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Examining In-Person and Asynchronous Information-Seeking Behavior Instruction Among First-Year Engineering Students

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Student Perceptions and Perspectives

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37118

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

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George James Lamont University of Waterloo

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George Lamont is a member of the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. George is one of many instructors who teach first-year communications courses to engineers and sciences, in addition to courses in writing and rhetoric.

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Stephanie Mutch University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6248-4309

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Stephanie Mutch works in Information Services and Resources at the University of Waterloo Library. Stephanie holds an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy from the University of Guelph and is an MLIS candidate at the University of Western Ontario (August 2021). Her research interests include social constructionism, interdisciplinary applications of critical social theory, and information seeking and evaluation.

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Chimdindu Ohaegbu University of Waterloo

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Chimdindu Ohaegbu is an undergraduate chemical engineering student at the University of Waterloo. She is a member of Waterloo iGEM, the University of Waterloo's synthetic biology design team. Her research and career interests include engineering education and biotechnology.

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Hamza Z. Butt University of Waterloo

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Hamza Butt is an honours legal studies student at the University of Waterloo. His other academic interests include biology, philosophy and religion. He is a researcher and writer for Lawyer-Ed, a legal publication. His research and career interests include medical law, legislation research, and engineering education.

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Kate Mercer University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6958-3396

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Kate Mercer is the Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences, and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Kate’s main duties include providing instruction and research services to students, faculty and staff. Kate graduated with a MI from the University of Toronto and completed her PhD at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. Most of Kate’s publication history revolves around how health and technology interact, and her current primary research focus is on how people are accessing, understanding and disseminating information in Engineering Education.

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Kari D. Weaver University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9389-7632

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Kari D. Weaver holds a B.A. from Indiana University, an M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Carolina. Currently, she works as the Learning, Teaching, and Instructional Design Librarian at the University of Waterloo Library in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Her research interests include co-teaching, information literacy perceptions and behaviors of students across disciplines, academic integrity, professional development education for librarians, and censorship.

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Abstract

This will be a complete research paper. The global pandemic has necessitated a rapid move online [1], [2], requiring educators to pioneer online instruction even as they deliver it. The extent and speed of the change have raised questions about the effectiveness of online instruction, and whether asynchronous online delivery best supports students with increased caregiving or other responsibilities. This shift has particularly impacted first-year programs, in which training engineering students to find reliable information is fundamental to their professional development and ABET and CEAB accreditation criteria [3], [4]. Engineering students must develop the capacity to research broad contexts informing engineering problems and emerging technical developments, and mirror the practice of working engineers when access to technical information changes after university. Typically, information seeking is taught in person so that instructors can directly observe and guide student behaviour. After a formal training session, students ask questions about search methods, need real-time assistance in interpreting results, seek advice about assessing credibility, and request guidance about recording their research. An instructor, sometimes with a librarian and teaching assistant, can move around the classroom, providing timely guidance. This practice is still evolving but is well-established by research. However, the effects of online information-seeking training and the impacts of the sudden transition on students’ learning are very poorly understood. There is limited information available about delivering information literacy for engineering students in online contexts, and much of the information is dated [5]. Even less is known about the use of asynchronous instructional methods, with existing studies focused on using pre-text and post-test methodologies [6]. This paper significantly enhances existing knowledge by directly comparing the efficacy of in-person and asynchronous online instructional modalities. Building on a data set of in-person instruction (Authors, 2020), we will examine moving this content online rapidly into asynchronous, electronic modules. By using pedagogical reflection and decision-making modeling, we will examine lessons learned with both modalities of instruction; this pedagogical reflection builds upon our previous work by measuring the outcomes of teaching a multi-stage iterative information-seeking unit online and comparing those outcomes to the same material taught in person in the previous year [7], [8]. For 90 students in a mandatory engineering-communications course, we deployed an enhanced online baseline-assessment exercise to understand students’ existing information-seeking behaviour and initiate the students’ design thinking. Librarians then deployed an asynchronous fully online lesson to teach engineering research practices, critical appraisal, and information literacy. Students submitted two additional scaffolded design documents in which they recorded their decision-making process in source selection. Finally, we evaluated the extent to which the online lesson impacted student information-seeking behaviour and compared it to the classroom version. The results have significant implications for the development of information-seeking pedagogy to meet U.S. and Canadian accreditation standards, and for the decision-making process to create asynchronous online modules that may or may not be paired with synchronous instruction to teach information-seeking behaviors to first-year engineering students.

References: [1] M. D. Miller, “Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start Getty Images,” 2020. [2] C. Hodges, S. Moore, B. Lockee, T. Trust, and A. Bond, “The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning,” 2020. Accessed: Oct. 09, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-. [3] A. Naz and M. Casto, “Bring best of two worlds in a software engineering class, student outcomes of Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) and information literacy standards of Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL),” in Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE, 2013, pp. 80–86, doi: 10.1109/FIE.2013.6684793. [4] S. Murphy and N. Saleh, “Information literacy in CEAB’s accreditation criteria: the hidden attribute,” 2009, Accessed: Oct. 09, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://qspace.library.queensu.ca/handle/1974/5171. [5] M. Phillips, A. Van Epps, N. Johnson, and D. Zwicky, “Effective Engineering Information Literacy Instruction: A Systematic Literature Review,” J. Acad. Librariansh., vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 705–711, Nov. 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2018.10.006. [6] Y. Xu, L. Dong, and T. Nawalaniec, “Enhancing Engineering Students’ Knowledge Of Information Literacy And Ethics Through An Interactive Online Learning Module,” in 2010 Annual Conference &Exposition Proceedings, pp. 15.510.1-15.510.8, doi: 10.18260/1-2--15812. [7] G. M. Sparks-Langer, J. M. Simmons, M. Pasch, A. Colton, and A. Starko, “Reflective Pedagogical Thinking: How Can We Promote It and Measure It?,” J. Teach. Educ., vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 23–32, Nov. 1990, doi: 10.1177/002248719004100504. [8] G. S. Parnell, P. J. Driscoll, and D. L. Henderson, Eds., Decision Making in Systems Engineering and Management - Google Books. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc. , 2011.

Lamont, G. J., & Mutch, S., & Ohaegbu, C., & Butt, H. Z., & Mercer, K., & Weaver, K. D. (2021, July), Examining In-Person and Asynchronous Information-Seeking Behavior Instruction Among First-Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37118

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