EMPHASIZING COMPREHENSIVE INTERNET-BASED RESEARCH SKILLS WITHIN ACADEMIC ENGLISH COURSES FOR ENGINEERING STUDENTS
Khalifa University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Developing comprehensive Internet-based research skills is invaluable for students at the university level. While the Internet allows easy access to vast amounts of information, it is important to challenge students to better utilize the range of direct sources available. To maintain an adequate level of academic standard, in addition to using university-subscribed academic databases, university students need to go beyond just gathering information from the general results pages of a now too common simple topic search in a search engine.
A set of tasks has been developed to help undergraduate Engineering students at an English-medium university in the UAE build critical Internet-based research skills with an emphasis on engineering and technology-related information. The tasks are designed to emphasize the depth of information that can be obtained through more specified searches than a basic key word search through a search engine, including information directly from various university research centers, engineering-related companies, and particular technology-related news websites. The tasks initially guide students toward retrieving specified information, but then become more independent toward the information they chose to focus on, thus allowing for differences in academic majors. The tasks were eventually a key element of gathering detailed information that would subsequently be required in written papers that focused on integrating information from multiple sources.
The presentation will display the set of Internet-based tasks used to develop better internet-based research skills in an undergraduate Academic English course. The first task focuses on obtaining statistical information from large, well-known international organizations, such as the United Nations and World Health Organization. The second task has students search and report on engineering-related research being carried out at various universities worldwide, specifically through the websites of university-based research laboratories. Another task focuses on retrieving information from engineering-related companies, particularly looking for information related to research and development within the company. The final task directs students to a select number of websites with news of current technology-related topics from which they need to identify five recent articles of interest to them, with the goal of having students become aware of credible websites of recent technology news and a starting point to develop a focused research topic.
Keywords: Internet-based research skills, Engineering.