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Information Literacy as part of the Materials Science Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Teaching and Outreach

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.873.1 - 22.873.11



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Paper Authors


Mary B. Vollaro Western New England College

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Mary B. Vollaro is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Vollaro received her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, her M.S. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her B.S.M.E. at Western New England College. She has held engineering positions in industry (in particular, the materials science area) and was former Chair of the ASEE Materials Division.

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Information Literacy as part of the Materials Science CourseThe Materials Science course is taught at an introductory level to a vast majorityof engineering students at many institutions around the country. In one semester,it may be nearly impossible to cover all the information, with significant breadthand depth. To address this and give the students tools for lifelong learning, aproject is assigned to students that include a paper and a poster. To give studentsresearch skills above and beyond Google or Bing searches, an information literacysession is integrated into the course. The instructor and the librarian collaborate todevelop an exercise that provides the students with basic literature research skills,yet is focused on the outcomes required for this project. One of the two primaryobjectives in this collaboration with the library staff is to show students how to bemore effective researchers. The other is to have students prove to themselves thata focused and directed search with library resources and methodology is easierand far more effective than randomly searching the web. In order to assess theeffectiveness of this information literacy, the annotated bibliographies wereevaluated for diversity of reference material, type of resource, and frequency ofuse. Student surveys were also used to gage the impact on student’s past, present,and future habits, as well as possible effects on their lifelong learning. Questionsincluded personal comments on the sources of information which they selected,and insight on the value of the library session and the resources available throughthe library, including the personalized web page. The results yield continuousimprovements to the information literacy experience and provide the student’swith research skills for the future.

Vollaro, M. B. (2011, June), Information Literacy as part of the Materials Science Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18164

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