STEM Librarians Collaborative 2021 Schedule

Day 1: Wednesday, July 21

(All times below in US Eastern Time)

11:00 Keynote

Beyond the Land Acknowledgement: Indigenous Language Revitalization, Student Activism, and Critical Theory in STEM Librarianship
Ginny Boehme, Science Librarian, Miami University; Stefanie Hilles Arts & Humanities Librarian Miami University

Abstract: Throughout their history, libraries have participated in white supremacist power structures that privilege white knowledge over that of other cultures. While humanities and social science librarians are becoming more active in decolonization efforts, STEM librarians can often feel out of place in these projects. However, STEM librarians are vital to include in these conversations, as STEM disciplines are well known for perpetrating and sustaining white supremacist cultures, especially in the historical over-representation of white men in their professional ranks and publications. One way that STEM librarians can do social justice work and begin to dismantle white supremacist culture is through indigenous language revitalization, which seeks to restore and preserve the languages and cultures of indigenous peoples. Through the lens of critical theory, this presentation will examine one such initiative at Miami University: a case study involving a collaboration between the library, the natural history museum, and a class of first-year student researchers. This class involved the researching and writing of museum labels, and focused on the restoration of an existing botanical exhibit, the “Tree Walk”. Aside from ensuring factual accuracy, the students were given wide latitude in the design and creation of the labels. As a group, they decided that the labels should incorporate, alongside the common and scientific names, the names of the trees as used by the Miami tribe, the indigenous peoples native to the lands upon which the university resides. The university has developed a strong relationship with the Miami tribe and together they have created an online dictionary of tribal words. While this dictionary was the project’s starting point, students quickly realized that many of the trees currently on campus are not native to the land and instead come from parts of North America that were home to other indigenous peoples. As this dictionary focuses on one tribal language, it is insufficient for highlighting the biodiversity of the trees on campus and the many different cultures that have traditionally relied upon them. Forced assimilation programs and the subsequent eradication of the languages and cultures of indigenous peoples have severely inhibited the creation of similar dictionaries, thus presenting significant challenges for the project and revealing the lasting effects of white supremacist culture. Using critical theory as a framework for this initiative not only illustrates the power structures that libraries must contend with today in order to be more socially just institutions, it also demonstrates how major gaps in the knowledge of other cultures are a serious impediment to comprehensive and effectual research. Moreover, critical theory, through its emphasis on power and power relationships, requires an acknowledgment of the forced assimilation of indigenous peoples and how language suppression was an effective genocidal tool. Indigenous language revitalization is one way that libraries can fight back. By creating programs, or supporting existing programs, that help revitalize indigenous languages and cultures, STEM librarians can lend their expertise to these vital and necessary undertakings.

11:45 Break

12:00 STEM Feast: Discussion Roundtables (Parallel Sessions)

Systematic Reviews

Conversation Convenors: Kate Ghezzi-Kopel Cornell University, Megan Kocher and Julie Kelly, University of Minnesota, Berkeley, Meghan Testerman Princeton University

This Feast features a discussion of evidence synthesis and systematic reviews. The conversation will be led by convenors with specialties in creating evidence synthesis training programs and how systematic reviews can be automated. If a highly structutred search is your jam then do not miss this Feast.

STEM Librarianship Certificate

Conversation Convenors: Brianna Buljung, Lisa Dunn, Emily Bongiovanni, and Joe Kraus Colorado School of Mines

For this Feast please join the creators of a STEM Librarian Certificate for a conversation about their course. They will have a conversation with you about why they created the certificate, the curriculur framework they developed, and you can help provide insights and ideas for inclusion too. If you really care about how librarians are taught to cover STEM then do not miss this Feast.

STEM Library Instruction

Conversation Convenors: Alyssa Young James Madison University

This Feast is all about instruction. Be it in the classroom or in the Zoom room, via pre-recorded video or via Canvas Module it all counts in this discussion. If nothing makes you haping than information literacy then do not miss this Feast.

