Metaliteracy and Post-Truth Explored in Keynote at NWU in South Africa

Tom Mackey presented an international keynote entitled Building Communities of Trust: Metaliterate Learning for a Post-Truth Society at the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL) at North-West University (NWU) in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. Tom was invited to keynote at the conference by Dr. Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and OER and Professor in Multimodal Learning at NWU.

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Tom Mackey Keynoting at NWU (photo by Louise Olivier)

Tom’s keynote is based on the framing chapter he wrote “Empowering Metaliterate Learners for the Post-Truth World” for his latest metaliteracy book with Trudi Jacobson Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World published by ALA/Neal-Schuman.

As noted in the abstract for this presentation: Metaliteracy is a reframing of information literacy to develop metaliterate learners as active producers of information in both local and global communities of trust. In today’s post-truth society, personal and political beliefs have diminished the meaning and impact of verifiable facts and truthful reasoning. Metaliterate learners are empowered through reflective practice to responsibly consume and creatively produce information in collaborative and participatory social spaces. Through informed civic engagement, individuals take control of their participation while working cooperatively with others to build responsible communities of trust. Visualizations have the power to enhance our understanding of and connections with the metaliteracy framework and several were shared as part of this presentation.

An analysis of the Open edX and Coursera versions of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, demonstrated how metaliteracy is applied as a pedagogical model to the challenges of a post-truth society.

Prestige Lecture at NWU in South Africa Features Metaliteracy

Trudi Jacobson, Jako Olivier, and Tom Mackey pictured at the Prestige lecture.
Trudi Jacobson, Jako Olivier, and Tom Mackey

At the invitation of Dr. Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and OER and Professor in Multimodal Learning at North-West University in South Africa, Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson presented a Prestige Lecture entitled Exploring the Foundation of Metaliteracy in Theory and Practice at the Potchefstroom Campus on September 19, 2019. This collaborative lecture set the stage for two workshops with librarians, faculty and staff during the same week. All three events were presented in advance of the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL) at North-West University in Vanderbijlpark. Trudi and Tom both presented individual keynotes at ICIL as well as one additional collaborative presentation.

Metaliteracy Keynotes Featured at ICIL in South Africa

North-West University, South Africa, host of the 2019 ICIL

Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson have been invited to South Africa as keynote speakers at the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL), being held this year at North-West University in Vanderbijlpark. The conference theme is Information Literacy in All Spheres of Life, and will take place September 23-26. 

Tom’s keynote, to take place on September 24, is titled Building Communities of Trust: Metaliterate Learning for a Post-Truth Society. Trudi is presenting on September 26 on Creating Shareable Knowledge: Exploring the Synergy between Metaliteracy and Open Pedagogy. The other international and national keynote speakers at the conference include Serap Kurbanoglu of the Department of Information Management at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, Irina Zhilavskaya, Chair of Media Education, Moscow Pedagogical State University, Bosire Onyancha of the Department of Information Science at the University of South Africa, Karin de Jager, University of Cape Town, Ina Fourie, Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, and Jako Olivier, professor of Multimodal Learning in the School of Professional Studies in Education at North-West University.

Trudi and Tom have also been invited by Dr. Olivier to give a prestige lecture and two workshops at the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University the week prior to the conference. The collaborative lecture is Exploring the Foundation of Metaliteracy in Theory and Practice, and the workshops are Applying Open Educational Practices to Develop Active Metaliterate Learners and Integrating Metaliteracy and Information Literacy into Teaching and Learning.

Look to Metaliteracy.org for future posts that feature slides from both keynotes, the collaborative prestige lecture, and the shared workshops.

Two Revised Metaliteracy MOOCs Launch on Coursera

AI (Artificial Intelligence) concept. 3D illustration.Two Metaliteracy MOOCs are now available for registration via the Coursera platform. First, our original Coursera MOOC Metaliteracy: Empowering Yourself in a Connected World has been streamlined and enhanced with new video content, resources, and learning activities. Learners will be introduced to the metaliteracy model, learn about copyright, intellectual property, and open-licensing through the Creative Commons, and explore digital storytelling as a creative form of information production. By the end of this MOOC, learners will see themselves as content creators and develop a digital artifact or story of their own. Registration for this MOOC is open now for launch on October 14, 2019.

Second, the recently revised Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World MOOC is being offered on Coursera for the first time. Registration is open now for immediate launch. This course explores a wide range of issues related to the post-truth world and empowers learners to think about the role of experts in society, examine false representations in constructed media, reflect on their own biases, and explore ways to build collaborative communities of trust and reinvent a truthful world. Learners will be empowered to raise and share their own voice by creating a digital response to the post-truth world.

Both MOOCs provide dynamic video content, updated links to open readings and resources, discussions, and interactive learning activities. The MOOCs can be explored independently, or in sequence (if new to both MOOCs, you may want to start with the Connected World and move to Post-Truth World, but either sequence is fine). These updated resources are available to teachers, students, librarians, administrators, and lifelong learners interested in applying metaliteracy to a variety of teaching and learning situations and/or everyday life. Metaliteracy supports reflective learning and the active production of new knowledge in collaborative communities.

Video on Confirmation Bias Produced as Final Project for Metaliteracy MOOC

We welcome this guest post by Christina Pratt who completed our Metaliteracy MOOC, Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, and developed a video presentation about confirmation bias for her own YouTube series How Do you Like Your Coffee?

Getting to Know and Getting Beyond Confirmation Bias

by Christina Pratt

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Confirmation Bias Video Presentation

My final project for the Metaliteracy MOOC, Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, focused on confirmation bias. I decided that using a visual presentation of my thoughts and ideas would give the audience a face and personality behind the presentation Getting to Know and Getting Beyond Confirmation Bias (Please do be aware that I am quite new to the video creating scene). I chose confirmation bias because everyone has beliefs, some with such strong beliefs that they tend to become “truth” or “fact.” By sharing some information about cognitive biases and ideological/filter bubbles, I felt that the audience may become more aware of their own biases and how biases are developed. I even used an example of my own confirmation bias when it comes to Apple iOS and Android smartphones to help the audience see how common confirmation bias is, and how easy it is to develop biases even with something as simple as choosing products and services.

Thinking about the course now, I think I might have focused on post-truth as well. In our busy lives, we can become oblivious to what is going on around us. We read and watch news from many sources, research for school, work, and personal needs such as  shopping and more, and we seem to ignore the misleading information at times. We also know that technology has a huge impact on our lives, but we seem to forget that it can be hurtful and damaging as well. A good example of this is the recent circulation of doctored videos of Nancy Pelosi on various social media platforms. Having taken this course, I was able to share some of the content learned in this course with the home schooled high school-aged children in the family, especially what we learned about the effects of visual aids on how we perceive a story. This is a big help with how the children will research and collect information in hopes that they will now carefully choose more reliable sources.

In closing, I am fifty years old. At my age, sometimes you feel that you have learned all you need to know. This course has definitely proved me wrong. Touché. Even more, the course, Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World was the most influential and inspiring course that I have taken throughout my four-year academic journey. The information that I learned from the course will be most helpful not only with helping the home schooled children in the family become more aware of biases and the less than reliable information that exists, but also with passing information onto viewers of my videos. I think one of the best things about this course is the interaction between peers. This interaction adds energy, ideas, and useful information to an already well constructed course. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who does a lot of research, provides information, and teaches in any field, but even more so, I believe that anyone, child to adult, could benefit greatly from this course.