Leeds Beckett University, 25-27 March 2024

Reading between the lines: Information literacy in engineering education standards

Presenter: Laura Woods
Start time: 10:40
End time: 11:10
Room: Law LG18
Chair: Jess Haigh


This presentation will compare the learning outcomes specified in the accreditation standards for engineering degree courses in the UK, with the competencies and knowledge practices outlined in two major information literacy frameworks: the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy (ACRL, 2016) and the SCONUL 7 Pillars (SCONUL, 2011).

For an information professional supporting engineering students’ development of information literacy, it is vital to understand what is expected of these students from the pedagogical and professional standards within their discipline. Previous investigations have found that academics in STEM disciplines do value information literacy (Guth et al., 2018), although the language used in documents such as the ACRL Framework may not reflect their disciplinary practices.

In the UK, higher education (HE) courses in engineering are accredited by the Engineering Council, using their Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP) standards (Engineering Council, 2020). A course meeting the AHEP standards is considered capable of producing graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills to succeed as engineers. These standards specify the need for engineering graduates to be able to "Select and evaluate technical literature and other sources of information to address complex problems" (Engineering Council, 2022, p. 33), however this is the only explicit mention of information use within the document.

This presentation has been developed as part of the scoping stage of a PhD study looking at the information behaviour of women engineering students. It will build on previous work comparing older versions of the engineering and information literacy standards (Bradley, 2013), and discuss how these frameworks have changed in the intervening years and the implications for information literacy teaching. The SCONUL and ACRL models have been selected for comparison with the AHEP standards as these are the two models on which IL teaching in the author's institution are based.


ACRL. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Bradley, C. (2013). Information literacy in the programmatic university accreditation standards of select professions in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Journal of Information Literacy, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.11645/7.1.1785

Engineering Council. (2020). The accreditation of higher education programmes (AHEP) (4th ed.). https://www.engc.org.uk/standards-guidance/standards/accreditation-of-higher-education-programmes-ahep/fourth-edition-implemented-by-31-december-2021/

Guth, L. F., Arnold, J. M., Bielat, V. E., Perez-Stable, M. A., & Vander Meer, P. F. (2018). Faculty voices on the Framework: Implications for instruction and dialogue. Portal : Libraries and the Academy, 18(4), 693-718. https://doi.org/10.1353/pla.2018.0041

SCONUL. (2011). The SCONUL seven pillars of information literacy: Core model for higher education. https://www.sconul.ac.uk/page/seven-pillars-of-information-literacy

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Leeds Beckett University, 25-27 March 2024

Leeds Beckett University, 25-27 March 2024