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ENGINEERING + INFORMATION LITERACY =ONE GRAND DESIGN Poster Presentation for the ASEE Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon June 13, 2005 Barbara MacAlpine Science Librarian Trinity University San Antonio, Texas
? WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? Trinity students carry out a mini-design project in their first engineering course. Students use Google to research their designs. Faculty are dissatisfied with students’ research skills. Students need to be information literate. Engineers need written communication skills.
LIBRARIAN TO THE RESCUE Activities • Meet students on first day of class • Provide 75-minute lecture/demo/learning activities on design resources and article analysis later in the semester • Attend student presentations of their design projects • Participate as an instructor on Blackboard page
CLASS PRESENTATION I WHAT’S MY PROBLEM? FUR all over the house!
DESIGN SOLUTION: A vacuum cleaner for pets
INTRODUCE RESOURCES • Databases Available from the Coates Library Home Page: http://lib.trinity.edu • Patent Information • Product Information • Design Sites • Standards [See handout for specific sources.]
GIVE STUDENTS A LOG TO RECORD THEIR RESEARCH STEPS AND RESULTS Log for Research on Design ProjectSources where I looked/Terms Searched/Results (Good, Bad, Useless) • Compendex • Applied Science and • Technology Abstracts • Other library database? • Patent Office website • Thomas Register • Google or other search engine • What source was most useful? • Other comments • Time Spent on Research:
CLASS PRESENTATION II COMMUNICATION EXERCISE Objective: Students will be able to assess written engineering resources in order to improve their own writing skills. • Class divided into four teams • Each group analyzed a sample paper (author and source not included) related to vacuum cleaners • Team reported back to class: • Purpose of paper • Potential audience • Type of publication • Author’s background and sex
SAMPLE PAPERS Sources include a popular magazine, trade publication, technical/scholarly journal, and a web page. “Hijacking Your Cute Little Vacuum Bot.” Popular Science “A Clean Sweep; Robotics Floor Cleaners …” Robotics World “Typical Household Vacuum Cleaners: The Collection Efficiency…” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Assoc. “Vacuum Cleaners.” www.ces.clemson.edu/courses/me221/
WHAT WORKED—AND WHAT DIDN’T?Student Evaluation Forms 2003 (excerpts from summary)
More From the Student Evaluation Forms[note statistical swing for final statement]
COMMENTS FROM CLASS EVALUATION FORMS WHAT WAS MOST HELPFUL? • Suggested techniques for research • Engineering database info • Showing the sites and how to search • Introduction to the library’s web site • How to find journals WHAT WAS LEAST HELPFUL? • Analyzing articles • “Dead end” searches • Compendex—doesn’t look worth the effort • Picture of the dog [though entertaining]
CHANGES IN 2004(resulting from student input) • Taught class in new facility with computers for all students • Developed a hands-on computer component • Dropped Compendex—not that useful for design literature • Emphasized usage of the Patent Office database • Graded students’ research logs • Broke class into smaller components: lecture/demo, hands-on activity, brief demo, group work • Kept the communication exercise (desired by the faculty if not the students), but explained its purpose more fully