Asee peer logo

Creating A Library Instruction Session For A Technical Writing Course Composed Of Engineering And Non Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

ELD Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.361.1 - 10.361.9

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Kiem-Dung Ta

author page

Helen Clements

author page

Kevin Drees

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Creating a Library Instruction Session for a Technical Writing Course Composed of Engineering and Non-Engineering Students

Kevin P. Drees, Kiem-Dung Ta, and Helen Peeler Clements Oklahoma State University

Abstract This paper provides a framework of ideas for librarians and technical writing instructors interested in developing library instruction programs to enhance students’ performance in technical writing courses. A new library instruction program for ENGL 3323: Technical Writing addresses a concern of engineering faculty that engineering students, the largest student population enrolled in this course, are not locating the high quality resources needed to round out the development of their assignments. In addition, workplace expectations for new engineering graduates, as well as information literacy guidelines which correlate with ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation criteria justify the need for the program. In the instruction sessions, librarians teach students how to search by subject category rather than by a specific keyword, as well as how to utilize critical thinking skills, make use of discipline- specific databases, consult government documents and technical report collections, and utilize subject experts as a means of increasing the pool of useful information for the development of final project reports. Students are exposed to a range of discipline-oriented databases and print sources in a single instruction session designed to cover business, engineering and agriculture sources in article, technical report, and government document formats. Librarians manage the broad scope of material by focusing on a limited number of subject-discipline library resources and by referring students to additional resources described on print handouts. Librarians found that customizing instruction by searching with students’ topics, rather than by using canned examples, helped focus attention and increase the participation of the audience, and reduce lecture content in some cases. Technical writing instructors reported a positive relationship between library instruction and quality of citations in student reports. The program continues as a work in progress.


The goal for the library component of ENGL 3323 is to address the following:

1) Engineering faculty recognized that their students in ENGL 3323: Technical Writing needed an instructional component highlighting library resources because they were not locating the print and electronic resources that would yield the citations needed to round out the development of their papers. The same students displayed a deficiency in the skills needed to utilize the library effectively, specifically those pertaining to searching and using a variety of resources. The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology enrolls 3,500 of the 23,000 students enrolled at Oklahoma State University.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Ta, K., & Clements, H., & Drees, K. (2005, June), Creating A Library Instruction Session For A Technical Writing Course Composed Of Engineering And Non Engineering Students Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015