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.
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.