A first year engineering information literacy workshop to increase student awareness of research databases

Evie Cordell, Alissa P. Link Cilfone, Susan F. Freeman, Richard Whalen, Brooke Davis Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The goal of the library’s First Year Engineering Workshop series is to introduce new engineering students to key research resources at the start of their degree programs. The workshops were created in partnership with the First Year Experience and Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, STEM Librarian, Engineering Librarian, and the First Year Engineering Program.

With the introduction of a First Year Experience Librarian, the library saw increased capacity for instruction to first year programs. After outreach to the First Year Engineering (FYE) program, a collaboration was initiated to create a workshop building a foundation of information literacy skills for new engineering students. The workshops were offered in conjunction with an assigned research project to reach students at their point of need. Thirteen outside of class workshops were offered during the Fall 2018 semester, with required attendance for students of three FYE faculty members. Content of the workshops covered: navigating the physical and electronic space of the library, finding engineering research through engineering specific and science databases, and a brief introduction to citation managers. After the first round of workshops, FYE faculty received positive feedback about the library workshops from students. Students found that having the workshops scheduled around the start of a research project, in which they had to develop an informative presentation centered around a topic of interest related to their design team projects, was invaluable. Faculty noticed the quality of the research and presentations was notably improved over previous semesters when the workshops were unavailable. Faculty who attended the workshops themselves found the content to be a valuable addition to the curriculum. Based on this observation and feedback, the FYE Program elected to continue the workshops in Spring 2019 and further expand them for future academic years. In Spring 2019, the collaboration expanded to include students of four additional professors with a total of 329 students attending the workshops by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. In addition to program expansion, librarians also noted a 27.33% increase in the number of searches done in a database included in the workshop during the first year of the program (2018-2019) from the previous academic year (2017-2018). Database usage from Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 will be assessed as it becomes available.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the workshop added a new graded assignment and was opened to all eleven professors in the FYE program. Outside of class workshops and in-class instruction sessions were offered by a team of Research & Instruction librarians for all incoming 801 FYE students. Assessment questions added this year will be reviewed and discussed in the paper. Other outcomes to be reviewed will be the quality of research conducted by first year students assessed by their instructors. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and content of the workshop and how it was integrated into the FYE program. In addition, the paper will outline future changes to the workshops including managing scalability and incorporating new librarians.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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