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Information-seeking Behavior Among First-year Engineering Students and the Impacts of Pedagogical Intervention

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

The Best of First-year Programs Division

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

19

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34827

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34827

Download Count

200

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Paper Authors

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George James Lamont University of Waterloo

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George Lamont teaches Communications in the Engineering Profession at the University of Waterloo. George specializes in developing engineering-communications curricula with authentic, discipline-specific materials in partnership with engineering firms and clients.

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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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Rachel Figueiredo University of Waterloo

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Rachel Figueiredo holds a BA from the University of Waterloo and an MLIS from Western University. She is currently the liaison librarian for Engineering and Entrepreneurship at Waterloo. Rachel's research interests include core competencies for entrepreneurship librarians, research practices of engineering scholars, and how libraries can reshape their services in the world of information overload.

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

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Kate Mercer has been the liaison librarian for Systems Design Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo since 2015. 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 in 2011, andcompleted 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 primary research focus is on how people are accessing, understanding and disseminating information.

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Andrea Jonahs University of Waterloo

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Andrea Jonahs, Ph.D., MFA, is a lecturer at the University of Waterloo. She teaches professional communication to students in STEM fields.

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Heather A. Love University of Waterloo

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Heather Love is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), where she conducts interdisciplinary research on topics related to engineering, technology, literature, and culture. Her current book project argues that early twentieth-century experimental literature is an important part of the “cultural pre-history” of mid- and later-century cybernetics work. She teaches first-year communication courses to students in the electrical and computer engineering and the life sciences programs. She is also an elected Member-at-Large on the IEEE’s Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) Board of Governors, a position she has held since 2018.

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Brad Mehlenbacher University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7991-8508

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Brad Mehlenbacher is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Communication in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and author of the award-winning Instruction and Technology: Designs for Everyday Learning (MIT Press, 2010). He has published extensively on human-computer interaction, communication design, and online instruction.

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Carter Neal University of Waterloo

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Carter Neal is an Instructor in English at the University of Waterloo, where he teaches communications courses in the sciences and Engineering.

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Katherine Zmetana University of Waterloo

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Katherine Zmetana teaches Communications in the Engineering Profession at the University of Waterloo.
She has taught communications and technical writing in the health and science professions for over 20 years.

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Rania Al-Hammoud P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Al-Hammoud is a Faculty lecturer (Graduate Attributes) in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Al-Hammoud has a passion for teaching where she continuously seeks new technologies to involve students in their learning process. She is actively involved in the Ideas Clinic, a major experiential learning initiative at the University of Waterloo. She is also responsible for developing a process and assessing graduate attributes at the department to target areas for improvement in the curriculum. This resulted in several publications in this educational research areas.
Dr. Al-Hammoud won the "Ameet and Meena Chakma award for exceptional teaching by a student” in 2014 and the "Engineering Society Teaching Award" in 2016 and the "Outstanding Performance Award" in 2018 from University of Waterloo. Her students regard her as an innovative teacher who continuously introduces new ideas to the classroom that increases their engagement.

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Abstract

ABET accreditation criteria specifically require engineering students to demonstrate the ability to research broad contexts informing engineering problems and emerging technical developments to facilitate solutions. Such research fundamentally underpins engineering students’ ability to succeed in design projects, and this research is even more crucial to their professional activity. As a result, engineering programs incorporate diverse interventions to professionalize engineering students’ information-seeking approaches to filtering out unreliable sources and identifying credible ones. Programs generally assume that these approaches equip students for the information needs of engineering careers. However, relatively little is actually known about what first-year engineering students do when they seek information and whether interventions have any effect on this behavior. Recent research has demonstrated that professional engineers rely on professional networks and non-scholarly media for their information, and then invest heavily in resource evaluation to verify information and mitigate risks of error. Some emerging research suggests that engineering students may use similar strategies to seek information, but there is a lack of consensus about why first-year engineering students select certain sources and how they evaluate the credibility of these sources. To address this gap in understanding, we conducted a multi-stage reflective case study of 289 first-year engineering students’ information-seeking behavior in a mandatory engineering-communications course. We established the students’ baseline information-seeking behavior in a pre-research task, an engineering librarian conducted a workshop to teach engineering research practices, students submitted a design project with evidence of their research activities, and then we evaluated the extent to which course interventions had any impact on the students’ information-seeking behavior. Our results have significant implications for the design of engineering-design and engineering-communications courses in Canadian and U.S. engineering programs to meet the intent of accreditation criteria and the demands of engineering industry.

Lamont, G. J., & Weaver, K. D., & Figueiredo, R., & Mercer, K., & Jonahs, A., & Love, H. A., & Mehlenbacher, B., & Neal, C., & Zmetana, K., & Al-Hammoud, R. (2020, June), Information-seeking Behavior Among First-year Engineering Students and the Impacts of Pedagogical Intervention Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34827

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