June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.646.1 - 13.646.8
Global Projects Preparation: Infusing Information Literacy into Project-Based Curricula
This paper describes how librarians at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) work with administrators and faculty of the Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division (IGSD) to ensure that students are prepared for real-world off-site projects. Information literacy (IL) skills carry over from the academic setting to professional and personal life. According to a recent report by American Association of Colleges and Universities information literacy is listed as an essential learning outcome in the area of Intellectual and Practical Skills.1 At WPI these skills become practice with the real-world projects undergraduate students perform as part of their degree requirements. Librarians partner with faculty to infuse these important skills for future engineers and scientists into the curriculum through a project experience completed during their junior year.
All WPI undergraduates are required to complete a team-based project that examines the impact of science and technology on society. The majority of students choose to complete their projects off-site in a wide variety of Project Centers around the world. Prior to going abroad students are enrolled in a seven-week Research Methods course. Librarians work with IGSD faculty to embed tutorials and team consultations into the course requirements. In 2006-2007 librarians met with 101 project teams and the program is part of all Research Methods courses. Student evaluations indicate that librarian involvement enhances their development of information literacy skills.
The Interactive Qualifying Project
All WPI undergraduates are required to complete two significant project experiences, an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), and a Major Qualifying Project (MQP), both equivalent in credit to three courses. The IQP is an interdisciplinary team project that helps students understand how science and technology impact society. The majority of students choose to complete their projects at a wide variety of Project Centers around the United States and the world at locations such as Washington, D.C., Namibia, Thailand, and Australia. Two-thirds of WPI students perform off-campus projects and over half travel outside the United States at least once. Off-site projects are fulfilled through a full time research project experience over a seven- week period, equivalent to one academic term. Global projects are coordinated by the Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division (IGSD). Faculty from all academic departments on campus participate and serve as advisors at one of WPI’s 25 project centers in 14 countries on five continents. Project sponsors include not-for-profit organizations, NGOs, and government agencies. Students and faculty work to provide these sponsors with sustainable solutions to local challenges. For example, in Thailand students have worked with the Bangkok Refugee Center, the Duang Prateep Foundation, the Office of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn, and the local office of UNESCO. WPI emphasizes an outcome-based education. WPI Undergraduate Learning Outcomes2 include ten specific items, two related to IL:
Drew, C., & Vaz, R. (2008, June), Global Projects Preparation: Infusing Information Literacy Into Project Based Curricula Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3738
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