Metaliteracy Book Published by ALA!


Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners

New Metaliteracy Book

Our new co-authored book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (April 2014) has been published by ALA Books/Neal-Schuman!  The book features seven chapters that range from theory to practice, expanding the concept of metaliteracy with an emphasis on metacognition, exploring current trends in social media, describing the learning objectives required to support metaliterate learners, and analyzing global trends in emerging literacies.  We also present the results of a preliminary survey about metaliteracy and related issues, and then close with two case studies from our own teaching in the classroom and online.  The book includes visual models of the metaliteracy framework and the metaliterate learner and several figures in support of our survey chapter.  Sheila A. Webber, Director of the Centre for Information Literacy Research at the Information School, Sheffield University wrote the Foreword to the book.  ALA is currently providing a sample of the book and Facet Publishing is distributing the book internationally.    The new publication is also available via Amazon and other online booksellers.  The official press release from ALA Publishing is available as well: Using Metaliteracy to Empower Learners.  We are excited about the new book and appreciate all of the interest that has been expressed in the metaliteracy model.  We look forward to continuing the conversation now that the book is officially available!  Feel free to post comments about the book via this blog or Twitter using #metaliteracy.  We will be discussing the book as part of our upcoming keynote presentations and can’t wait for the dialogue about these ideas!  -Tom and Trudi

NMC (New Media Consortium) Horizon Report 2014 for Higher Education and Metaliteracy

The NMC Horizon Report 2014 Higher Education Edition has been released, focusing on higher education technology adoption. In this document, they identify 

  • Key trends accelerating higher education technology adoption
  • Significant challenges impeding higher education technology adoption
  • Important developments in educational technology for higher education

Each category includes 6 items, divided into short-, mid-, and longer term time frames. As an example, the key trends that they identify in accelerating higher education technology adoption are:

     One to two years

          the growing ubiquity of social media

          integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning

     Three to five years

          rise of data driven learning and assessment

          shift from students as consumers to students as creators

     Five or more years

          agile approaches to change

          evolution of online learning

There are striking connections in this list to metaliteracy. Metaliterate learners will be prepared for, and able to succeed in, situations that develop as a part of these trends. 

The section on important developments in educational technology also includes issues that relate very strikingly to the metaliteracy badging system that is under development, including the flipped classroom (I’ve been using a number of the quests and challenges as outside work for my courses, and this strategy has radically changed both student reception and understanding of the material, and my ability to teach beyond basic concepts) and games and gamification. 


When a Small Group Traverses a MOOC Together

[When members of the Metaliteracy Collaborative became aware of the Incredibly Small Face to Face Community at The Ohio State University focused on the Metaliteracy MOOC, we asked Beth Black, Brian Leaf, and Karen Diaz if they might want to write a post for this blog. We are delighted that they were interested.]


When I saw the announcement for the Metaliteracy MOOC on the ILI (Information Literacy Instruction) mailing list I had just failed to complete the Forecasting Next Generation Libraries course-ference []. I had also just recently read Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey’s article Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy and was intrigued because it seemed to bring together many things that are happening simultaneously in the field. I knew that I needed to participate in the Metaliteracy MOOC but that I had to do something to help me stay engaged with it in the face of so many other demands on my time and attention.

I am exceptionally fortunate to work with a group of colleagues who are passionate learners, educators and librarians. I knew that if we could share the experience of the MOOC, I would learn more and be more likely to finish. So I forwarded the Metaliteracy MOOC announcement to several colleagues, adding “I am interested in this and think it might be good to study this in a group. Anyone interested in participating with me? I think we might be able to meet for lunch regularly during the MOOC to discuss or even watch some of the lectures together.” My invitation was warmly received and five of us initially met (four continued until the end). We determined that we would meet between the MOOC’s scheduled live sessions (approximately every other week) over our lunch hours to discuss what we learned. Now we had scheduled appointments and each other to keep us going.

