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Embedding Information Literacy Within Sustainability Research: First Year Students’ Perspectives

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

A Challenge to Engineering Educators

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.478.1 - 23.478.13



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Paper Authors


Isolde Adriana Parker J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

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Adriana Parker was born and raised in Utah. She earned a bachelor of arts in English from Weber State University (2001) and a master of Library and Information Science from Drexel University (2007). She serves as the liaison to the English Department and coordinates information literacy instruction for the Engineering LEAP Program.

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Seetha Veeraghanta University of Utah

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Embedding Information Literacy Within Sustainability Research: First Year Students’ Perspectives  AbstractEngineering curricula have witnessed an expansion of its subject areas to include anappreciation of “realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political,ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability” [ABET 2011-2012].More than half of eleven ABET student outcomes focus on students’ abilities to viewengineering within a broader framework of a socio-economic-political matrix, with anemphasis on insightful understanding of the social and ethical consequences ofengineering and technology that they will, one day, design and create.In this paper, we present the argument that integrating theories and concepts of globalresource sustainability with information literacy instruction and a research project withina team work setting provides a successful model for first year students to comprehend thesocial and ethical implications of engineering and technology as a whole andsustainability principles in particular. This integrated approach, we argue, not onlyenables the students to better comprehend the ramifications of their chosen disciplines,but also enables them to engage with concepts of sustainability as an ethical prerogativeand succeed in their ensuing engineering education.We draw our inferences from our qualitative and preliminary quantitative assessments ofstudents’ performance through their written work and team research memos in LEAP1501 – Social and Ethical Implications of Engineering.” LEAP 1501 is a part of thefreshman learning cohort program [LEAP] at the University of Utah. Engineering-LEAP[E-LEAP] students produce one major research project in teams, based on the theme of“Exploring Sustainable Technologies,” worth 60% of their final grade. The project isprogressively constructed through smaller team research assignments given throughoutthe semester. Students, in teams, make five visits to the library during the semester. Inaddition, teams are also required to meet with their librarian once outside of theclassroom to address their teams’ research needs. When the program began 1999, themodel for instruction was the traditional lecture/demonstration approach. While therewere periodic revisions of the curriculum and pedagogy, consistent student feedback andassessments lead us to a significant redesign of our approach in the fall of 2010.Distinctions between information literacy assignments and substantive team assignmentswere removed. Research questions and information literacy concepts are seamlesslywoven within the progressively constructed team assignments where students, working inteams demonstrate their proficiency not only on their research topic, but also theirinformation literacy skills by reflecting on the process of research itself.

Parker, I. A., & Veeraghanta, S. (2013, June), Embedding Information Literacy Within Sustainability Research: First Year Students’ Perspectives Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19492

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