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Integration of Information Literacy Skills to Mechanical Engineering Capstone Projects

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Reimagining Engineering Information Literacy: Novel Perspectives on Integration, Assessment, Competencies & Information Use

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.998.1 - 26.998.22



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Paper Authors


Farshid Zabihian West Virginia University Institute of Technology

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Farshid Zabihian, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
West Virginia University Institute of Technology

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Ryerson University, 2011
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, 1998
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Amir Kabir University of Technology, 1996

Authored or coauthored more than 70 papers in Journals and peer-reviewed conferences.

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Mary L. Strife West Virginia University

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Mary Strife has been an engineering/sciences librarian for over 32 years, working at Cornell, Syracuse University, the University of Rochester, and SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica/Rome. She has been at West Virginia University for 20 years and currently serves as Director of the Evansdale Library and Senior Engineering Librarian.

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Marian G. Armour-Gemmen West Virginia University

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Marian Armour-Gemmen has been the Patent & Trademark librarian at West Virginia University Libraries since 2003. In this capacity she assists inventors throughout the state of West Virginia. She is also the bibliographer for Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering as well as for Civil & Environmental Engineering. Previously she worked as the head of the Physical Sciences Library and as an associate in the Government Documents department. She is a past president of the Patent & Trademark Resource Center Association. She holds a M.L.I.S. from the University of South Carolina, a M.A. from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. from Calvin College.

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Integration of Information Literacy Skills to Mechanical Engineering Capstone ProjectsInformation literacy is an important component for engineers, especially in their pursuit of life-long learning. Teaching engineering students how to search for information and use itappropriately should be an important part of every engineering design project. It has beenreported that design engineers spend about 30% of their time searching for information.Experience has shown that even senior level students have not received proper training, eitherdirectly or indirectly, in information literacy (IL). They usually search for information intuitivelyin inappropriate places. For mechanical and aerospace engineering students at this institution, theMechanical Engineering System Design I and II (MAE 480 and 481) courses are probably thelast opportunity to teach students about IL. Introducing information literacy into the curriculumof the senior Mechanical Engineering capstone project certainly assisted the students with theirresearch and helped them be better and more effective users of information. In this project,information literacy outcomes were added to the course syllabus and activities and assignmentswere designed to instruct to better select the best information for their projects and evaluateacquired IL- related skills. Three librarians, two of whom were at a distance, were integrated intothis course. The librarians guided the students across all facets of available informationresources including intellectual property. While the delivery for this particular class waschallenging: resources had to be adapted to those available at a different institution, one librariantraveled to the site, and the other librarian presented a lecture via ooVoo, these challenges wereovercome. The students’ feedback and course evaluation tools have confirmed an improvementin the IL-related skills in the students. The results of the post-test as well as student responsesindicate that the instruction was effective. Our hope is that other senior engineering designclasses will see it fit to bring librarians into the mix in helping students to “an understanding ofprofessional and ethical responsibility” as well as “a recognition for the need for, and an abilityto engage in life-long learning” (ABET standards f and i).

Zabihian, F., & Strife, M. L., & Armour-Gemmen, M. G. (2015, June), Integration of Information Literacy Skills to Mechanical Engineering Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24335

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