12:45 Break

1:00 Lightning Talks

Using Gather.Town for a Virtual Poster Presentation Session with Undergraduate Students
Michelle Nolan, Chemical Sciences Librarian Marston Science Library, University of Florida

Abstract: Finding and making sense of a data set can be a daunting task for students. Thankfully, STEM librarians are here to help! This lightning talk will describe one STEM librarian’s experience of creating asynchronous instruction materials to help undergraduate biostatistics students find data sets to analyze for an independent research project. She will explain how this project came to be and describe her creation process for the lesson. The session will conclude with a consideration of how the librarian intends to improve and adapt this lesson for use in future semesters. Attendees will be able to view the final product.

Dabbling with Data: Connecting Biostatistics Students with Raw Data Sets
Elisabeth White, Science, Technology, and Mathematics Librarian Towson University

Abstract: Finding and making sense of a data set can be a daunting task for students. Thankfully, STEM librarians are here to help! This lightning talk will describe one STEM librarian’s experience of creating asynchronous instruction materials to help undergraduate biostatistics students find data sets to analyze for an independent research project. She will explain how this project came to be and describe her creation process for the lesson. The session will conclude with a consideration of how the librarian intends to improve and adapt this lesson for use in future semesters. Attendees will be able to view the final product.

International Students: Effective Engagement Strategies
Paula C. Johnson Associate Librarian University of Arizona

Abstract: This presentation will provide attendees with current data and information about international students in STEM fields participating in U.S. higher education. This overview helps contextualize the work of academic librarians engaging with this cohort. From this aerial view, I will discuss the framework I developed for connecting with international students before the pandemic, and how we pivoted post-pandemic. Successful cross-campus collaborations are shared, as well as library-centric engagement activities are described.

Predatory Publishing at the National Laboratories
Anya Bartelmann Astrophysics, Mathematics, and Physics Librarian Princeton University;

Abstract: Predatory publishing, a type of profit-driven open access publishing with minimal peer review or oversight, is a growing problem for scholarly communications in the sciences. This lightning talk briefly presents: the situation at the Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories regarding targeted outreach from these publishers, how researchers are both willing participants in publication schemes and victims, complications in international research collaboration due to increased rules regarding foreign government talent recruitment programs, and collaborative efforts between DOE Technology Transfer and Publications Offices at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Princeton University Library to educate researchers and staff on responsible publishing.

Challenging the Tech Narrative: Examining Sources in Foundational Computing Courses
Carmen Cole, Information Sciences and Business Liaison Librarian Penn State University

Abstract: Integrating social justice concepts and examples into foundational computing and technology-related information literacy instruction is essential for students to reflect on intersectional issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in society. For some students, encountering the material in these sessions may be their first consideration and engagement with social justice topics related to their discipline or in their overall education. Of particular importance is introducing students to the concept of deciding what voices to bring into the scholarly conversation through the critical examination of sources that they may have been encouraged to discredit in the past.

In this presentation, an academic liaison librarian to a computing-related college will share their experiences encouraging students to work on identifying potential authoritative bias when evaluating a variety of web-based and scholarly publications. Thoughts on advocating for open-web resource usage in foundational computing-related courses will be posed. Additionally, attendees will learn about the IF I APPLY source evaluation tool paired with an interactive activity employed by the librarian in instruction sessions to guide students through source examination.

1:45 Break

2:00 Short Talks

“It’s always been this way” is not the way to start a hiring committee meeting: Let’s overhaul how science librarian job postings are written
Wanda Marsolek, Engineering Liaison and Data Curation Librarian University of Minnesota; Joanna Thielen, Biomedical Engineering Librarian University of Michigan

