As Washington State University becomes increasingly interdisciplinary, the need is increasing for collaboration between librarians and instructors to introduce non-engineering students to technical literature. Understanding technical literature is challenging even for the very engineers who are versed in the vocabulary and procedures of their discipline. Hence, training non-engineer students to use this literature is a substantial challenge. Over the course of several years, the ACRL framework for information literacy in higher education has been integrated into the engineering curriculum. Over this time several core lessons have emerged: 1) understanding the role and significance of publication authority, 2) appropriate contextual use of the information, and 3) embracing the iterative nature of research. Transferring these lessons to non-engineering courses has been successful when working with an honors English course and an interdisciplinary Capstone Design course. Non-engineering students in these classes received basic information literacy training during the first year of coursework with potential for review in a non-engineering upper division discipline-specific course. Kolb’s experiential learning cycle was applied to the in-class instruction to appeal to multiple learning styles. Traditional information literacy instruction focuses heavily on the use of books, peer-reviewed articles, and newspapers while engineers typically rely on sources including patents, standards, and reports. Key findings include an essential focus on the different types of technical literature, authority, and discoverability when teaching technical information to non-engineering students. Using the ACRL framework as a guiding document for information enabled the incorporation of technical literature into the in-class assignments for non-engineers.
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