After our first meeting, Brian Leaf suggested that we join the broader conversation by blogging. He blogged on his personal blog [] while the rest of us took turns writing for our Information Literacy Toolkit blog []. The combination of the regular meetings with colleagues and writing for the blog kept all of us engaged. And best of all, it benefited not just me and the other members of our Incredibly Small Face to Face Community  (ISFFC) but others in the MOOC with whom we interacted as well.


The major difference between participating in the Metaliteracy MOOC and my other failed attempts at MOOCs has been the ISFFC meetings coordinated by Beth Black. In order to stay on top of our discussions, I relied heavily on the live session chat backchannel, blogs and tweets of other participants. By engaging others in dialogue, I was able to increase the depth of my understanding of Metaliteracy content and concepts. In fact, I find that I am still tweeting ideas and articles using hashtags that came out of particular sessions (i.e. technobiophilia).

While I didn’t always do a good job of recording where particular things came from as I haphazardly copied-and-pasted text, these bits of dialogue can stand alone:

On metacognition -


12:46 PM
metacognition would be difficult, and probably important for someone say, on the autism spectrum to achieve. I keep thinking of it in terms of people with Asperger’s, a need for, and difficulty accomplishing metacognition as well as a lower EQ/EI

On what isn’t storytelling -

12:07 PM
even rocks tell a story

On openness -


There were, of course, many compelling statements that are too numerous to mention; but suffice to say, this format provided an avenue that I preferred given time constraints. And then the opportunity to participate in different ways meant that our contributions to our in-person discussions would be varied. There’s a blog post I’ve since lost track of that discussed how the success of this MOOC might be measured. While I haven’t spent much time thinking about this in particular, I do believe that the fact that our small community stayed engaged to the end speaks volumes because, in the end, it’s about people.


For me, the most useful parts of the ISFFC were both the summaries of what happened online that I missed as well as some of the tangents that we took in our discussions.  For instance, on the day that the MOOC explored the role of Scholarly Communication in metaliteracy, one member of our group still felt sort of fuzzy on the connection.  I had read the ACRL publication Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy and attended a session of it at the 2013 ACRL Conference last spring.  Weeks before that white paper came out I had already approached our librarian in charge of library publishing about that very issue, and indicated that she needed to not only be developing our publishing program, but also contributing to our information literacy instruction. I had done a lot of thinking and processing of this issue before hand and thus I was able to give a practical and down to earth explanation that I think helped my colleague, but also helped me articulate some of what had been spinning in my head for months.

Another tangent we took on another day was a discussion of teaching strategies. In particular we were talking about holding students accountable to a certain level of understanding, description and application of information literacy concepts in our credit courses. One librarian was shocked when a student questioned why she removed points on an assignment, declaring that her standards of good were not the same as his.  This led to a discussion of power differentials in teaching, and questioning of how “harsh” we should be with students in the grading of our classes.   One of our colleagues shared a story about watching an HBO series called Masterclass.  She indicated that the students in these series were bright, dedicated and talented teens and young adults who “won” the chance to learn from a true master. Most of the masters took a nurturing approach to teaching establishing positive relationships with their students.  However, one master yelled at his students when they were wrong.  But interestingly, the students in that instance found the correction very helpful and still learned from it.

There were other times we talked about whether the definition of metaliteracy being presented on a given day seemed too far of a stretch.  For instance, the technobiophilia concept veered too far for me. It felt like a disorienting conversation and somewhat of a stretch for everyone, although a couple in our group could grasp it better than I did. (I laugh now to see Brian continue to use the hashtag.) Questioning and discussions like this helped me in particular think about where the edges of metaliteracy lie.  It also made me wonder when the mix of literacies is helpful and when will we need to separate concepts out again.

It seems to us there is room for ongoing conversation about the topic. The Metaliteracy MOOC began some wide-reaching discussion and gave language to many ideas. Our ISFFC helped us begin some internal conversation using that language.