Abstract: White dominant academic libraries have been brainstorming for decades on how to move past their historically monocultural staffing to a more diverse workforce. Very rarely do academic libraries’ staff mirror their students or communities. However, speaking words about the need to hire a diverse workforce does little if we do not revisit our existing hiring policies and practices which are exclusionary, elitist, and steeped in white supremacy culture. We argue that while diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) practices have been incorporated into many areas of academic libraries, the hiring process is not one of them. In order to quantify ways in which DEIA has not been integrated into existing hiring processes, we analyzed 48 job positions for engineering librarians (posted in 2018 and 2019) via deductive thematic analysis. We chose job postings because they are the part of the hiring process that we have access to and can provide a perspective on hiring across United States academic institutions. We looked for themes related to salary, education, and experience. For this presentation, we will focus on salary, which is a very tangible way that marginalized groups’ work is unfairly compensated. We found that only 33% of positions (n = 16) listed a quantitative salary value. We will present the salary range and median from our results.We cannot definitively say if our results are generalizable to science librarianship as a whole because so few job postings listed a quantitative salary value. We will also discuss education requirements that currently saturate job postings and will focus on the problem of requiring both the MLIS and an advanced STEM degree. Our study provides quantitative data and evidence-based recommendations that can be used to make DEIA an integral part of the hiring process. While this study focused on engineering librarian job postings, these recommendations are applicable to any science librarian job posting. We hope that presenting the results of our study motivates people to completely reevaluate how their institutions write job postings and, ultimately, the entire hiring process. Doing so will involve uncomfortable questions and conversations but nothing will change if these do not occur.

Librarian as Partner in the Development of a New Physics Course
Bonnie Fong, Physical Sciences Librarian Rutgers University-Newark

Abstract: Being familiar with the success of the chemistry seminar course on campus, the new interim department chair of the physics department wanted to develop a similar course for the physics department. He invited the physical sciences librarian to an initial joint discussion with the course instructor about how to design the course, which includes both undergraduate and graduate students. In subsequent semesters, the librarian continued to partner with course instructors to further refine the course to better meet the needs of the department and its students. This presentation will include a discussion on how these collaborations and the course itself has progressed, from course assignments to the exact content covered during library research instruction sessions. Examples of (graded) library exercises will also be shared.

2:40 How-To: Escape Rooms

Supporting community, creating study breaks and teaching information literacy to engineering students through an online escape room
Tracy Zahradnik, Engineering Librarian University of Toronto

Abstract: Pre-pandemic, the Engineering & Computer Science Library at the University of Toronto ran very popular in-library escape rooms every year which could attract more than 500 students in a single year. The purpose of these escape rooms was to have students take a study break, become comfortable with the library space, experience positive interactions with library staff, and the escape room storylines were infused with information literacy concepts for students to engage with.

When our doors shuttered, we converted our escape room concept into multiple synchronous Blackboard Collaborate sessions, where teams of engineering students could not only have fun experiencing an escape room in a breakout room with their team, but also engage in a friendly competition with other engineering teams across campus. More than 400 students participated in our online synchronous escape rooms. Additionally, we converted one storyline into an asynchronous escape room for students to explore on their own, or with a team, during exams to provide them with a free and fun study break option. Three escape room storylines were created, all infused with information literacy concepts, clues that had students practice search skills and information about library services that could help students find information for their assignments.

This Brief How-To session will start with a lightning talk that will explore what these in-person and online escape rooms looked like and some of the logistics to running them. Following that, attendees will get an opportunity for some experiential learning and will be put into breakout rooms with fellow attendees to try their hands at some escape room puzzles!

3:00 announcements and (optional) virtual social activities

Day 2: Thursday, July 22

11:00 How-to: Flipping the Classroom

Flip or Flop: Hybrid Teaching Strategies for 'Flipping' the Library Classroom
Sheena Campbell, Student Services Librarian University of California Davis

Abstract: Transitioning into the virtual learning environment during COVID-19 campus closures prompted many librarians to create a spectrum of asynchronous instructional content for our students. As we look forward to resuming life on campus this Fall 2021, many of us are wondering how to leverage these learning objects and our new content creation skills for in-person instruction.

