Metaliteracy at the Course Level: A look at “Revising for Metaliteracy” from the forthcoming Metaliteracy in Practice book

Donna Witek and Teresa Grettano of The University of Scranton offer the following preview of their chapter, “Revising for Metaliteracy: Flexible Course Design to Support Social Media Pedagogy,” appearing in the forthcoming book Metaliteracy in Practice.

What does a course designed intentionally for metaliteracy—as both a pedagogical method as well as a learning outcome—look like? How can a course’s goals, assignments, and schedule be deliberately composed and structured to develop metaliteracy in both students and instructors? And why might instructors choose to use social media in their courses, not despite but because of the complexities that accompany these technologies when they are invited into the learning community of the classroom?

This chapter offers answers to these questions by describing, analyzing, and reflecting on a 200-level Writing course called Rhetoric & Social Media, in which students “investigate rhetoric through and the rhetoric of social media.” This course was co-designed and co-taught by the authors—an information literacy librarian and a rhetoric/composition professor—for the first time at their institution in spring 2011. At its inception the course focused on the social media platform Facebook as both the primary object of analysis and vehicle for learning in the course. By 2013, it became clear to the authors that a course intentionally designed to develop both information literacy and rhetorical and critical practice in students on social media needed to address more platforms than Facebook, and needed to be flexible in how it did so. To this end, the authors significantly revised the course in time for the spring 2013 semester to include Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, in addition to Facebook, with a restructured course schedule and new learning exercises (i.e., assignments) developed to take advantage of this expansion in scope.

This chapter shares with readers this revision process: what the revisions were, the authors’ pedagogical rationale for the revisions made, the outcomes of the revisions (i.e., how they played out in practice in the classroom), and the relationship between this revision process and the development of metaliteracy in all involved—students and instructors/authors alike. Like a companion chapter in this collection, this chapter models a metaliterate approach to course design through its method of analyzing elements of the syllabus over time, in order to build an argument for what metaliteracy at the course-level looks like. It also makes connections between the goals of rhetorical theory and the goals of metaliteracy, connections that can be leveraged by information literacy educators to further integrate these domains within and across the curriculum.

Read about another chapter in the forthcoming Metaliteracy in Practice book!

Irene McGarrity of Keene State College introduces you to her chapter in Metaliteracy in Practice, Developing Agency In Metaliterate Learners: Empowerment Through Digital Identity and Participation:

As someone who has been teaching for almost fifteen years, my strongest feelings of accomplishment come from seeing students become empowered to take ownership of their own learning. As academic librarians ourselves become more empowered, we are moving away from the one-shot model, and embracing a “train-the-trainer” model and teaching full-semester classes to facilitate metaliteracy in students. At Keene State College, where the library faculty teach in the Information Studies minor, my colleague, Jennifer Ditkoff, and I designed a course called Digital Identity & Participatory Culture, and taught it in the fall 2014 semester. Our goal was to turn over some of the course to the students, so that they would be making decisions about content, teaching their peers, and designing assignments. In this chapter, I provide background on scholarship in student-centered and collaborative learning, participatory culture, and metaliteracy in higher education, all of which guided us in developing the course. I discuss the challenges and implications of Digital Identity & Participatory Culture, and suggest ways that academic librarians and disciplinary faculty might experiment with student-led content and student-created assignments in their attempt to empower and instill a sense of agency in metaliterate learners.

Metaliteracy in Practice: Sneak Peak #3

Barbara J. D’Angelo and Barry M. Maid of Arizona State University give you a glimpse into their chapter in the forthcoming book.

Metaliteracy Learning of RN to BSN Students: A Fusion of Disciplinary Values and Discourses

Library and Information Science and Writing Studies share a long-standing collaborative partnership in higher education. The connection often is articulated or manifested in first year composition courses, particularly the second semester composition course focused on research (commonly known as English 102 or Composition II). However, research and communication, including written communication, also are important to disciplinary discourses. Nurses, in particular, exist within sophisticated information environments in which work takes place in interdisciplinary teams ranging from medical personnel, pharmacists, home health care workers, social workers, patients, and more. For undergraduate nursing education, the importance of research and communication practices can be seen in two of nursing’s disciplinary documents related to undergraduate education: The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice and in Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaboration.

In this chapter we report on the development of a discipline-specific writing and research course, Writing for Healthcare Management, for nursing majors in the online RN-BSN degree program at Arizona State University. The course focuses on developing students’ professional writing and information abilities in a way that reflects concepts underpinning metaliteracy. The course facilitates critical thinking and collaborative practices needed for both the consumption and production of knowledge. The chapter describes the development of the course and assignments, and how metaliteracy aligns with disciplinary writing outcomes. In addition, the results of a small scale study that analyzed student work is presented to show how the course meets metaliteracy goals and learning objectives. The chapter contributes an example of a “meta” approach to course design and a model of a contextual approach to fusing multiple “literacies” and “outcomes or objectives” through valuing shared responsibility and accountability for student achievement and transfer of knowledge. While this chapter concentrates on a course in one discipline, nursing, the methods used are transferable to research and communication courses in other disciplines.


