June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.510.1 - 15.510.8
Enhancing Engineering Students’ Knowledge of Information Literacy and Ethics through an Interactive Online Learning Module
Enhancing information literacy and ethics awareness has long been recognized as one of the important tasks in engineering education. Current practices of fostering engineering students’ information literacy and ethics mainly include formal coursework on information literacy and the seminars given by subject librarians. However, few electrical engineering program core courses strive to enrich students’ understanding of information literacy and ethics in the teaching of their respective core contents. In this study, we explore an alternative to the current practices, which is the integration of information literacy and ethics training into core courses. Specifically, we developed an interactive online learning module on information literacy and ethics based on a seminar given by a subject librarian for electrical engineering in spring 2009. The module was delivered, as a course component, in two undergraduate and two graduate core courses in electrical engineering in spring 2009 and fall 2009. Participants were required to take a pretest on the knowledge of information literacy and ethics prior to the start of the module. In addition, they were required to take a posttest after their completion of the module. The effectiveness of this module on students’ knowledge of information literacy and ethics was evaluated by the analysis of pretest and post test scores.
Information literacy and ethics is a set of abilities requiring individuals to find information effectively, and use information ethically. The abilities to locate and use information properly are crucial for engineering students to complete their coursework, to perform their jobs in engineering, and to become successful lifelong learners. First of all, engineering students need the information literacy skills to conduct literature review for course projects, senior designs, and theses. Second, it is impossible for engineering students to get all solutions to engineering problems from their coursework. Instead, students must be able to find existing solutions or to create new solutions to specific problems from published literature, databases, and library. Third, developing information literacy skills will empower students to control their own learning within and beyond the classroom so that they will become lifelong learners1.
Information literacy and ethics is one of the important outcomes to achieve in engineering education. The expected student outcomes of Program of Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (PBEE) at Cleveland State University include (f) Understanding of professional and ethical responsibility; (g) Communicate effectively; (j) Knowledge of contemporary issues; (k) Use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools2. The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) at Cleveland State University also states that it is designed for students to acquire (c) the ability to access and use the literature in one’s field; and (d) the ability to communicate effectively3. Clearly, electrical engineering students are expected to be familiar with the current standards in information literacy4, to know how to use the particular library resources available to them, to be able to conduct integrative literature review, to cite
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