A ‘flipped’ library classroom refers to an instructional strategy where traditional in-person synchronous components—lecturing and resource demonstrations—are instead accessed by students outside of the classroom asynchronously with the goal of devoting more class time for active learning and performance-based assessment.

This session will present examples of library instruction developed for undergraduate life sciences students using hybrid teaching strategies in the context of COVID-19 distance education—and how these lesson plans might be adapted for in-person instruction.

11:25 Short Talk

Designing an anti-racism staff workshop series: facilitating constructive discussions for actionable change
Kristen Greenland, Chemical & Physical Sciences Librarian, UC Berkeley; Erica Newcome, Technical Processing & Collection Projects Assistant, UC Berkeley; Susan Powell, GIS & Map Librarian, UC Berkeley

Abstract: How can we make our science libraries more explicitly and actionably anti-racist? The social movement that swelled across the country in summer 2020 prompted the Engineering & Physical Sciences Division of the UC Berkeley Library to consider this question and implement a team-learning program for fiscal year 2020/21. Three volunteers from the divsion—including library staff and librarians—designed a series of workshops to facilitate discussion on approaching our work in the library with an anti-racist frame.

The arc of the series was designed based on a division survey where each staff member answered questions about their past reading and what they would like to learn more about. The facilitators categorized the responses and looked for areas of interest that were focused on external (our users) rather than internal (our staff) audiences, and that could effect systemic rather than individual change. Based on this, we chose STEM library services, collections, and spaces as the general topic areas for the three workshop series. For each workshop theme we selected readings and discussion questions that would prompt our staff cohort to think deeply about what we know and need to know about our users, and about how we might use these self-reflective discussions to improve our services, collections, and spaces.

In this presentation we will give a brief overview of the workshop series, discuss what worked well and what did not, and share our division’s next steps. No one in our division—including the volunteers who created and facilitated the workshop series—are experts in anti-racism or DEI training. Given this limitation, we will talk about our process for deciding on topics and readings. We will also share our impressions of the landscape of anti-racism work in libraries. There are unique challenges to trying to create antiracist change in science libraries, particularly around science collections. In addition to challenges tailoring our workshops to science libraries, we also encountered challenges trying to find topics that engaged and intersected with the work of both librarians and library staff. For example, much of the discussion in existing literature around collections and anti-racism looks at issues of selection. We adapted the literature we collected to facilitate discussions that included input from both librarians and library staff on anti-racist practices in science libraries. We designed these workshops for our Engineering & Physical Sciences Division, but they can be adapted to other subject areas and library types.

11:45 Break

12:00 STEM Feast: Discussion Roundtables (Parallel Sessions)


Conversation Convenors: Sandy Avila and Ven Basco University of Central Florida, Ali Krzton and Liza Weisbrod Auburn University, Michelle Leonard, Kristy Borda, Claire Cahoon, Walt Gurley, and Natalia Lopez North Carolina State University, and Rebecca Kuglitsch, Emily Dommermuth, Julie Chen, Jessica Benner, Abbey Lewis, Matthew Marsteller, Katie Mika, and Sarah Young Colorado University, Boulder

This Feast will feature a wide ranging discussion of data and data management and libraries. The convenors have expertise in data management practices of graduate students in Civil and Environmental Engineering, fostering data and visualization skills in undergraduate engineering students, creating comprehensive data management workshops, and supporting start to finish data workflows. So, if you are a librarian who has questions about data or wants to be a part of a lively conversation about it this is the Feast for you.

Subscribe to Open

Conversation Convenors: Uta Grothkopf European Southern Observatory, Andrea Lopez Annual Reviews, and Charlotte Van Rooyen EDP Sciences

This Feast is all about the Subscribe to Open (S2O) model. The convenors make up both sides of the conversation, librarians and publishers. If you like to discuss how we can move the scholarly publishing landscape toward a more open system in a sustainable way you will not want to miss this feast.

