the sources they choose when seeking information. Can the child tell who is responsible for content they find online and how old the content is? Why is the information being made available? Is it purely informational or are the content creators trying to sell a product? Are there any clues on the website about whether the content creators might be good sources of information on the topic? If children have questions about the accuracy of information they find online, pointing them toward objective, fact-checking sites such as Snopes and Politifact can empower them to make determinations themselves.

In addition to the resources offered above, the university's South Carolina Center for Community Literacy has assembled an online resource guide for parents and teachers. 


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