Developing Metaliterate Learners: A Rousing SUNY Conversation in the Disciplines

The December 17 and January 12 posts here on this blog discuss and link to materials from an event held on Friday, December 13,  when approximately 50 librarians, faculty members, instructional technologists, and others gathered together for a SUNY grant-funded Conversation in the Disciplines. It was entitled Developing Metaliterate Learners: Transforming Literacy Across Disciplines. There were lots of “aha” moments. One that really struck a chord was a comment by Rick Fogarty, Associate Professor of History, on the morning panel.  He mentioned that the Greek meaning of “meta” is “after,” although it is used in a somewhat different manner today. He pointed out that metaliteracy is what comes after literacy, which gives us much to mull over. These pictures perhaps convey the energy of the event. (Thank you to Ashley Smolinski and Kelsey Moak, event photographers.)

Photo by Ashley Smolinskli

Irina Holden, Deborah Bernnard, Tor Loney


Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson


Carleen Huxley, Mike Youngs, Rick Fogarty

Attendees at the Conversation in the Disciplines

Attendees at the Conversation in the Disciplines

IMG_4922Michele Forte introducing the afternoon reaction panel: Tor Loney, Ashley Smolinksi, Karen Mahar, and Paige Jaeger

Randy Hensley, afternoon keynote speaker

Randy Hensley, afternoon keynote speaker

Metaliteracy Presentation Videos Now Available via ESC-TV

As part of our SUNY wide Conversations in the Disciplines event hosted at Empire State College, we recorded the keynote presentations and panels. These videos are now available via ESC-TV and include the morning keynote presentation by Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson, entitled Developing Metaliterate Learners: Transforming Literacy Across Disciplines.  We also feature the morning Reaction Panel with Richard Fogarty, Carleen Huxley, and Michael Youngs.  The afternoon sessions are also available, including the keynote presentation by Randy B. Hensley and Reaction Panel: Brian Morgan, Paige Jaeger, Tor Loney, Karen Mahar, Dave Brown, and Ashley Smolinski.  All of the videos are available at Metaliteracy Conference 2013.

Metaliteracy Discussed at Westchester Library Association Mid-Winter Conference 2014

Tom Mackey presented on the topic Promoting Access for All with Open and Online Learning at the Westchester Library Association Mid-Winter Conference at The Gateway Center at Westchester Community College.  The theme of this year’s conference explored distance education and also featured Linda Braun, youth services Manager for Seattle Public Library, and keynote speaker Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times and commentator for NPR’s Weekend Edition.  The one-day conference featured Linda Braun’s use of Google Hangouts, Tom Mackey’s discussion about open and online learning, MOOCs, OERs, and Metaliteracy and Joe Nocera’s keynote about digital privacy.   This is the complete PowerPoint presentation by Tom Mackey:

New Issue of Communications in Information Literacy: A Refection on the Standards


Cover image of CIL 7.2

Cover image of CIL 7.2

The new thematic issue of Communications in Information Literacy is out!  It is called Reflecting on the Standards, and the 15 articles that it contains reflect a range of viewpoints and focused interests. The image of Janus on the cover is particularly apt, as the pieces look back to the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards published in 2000, noting both the good and the not so good about those standards, and forward to the new model currently under development. The authors express hopes and potential concerns about the new framework. And some offer sage advice: the two introductory paragraphs in Benjamin Harris’s The New ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards: Revising Reception are particularly thoughtful in this regard.

This issue contains articles by a number of well known individuals in the field. These include Carol Kuhlthau, Stanley Wilder, and Patricia Iannuzzi (who chaired the group that developed the 2000 Standards). Some of the 15 articles use the Prospectus for Revision that was issued by the current Task Force to try to determine what might or might not be included in the new version. This was an early document, and does not fully capture current discussions. The draft will be available for review in mid February.

We were delighted to find that our contribution, Proposing a Metaliteracy Model to Redefine Information Literacy, was selected as the lead article. We encourage you to read it, and all the articles in the issue. Speaking of which, let me get back to the few I’ve not yet read…