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Welcome to the Real World: Showing the Value of Information Literacy Beyond the Classroom

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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

Information Literacy: Preparing Students for the Real World

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1676.1 - 22.1676.7



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Paper Authors


John B. Napp University of Toledo Orcid 16x16

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Associate Professor and Engineering Librarian, University of Toledo, since 2001.

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Welcome to the Real World: Showing Value of Information Literacy Beyond the ClassroomI worked for a several years as librarian for a consulting engineering firm before coming to the Universityof Toledo. There I would see engineers struggle to find information on their own before asking forassistance. It seemed to me that if student engineers could be given an assignment that mimicked whatthey would be doing as working engineers they would see the value of those skills. I have been lookingfor an opportunity to try such an assignment out on a class. Prior to the start of Fall Semester 2010 Iapproached the instructor for the EECS1010 Electrical Engineering & Computer Science First Year Designcourse about including an information literacy component. There were 120 students in this class.Students were given the assignment of identifying electrical and computer products that would allowsenior citizens with mobility, cognitive, or visual impairment to continue to live independently. Abibliography for the sources they used was to be part of the project to be turned in for a grade. Thepurpose of this component of the assignment is to introduce information literacy skills and to show howthose skills fit into the engineering design process. I gave a presentation to the class on library resourcesand citation guides. After the assignments are turned in students will be given a survey to assess theircomfort with finding information and their understanding of how information literacy fits into modernengineering practice. I feel that this project is significant because very few examples of an informationliteracy component as part of a freshman design class assignment can be found in the literature. Also,showing faculty how being able to locate and use information in engineering design is an essential partof ABET (k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary forengineering practice.

Napp, J. B. (2011, June), Welcome to the Real World: Showing the Value of Information Literacy Beyond the Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18605

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