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Jazzing Up Next-Gen Librarians for Freshman Engineering Instruction Delivery

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Foundations for Pedagogical Success

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

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Paper Authors


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 Engineering Librarian at WVU. 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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Chanelle Pickens MLIS, CA West Virginia University

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Chanelle Pickens earned a master's in Library & Information Science, with an Archives & Records Management focus, from San Jose State University in 2014 and a B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2004. As a Resident Librarian at West Virginia University Chanelle hopes to gain a "full spectrum" view of the WVU Libraries and to understand their place within the fabric of the campus community. Chanelle is using her time at WVU to encourage a mindful investigation of how both internal and external stakeholders define and utilize information centers in this time of rapid change.

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Robin A.M Hensel West Virginia University

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Robin A. M. Hensel, Ed.D., is the Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. While her doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on higher education teaching of STEM fields, she also holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics. Dr. Hensel has over seven years of experience working in engineering teams and in project management and administration as a Mathematician and Computer Systems Analyst for the U. S. Department of Energy as well as over 25 years teaching mathematics, statistics, computer science, and freshman engineering courses in higher education institutions. Currently, she leads a team of faculty who are dedicated to providing first year engineering students with a high-quality, challenging, and engaging educational experience with the necessary advising, mentoring, and academic support to facilitate their transition to university life and to prepare them for success in their engineering discipline majors and future careers.

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Mary L. Strife West Virginia University

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Mary Strife has been an engineering/sciences librarian for over 33 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. She served as Director of the Evansdale Library and Senior Engineering Librarian through October 2015. As of November, she became the Lead Administrator for Library Services, WVU Tech-Beckley Campuses.

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Mariam Jalalifard West Virginia University

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Jazzing Up Next Gen Librarians for Freshman Engineering Instruction Delivery

Librarians working with the engineering department enjoy a high level of contact, both in-person and online. This contact extends from faculty to students and adds value to course content while focusing on information literacy (IL) skills. Currently, librarians engage with students in three ways. First, they design and deliver an in-class session which covers the basics of databases, citations, and resource formats. Next, students are required to attend an in-library where they complete a five-part worksheet reinforcing much of what was discussed during the in-class session. Finally, students complete online quizzes and an Intellectual Property module.

Overall, students should benefit from this extensive librarian-contact and course content designed to improve IL skills. However, the delivery method for this content is both time intensive for librarians and disjointed for students. During the Fall 2015 semester, librarians visited 18 in-class sections over the course of one week. The library experience required 31 sessions over three weeks, with each session taking from 60 to 120 minutes. Though content delivered in both situations has been used previously, it’s specific to engineering and requires preparation. Students are receiving bits and pieces of information over the course of four weeks, which they are then expected to be able to put together as they work on class research projects.

Librarians, students, and faculty could benefit from a revamped program. Instead of delivering similar content in three different sessions, these can be narrowed down to one online course and one in-library experience. First, students would have the opportunity to complete an interactive online course designed to introduce IL and research skills, while encouraging an organic approach to the research process. This non-linear Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) embedded in Blackboard would help students develop appropriate skills, such as identifying information needs, efficiently utilizing library databases, recognizing the value of peer-reviewed resources, and most importantly understanding their positions as contributors and consumers in the scholarly environment.

There are two benefits to this approach. First, students would be required to complete the online course within a certain time period assigned by instructors. This teaches and reinforces the value of time management and planning, skills necessary for first-year student success. Second, a VLE designed to allow students to complete sections based on need and interest supports the way research is typically approached, as the research process is rarely linear.

The second part would be the in-person element, an experience designed to encourage peer collaboration. Librarians would facilitate discussion of skills learned online course and present real-life research questions for students to answer with their peers. Ideally, students would bring specific class assignments, allowing librarians to assist in real-time with relevant research questions. Additional teaching methods for incorporation include: ACRL IL Framework, ABET requirements, contemplative pedagogy, web 2.0 technology, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concepts.

Benefits of this teaching approach are numerous, however, designing and implementing a program of this style requires considerable time and resources. Librarians must collaborate with engineering faculty, campus IT, and other members of the libraries’ Research & Teaching unit to develop, test, and implement robust content. Once developed, content can be taught by any librarian with adequate review and preparation time. Following implementation it will be necessary to review and assess online and in-person elements and make required changes in a timely fashion. Ultimately this program will benefit all stakeholders, but only with adequate and sustained support.

Armour-Gemmen, M. G., & Pickens, C., & Hensel, R. A., & Strife, M. L., & Jalalifard, M. (2016, June), Jazzing Up Next-Gen Librarians for Freshman Engineering Instruction Delivery Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25504

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015