What Should Engineering Majors Know?
By the time they graduate all majors in Engineering should be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and use information effectively and ethically. Specifically they should be able to:
Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned basic information skills and be able to:
These skills may be regarded by all students as a base for further study. Help is available through the Smith College Libraries’ Ask a Librarian options.
At the end of the second year (completion of EGR 100 and a series of three to four 200- level classes including EGR 260) engineering students should be able to:
General News Magazines
1. Quick Search on the libraries' homepage
2. Education subject page: Engineering / Books & Media
3. Smith College Libraries Research (links to library catalog)
4. Research / Find Books & Media page
Engineering Village 2
Web of Science
1. Engineering subject page: Engineering / Articles
2. A-Z list: Research / Databases by Title
Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Q 130 .J68
IEEE Transactions on Education
Advanced engineering students should be able to:
In Which Classes Should Students Learn These Skills?
The Engineering Program proposes to incorporate information literacy into the following courses.
In addition, the engineering department works closely with students in conducting original research. Students may work in faculty labs or, with faculty approval, initiate an independent research project. In both of these instances students are routinely asked to conduct literature searches in order to contribute to the research enterprise. Students who work with faculty on research often enroll in Engineering 400 (Special Studies) or Engineering 430d (Honors Thesis).
In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?
Students in EGR 100 normally do the College-wide plagiarism challenge quiz and receive instruction from a College librarian about using engineering sources appropriately. Students incorporate this in a semester-long project, for which they must conduct background research using peer-reviewed and other literature. Furthermore, students are introduced to issues in the presentation of visual information through a case study such as the Challenger accident and through numerous oral presentations and written reports throughout the semester.
Students in EGR 260 engage in a semester-long life-cycle assessment project which entails the construction of an annotated bibliography and a reflection evaluating the sources, which are required to include peer-reviewed work, patents, and other sources. Students also learn the basics of data presentation and the ethics of citing sources appropriately. In EGR 270, students produce an educational video about motion. To do this, they must find relevant information, evaluate its quality, and cite it ethically.
In EGR 220 and 273, students engage in laboratory work in which they plot data and discuss the results.
In advanced courses, students complete projects and term papers where sources reflect the use of a variety of engineering sources, including peer reviewed journal articles. Students should be prepared to defend the validity of sources cited. For example, in EGR 373, students write a 20-page term paper on a research topic of interest to them in the field of orthopaedic bioengineering, based on peer-reviewed publications in the medical, basic science and engineering literature.
In EGR 410, students prepare multiple formal written and oral reports about their team-based design projects that include (1) discussion and understanding of relevant background research (2) technical documentation of the students' designs and design process, and (3) visual presentation of design results. They deliver the written reports to their sponsoring organizations, and present their work orally to a wide audience, including students, faculty, alumnae, and practicing engineers. Students complete individual assignments based on readings or case studies that require analysis, reflection, and citation of external sources. Students conduct patent searches of technology connected with their design projects. Students also participate in discussions of engineering ethics, some of which address faulty communication and/or information.
Authorship - Students must learn how to make clear distinctions between received knowledge and the production of new knowledge. The ethical use of information means that students must be able to acknowledge when they incorporate the work of others into their own work. Therefore, every written or oral production in the discipline must clearly state its sources. This extends to visual information, written information, and data collections. This ethical issue will be enforced in all engineering courses at Smith College. Students should be able to identify when and how to acknowledge contributors to original work, awarding authorship and acknowledging other assistance appropriately.
Proprietary Information – Engineering students must recognize that information may be proprietary, have limited access, or require specific data management expertise. Students need to have an understanding of organizational structures involved in data production and management. Students should be able to discern a plan of action when they face a choice around divulging proprietary information in the public interest
Honesty in data presentation – Students must be able to recognize prejudice, deception or manipulation in data collection or use, ethical issues in data omission, and the need to present all information that is pertinent, without skewing or excluding data that impact an individual’s value system. Students should be able to recognize conflicts of interest and agenda-setting in the scientific establishment that determine (for example) which projects are funded, and use this information in evaluating scientific information.
Experimental Subjects – Students should be familiar with ethical issues, standards and process for data acquisition with human and animal subjects.
March 7 , 2007