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Deconstruction Of An Engineering Syllabus For Information Literacy

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ELD Technical Papers Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.354.1 - 8.354.9



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Paper Authors

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Barbara Williams

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Paul Blowers

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

Session # 3441

Deconstruction of an Engineering Syllabus for Information Literacy

Barbara Williamsa, Paul Blowersb a University Library b Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering The University of Arizona


Information literacy skill sets provide the foundation for lifelong learning, and the desire to produce engineers with these skills has necessitated the collaboration between librarians and faculty to meaningfully integrate information literacy instruction into the engineering undergraduate curriculum. Two specific criteria of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) such as the ability to formulate problems, and knowledge of contemporary issues, rely on a student’s ability to locate and synthesize information in its various formats. Developing information literacy skills will allow students to exert more control over the structuring of their own learning within and beyond the classroom.

This discourse begins by examining some of the tangible and marketable benefits of information literate engineering students. This is followed by an examination of a successful collaboration between an engineering faculty and a librarian in the instruction of undergraduate and graduate students in becoming more information savvy. More often than not, students begin their research process by “surfing the net” yet the Internet appears to skew a student’s ability to discern between refereed and non-refereed materials. As faculty we have all found it disheartening to have students submit technical reports in which most of the citations are to web pages.

To highlight the need for incorporating information literacy into the engineering curriculum, we deconstruct an engineering syllabus and identify areas in several course assignments where information literacy can be interjected in a nonintrusive but highly beneficial way. We identify the components of information literacy that support and provide transferable skills to ensure that students are successful in future information seeking endeavors.


One purpose in writing this article is to advocate for the systematic inclusion of information literacy across the undergraduate engineering curricula in instances where it naturally fits in. We contend that the development of a skill set, which integrates both lifelong learning and information literacy skills into the engineering subject curricula as a pedagogical approach to learning, and not as a peripheral add on, enhances the overall

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Williams, B., & Blowers, P. (2003, June), Deconstruction Of An Engineering Syllabus For Information Literacy Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12497

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