Metaliteracy Keynote at Cedar Crest College

We were thrilled to present on the topic Expanding Metaliteracy Across the Curriculum to Advance Lifelong Civic Engagement at Cedar Crest College last week! The Cedar Crest Curriculum Committee invited us to present a summer workshop to build on the great work they are doing to map information literacy/metaliteracy across the curriculum.  We were very impressed with the work they are doing and enjoyed our time with the faculty, librarians, and administrators very much.  This is the slide deck for the facilitated presentation and it includes the world premiere of our new book cover for the forthcoming Metaliteracy in Practice! Be sure to check it out!

Can’t seem to stop those ads following you around? Why not become ‘metaliterate’?

The Conversation, an online news and opinion site that describes its content as having “academic rigor, journalistic flair,” has met Metaliteracy! First, a bit about The Conversation, for those who may not be familiar with it.

“The Conversation is a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to read and republish.”

They describe their mission:

“Access to independent, high-quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to allow for better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversations.”

They began in Australia, and now have UK, US, and African editions as well.

We were intrigued by the model followed by The Conversation, with the opportunity to share metaliteracy more broadly, and in an open environment. We worked with the outstanding Education Editor, Kalpana Jain, to turn our ideas for a piece into Can’t seem to stop those ads following you around? Why not become ‘metaliterate’?, published on August 7 in the US and Australian editions. Rather than recapping the contents here, we encourage you to take a look at the article, and also the site.  If you fit their criteria for being an author, you might also want to share your expertise with readers of The Conversation!

Metaliteracy featured at Cedar Crest College Summer Workshop

We are looking forward to presenting at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Wednesday August 19.  The topic of our collaborative workshop will be: Expanding Metaliteracy Across the Curriculum to Advance Lifelong Civic Engagement.  Here’s the description for what we plan to do:

Metaliteracy is a reinvention of information literacy to promote reflective learning, active and critical participation in social settings, including social media, and the ability to adapt to emerging technologies. This is a dynamic reframing of information literacy with an expanded set of learning goals and objectives that could be applied across the curriculum to support metacognitive reflection, and learners as informed consumers and collaborative producers of information. Metaliteracy has influenced the development of the new Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, signaling wider support for this model and increasing adoption in diverse educational settings. Metaliteracy has sparked the development of several collaborative projects initiated by Mackey and Jacobson and their colleagues in the Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative, including a digital badging system and three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Metaliterate learners, who apply integrated competencies related to evaluating, consuming, and producing information in participatory environments, will be better prepared for college level learning and lifelong civic engagement. This workshop will define metaliteracy, discuss the four domains of metaliteracy and related learning goals and objectives, and examine how this approach has been applied in the curricular design of several innovative projects such as competency based digital badging and three MOOCs. Participants will have a chance during the workshop to envisage opportunities to enhance students’ metaliteracy abilities, and to share these ideas with other attendees.

One of the presenters for this workshop, Trudi E. Jacobson, was co-chair of the ACRL Task Force with Craig Gibson (The Ohio State University). She will describe the new metaliteracy-informed ACRL Framework and its definition of information literacy. This interactive portion of the workshop will be an opportunity to engage with the Framework and consider how it might inform collaborations between disciplinary faculty members and librarians. We will provide an opportunity for participants to grapple with more easily implemented changes and the metaliteracy underpinnings of the frame content to really build upon the content examined throughout the day.

Sneak Peak #2 into Metaliteracy in Practice

As promised, we are posting chapter previews, written by the authors, for the forthcoming book Metaliteracy in Practice, due out in late 2015 or early 2016 from ALA Neal-Schuman.

Chapter 2:

The Politics of Information: Students as Creators in a Metaliteracy Context

Lauren Wallis, Christopher Newport University

Andrew Battista, New York University

The recent revision of the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education opens a space for students to reflect on their position within an inherently political imbroglio of information, both in traditional scholarly formats and in open online spaces. When students visit the library, it is often at the behest of their professors, who expect that librarians will tell them how to find peer-reviewed journals. Meanwhile, the Framework, with its grounding in metaliteracy, encourages knowledge practices and dispositions in which students see their own encounters with information as opportunities to question authority, challenge expertise, and recognize the merit of nontraditional forms of evidence.

As the Framework was being revised, and as discussions of metaliteracy as a guiding principle for information literacy pedagogy emerged, we taught a one-credit class called The Politics of Information. In this class, we asked several questions: Who creates information? What information gets produced and circulated, and what information does not?  Who has access to information, and how can the dissemination of information be an instrument of social control, inside and outside of the academy? As we taught, we realized that our core teaching moves—to destabilize authority and to encourage students to create digital products and reflect metacognitively on their learning experience—dovetail with the goals of metaliteracy.

We are excited that our chapter, “The Politics of Information: Students as Creators in a Metaliteracy Context,” is included in the forthcoming Metaliteracy in Practice volume. Our chapter makes the connections between the learning outcomes in The Politics of Information course and metaliteracy explicit. We began with the idea that information is a social construct, not a static, amorphous entity that reifies academic authority. We hope that this chapter, along with the others in the volume, offers concrete ways to adopt the goals of metaliteracy into the information literacy classroom.