Pan-STEM Librarianship

Conversation Convenors: Jenny Hart University of Chicago

This Feast is for all of you who want to have a conversation about what is the same, and what is different, across our many varied STEM Librarian positions. This could mean disucssing how collecting has now become a communal experience with all the big packages or how data science has started to act as a bridge between our many disciplines or even how M really should stand for medicine allowing for mathematics to finally go live with the artists like they always wanted to. If you want to talk both big and small picture STEM librarianship this is the feast for you.

12:45 Break

1:00 Lightning Talks

Licensing STEM resources: Issues for specialized sources and emerging research tools
Daniela Solomon, Research Services Librarian; Mark Lawrence Clemente, Scholarly Communications Librarian; Shelby Stuart, Electronic Resources Librarian, Acquisitions & Metadata Services, Case Western Reserve University

Abstract: License agreements for specialized information resources in STEM, such as datasets, and emerging research tools such as text/data-mining and APIs often differ from typical electronic content licenses in significant ways. These licenses present new challenges for academic libraries due to the many novel and unfamiliar elements specific to these sources and their use. Additionally, vendors for such resources may not always be acquainted with academic licensing practices and expectations. This presentation is a report on our investigation of current licensing practices for such resources and highlights the common issues and trends we encountered.

Job sculpting in the midst of organizational change
Kristen Adams, Science and Engineering Librarian; Kevin Messner, Head of Advise and Instruct Dept Miami University

Abstract:“Job sculpting” – matching employees to job duties consistent with their professional interests and strengths — in librarian positions can be a helpful practice for enhancing employee satisfaction and ultimately retention. Critically, it can also aid in meeting changing organizational needs by building new capabilities in employees. This presentation will document our recent experiences in sculpting our STEM librarians’ positions in the midst of broader organizational changes. Our library underwent a re-organization in 2017; STEM librarians who were previously organized under a facilities-oriented branch library model, moved into a department including all subject specialist, research, and instruction librarians across all subject areas. At the same time we brought together responsibilities for previously discrete subject areas (e.g. geology, chemistry, sociology, history, music) towards increased shared responsibilities under three broad banners of STEM, Social Sciences, and Arts & Humanities. This milieu presented new opportunities for subject librarians both to collaborate across disciplines and also to share and divide responsibilities in new ways. More recently, in 2019, there was mutual interest amongst STEM librarians in specialization of one librarian’s role towards teaching, and another towards collections; this provided an opportunity for job sculpting and sharing responsibilities across disciplines. Additionally, each of our STEM librarians have devoted a portion of their time to learning data management skills and taking on teaching and research support roles related to data, as a reasonable extension of duties. For job sculpting to be successful, it requires flexibility and interest in learning new skills on behalf of the librarians, and careful construction of duties from management to foster overlap of competencies and avoid single points of failure. The presentation brings perspectives of both a librarian and a supervisor to these issues.

Engaging STEM researchers with Special Collections
Emma Sarconi, Reference Professional for Special Collections; Meghan Testerman, Behavioral Sciences Librarian, Princeton University

Abstract: When we think of the many ways that academic libraries support STEM researchers, we tend to think about libraries providing access to scientific journals and e-books, supporting research data management and open science practices, becoming embedded in the research lifecycle, and offering cutting edge technology in makerspaces.

We seldom think of Special Collections as a library unit that could provide support to STEM researchers and their needs; to which we would like to offer a conterviewpoint— one in which we do not think of Special Collections as serving research needs and outcomes, but rather as an entity that can provide opportunities for enrichment, inspiration, historical perspective, and appreciation for one’s field through the materials found in Special Collections.

We will present three examples of ‘interactive exhibits’ for STEM users from Princeton University’s Special Collections and Rare Books and discuss successes, challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for future STEM outreach programming in Special Collections.

