Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Information Literacy (IL) instruction embedded into the engineering design curriculum can provide a framework for the development of critical thinking skills which are essential for students to master to solve open-ended engineering problems. At Wayne State University, a lecturer in biomedical engineering (BME) and a science librarian are collaborating in an ongoing effort to integrate IL instruction into the BME undergraduate design curriculum. The paper will provide a vision and rationale for integrating IL instruction into the engineering design curriculum, and discuss aspects of the Wayne State effort to effect this integration. A review of the place of critical thinking skills in learning theory will be presented, and student critical thinking skills will be discussed in the context of the engineering design process. The differences between a structured approach and the traditional (unstructured searching) approach to information gathering will be presented. We envision that an IL-integrated program will require the redevelopment of coursework to take advantage of the structured approach, and will also require methods of student assessment that are more appropriate to the evaluation of critical thinking skills. Examples of course activities and modules which force students to think critically about information sources, reliability and authority will be outlined. Finally, the challenges and barriers to the implementation of such a program will be discussed; these include developing library infrastructure to support the approach, and creating student assessment methods suitable for evaluating creative thinking skills.


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Curriculum and Instruction | Library and Information Science


Paper published in the Proceedings of the 2014 ASEE North Central Section Conference, held April 4-5, 2014, Rochester, Michigan, USA.