Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Engineering Information Literacy: Theory and Practice

Gaming Against Plagiarism: A Partnership between the Library and Faculty 
Amy G. Buhler, M. Leonard, M. Johnson and B. DeVane;
Problems with plagiarism at University of Florida prompted Buhler, et al to create a game to help students learn to avoid plagiarism. This project is grant-funded. Using ADDIE and instructional design principles, they constructed a project plan to create this game. Phase 1, content development has completed and now the librarians are in the design phase. Content-building team, Don McCade from Rutgers, a well known researcher on plagiarism in higher education, and others. Content is broken into 3 levels of understanding, based on six outcomes. Level one is foundation knowledge which is to identify major types of plagiarism, basic rules to avoid, and identify data fabrication and falsification. Level two explains consequences, three complexity. The design team, from digital design institute at UF.  The design team is developing small mini-games, incorporated into meta-game that will help students achieve the outcomes. Using Bloom’s taxonomy, game one will allow students to “identify,” two “manage,” and three an investigator will “argue” within a plagiarism mystery, thus using higher order skills.

Once the prototype is developed there will be a 3-week test cycle and librarians hope to do 3 test phases with end users. UF partnered with various institutions who will be using and testing this game within their courses over the next year.

Follow the progress of the game at {note: link doesn't work today so need to check on this}

See also Games in Libraries Blog for posts on education games in libraries, including some other examples of plagiarism games.

Finding Your Way around the Engineering Literature: Developing an Online Tutorial Series for Engineering Students – Janet Fransen

In order to reach graduate students at University of Minnesota Jan developed a series of online tutorials, “consumable and short bursts.” She wanted the students to have a compelling reason to do these tutorials so performed some citation analyses on prior student work at UM in order to make the case to students.

In selecting a tool, they wanted some interactivity and quizzing options so selected Adobe Captivate  and Audacity for audio recording. She created a template for the tutorial series and included information about subject librarian(s). Using engineering examples her citation research on electrical engineering peers, the tutorials are focused on graduate students information needs.

See tutorials at:

Collaborative Information Behaviour of Engineering Students in a Senior Design Group Project: a Pilot Study 
Nasser Saleh, Queens University

Assumption that info seeker is an individual, interested in looking at behavior of groups. Saleh wanted to find about collaborative information seeking.

See Dervin’s Sense-making Theory

Two case studies within 4th year design course, 2nd case study he did interviews with students.

For this pilot study, first interested in task formulation/initiation.  He surveyed students to understand clarity, interest in project, ability to find background information and so on. Students reporting that finding information for their project was an ongoing activity, which could be important for engineering librarians to be mindful of. Students reported using people as information sources (93%) such as client, instructor, and librarian. When asked for reasons for collaborative information seeking, complexity of project was one factor. Are students assigning roles? Almost 76% reported they are in order to increase productivity. They meet, split to search, then come back to reconvene to discuss findings.

See also Talja, Hansen "Information Sharing" chapter within Information Sharing in New Directions in Human Information Behavior Seeking (2006).

Keeping the Conversation Alive: Maintaining Students' Research Skills Throughout Their College Careers
Jay Bhatt with L. Milliken, L. Ackert, and E.J. Goldberg
At Drexel, Bhatt was teaching first year and senior engineering research skills, but there were issues with students retaining these skills. He wanted to find a way within their sophomore or junior year to embed information literacy. To intervene within the mid-academic career, Bhatt performed a careful analysis of the engineering curriculum and found that HIST285: Technology in Historical Perspectives was often taking by students in the junior year. Collaborating with the Humanities librarian and professors of this course, Bhatt was able to infuse IL into this course. For the final research assignment students needed to find scholarly sources, books, and primary historic documents. In the future these sessions will be recorded and made available online for students via Adobe Connect.

In the future they are considering a field trip to the Franklin Institute Museum can help students generate ideas for research on inventions or innovations.

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