Supporting Science and Engineering Faculty during the Pandemic for NSF and NIH Grant Proposal Submission Requirement
Yuening Zhang, STEM Librarian, Kent State University

Abstract: SciENcv (Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae) is the biographical sketch required for all National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals and current and pending support submitted on or after October 5th 2020. The presenter will talk about her work on promoting ORCiD and then linking ORCiD profile with SciENcv account through the Digital Scholarship Series at her library. She also collaborated with the Office of Sponsored Programs at her institution to support faculty members creating their SciENcvs through individual online meetings and online presentations during this pandemic. More federal funding agencies are adopting SciENcv to document foreign influence in research. The presenter will share her experience and lessons learned so other STEM librarians can be prepared to support their own faculty members as needs arise. Supporting for SciENcv looks like an underserved area in libraries and offers a new opportunity for outreach.

Piloting a Virtual Orientation Space for New Interns with Perseverance and Ingenuity
Taylor Johnson, Assistant Director; Emily Vorhies, Electronic Resources and Cataloging Librarian; Jonathan Beeker, User Services and Research Librarian, United States Environmental Protection Agency Library at Research Triangle Park (EPA-RTP Library) UNC Contractors

Abstract: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Library in Research Triangle Park, NC is staffed under contract with the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science. Under this partnership, the library is home to an internship program serving graduate students of UNC’s and neighboring North Carolina Central University’s library schools. EPA-RTP Library began offering virtual services to patrons in Spring 2020 and the graduate students were able to continue in the program remotely while completing their degrees. Then in Fall 2020, the library was faced with the task of onboarding new interns remotely while staff were still adjusting to teleworking for the first time.

Onboarding and training historically consisted of about two weeks of orientation, reading printed manuals and textbooks, and side-by-side training between the new intern and their supervisor. Among other challenges of bringing in new employees to a government science library, EPA-RTP Library had no previous framework in place for virtual training and had only recently acquired Microsoft Teams. In a very short amount of time, several staff members collaborated to build a Microsoft Team providing a dedicated virtual space for meetings, posting materials, and tracking tasks. Interns spend the first week getting acquainted with the organization, the science behind our work, the tools we use, and each other in the Library Orientation channel. After that, some move on to be cross-trained in channels where they will learn platforms like ILLiad, our library chat, our Reference Tracking Database, and our Online Library System (OLS). Others move on to channels dedicated to their rotations where project files and meetings can continue to be hosted. A plethora of media formats and a combination of library-created, free, and subscription-resources are used to meet a range of learning styles. This lightning talk will provide a tour of the training space, share feedback received, and discuss ideas for future improvements.

1:45 Break

2:00 Short Talks

Lowering barriers through open education in an online large-enrollment course
Hillary Fox, Collections & Research Librarians for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Megan Lupek, Director, Environmental First Year Program Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources College of Natural Resources, NC State University

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced higher education to significantly address already existing barriers and social inequities with how students engage with an online learning environment. Making courses “open” has been one approach in assisting with social justice issues for students’ participating in online courses. Collaboration between librarians and academic teaching faculty has become an increasingly important relationship when integrating open education resources and pedagogy in the classroom. Since librarians have the skillfulness in navigating OERs and instructors have the subject expertise, this is an ideal partnership to help courses become more equitable for students.

This presentation will provide an example of how one University library collaborated with an environmental science instructor to make a large enrollment, distance education course open. We will talk about the process of transforming the course to be open and highlight why this is especially important during the pandemic. We will also discuss a survey tool for measuring student perceptions of OERs within an online course.

This presentation is unique in that it will contain insights and experiences from a librarian and an environmental science professor. With this combined perspective, attendees will benefit by learning more about what library support for OERs can look like as well as how academic instructors are engaging with and measuring student perceptions of open materials within the classroom. As more courses move forward with a remote learning option, this session can provide a practical approach for how libraries and instructors can work together to support equitable learning as we move to a post-pandemic climate. By providing an assessment tool, attendees will have the option to implement the survey at their home institution.

New SciComm Services for Researchers: Knowledge Translation, Public Relations, or “Predatory” Publishing?
DeDe Dawson, Science Librarian University of Saskatchewan

Abstract: Like many science librarians I regularly receive concerned emails from faculty asking whether certain publishers or journals are “predatory.” In recent years however a growing number of these inquiries have been regarding what seems to be a new form of publisher seeking to promote the work of scientists… for a fee. They offer the science communication (SciComm) services of professional writers to create high-quality, magazine-style articles on the scientist’s research in accessible language for a general audience. Additional services may include glossy brochures with graphic designing, website production, social media marketing and promotion, and even podcast episodes discussing the research.

Faculty encountering these publishers are understandably wary. There has been extensive concern and discussion in academia about so-called “predatory” publishers for the last decade, so much so that any unfamiliar publishing model is treated as suspect - especially those sending unsolicited emails and asking for publishing fees. However, the entities I have investigated appear to be offering a legitimate service with transparent costs. But what needs the service is fulfilling, and what the motivations of their clients are, is debatable. Is it for knowledge translation or mobilization purposes (increasingly required by funding agencies)? Is it for increasing the reach or impact of a researcher’s work? Or is it driven by vanity or ego?

In this session I will introduce several examples of these publishers, discuss their business models and the services they offer to clients…and what the potential motivations of their clients may be. My goal is to raise awareness among STEM librarians about this new kind of publishing service so that they are prepared to respond should they receive similar concerned emails from their science faculty!

Information Literacy in a Engineering Design Active Learning Assignment
John Napp, Associate Professor & Engineering Librarian, University of Toledo

Abstract: This presentation will describe a collaboration between an engineering librarian and faculty in engineering and education colleges. In the summer of 2019 an engineering librarian and mechanical engineering technology faculty discussed how to demonstrate to undergraduate engineering students how information skills are an essential part of the design process. In Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 semesters a problem-based learning project was developed for a senior-level Applied Fluid Mechanics course requiring students to work in teams to design a HVAC system and included an information literacy component to encourage the information seeking behavior needed to solve real-world problems. Student teams were to use information literacy skills to find relevant standards and codes for their written report. The librarian developed a LibGuide and did a live presentation the day the assignment was given. The student teams shared their design to the rest of the class in online presentations.

A Final Project Survey was used to assess students’ experience with this project. Questions 1 to 3 targeted the students’ information literacy and their experience accessing the required technical information either through the library or online platforms. The remaining 3 questions focused on the overall experience with this project. The respondents generally reported positive outcomes with the project especially in terms of improved content knowledge (Mean = 1.32, SD = 0.48) and communication skills (Mean = 1.68, SD = 0.70). It is important that students did not access the library as frequently as hoped (Mean = 2.48, SD = 0.68) with about 50% of the responders rarely accessed the library before such PBL activity. However, the use of the LibGuide supported their library skills (Mean = 2.00, SD = 0.58). A successful completion project, the students were required to submit through the Blackboard site four cumulative assignment project required the submission of the following five assignments to the Blackboard site.

  1. The Project Overview (10 points). This included: title page and project participants; the problem situation/scenario; supporting references and citations and, room / space layout.
  2. The initial draft of Proposed Solution Note (50 points). This included: a description of the proposed solution including the key components, fundamental principles, and specific steps to solve the problem.
  3. Evaluation for Proposed Solution and Recommendations (20 points).
  4. Live Online Presentations of Proposed Solutions using the WebEx platform. (25 points)
  5. Final Report submission (5 points), due November 25.

The project score on assignment 5 aligns with ABET Criterion 3, SLO (1) “an ability to apply knowledge, techniques, skills and modern tools of mathematics, science, engineering, and technology to solve broadly-defined engineering problems appropriate to the discipline”, with SLO (5) “an ability to function effectively as a member as well as a leader on technical teams”, and with Criterion 5, Outcome (E) “Include topics related to professional responsibilities, ethical responsibilities, respect for diversity, and quality and continuous improvement” and Outcome (C) “Develop student competency in the discipline.”

3:00 Announcements and optional discussion of the future of the STEM Librarians Collaborative

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