Confirmation Bias Webpage Produced for Metaliteracy MOOC Final Project

We welcome this latest guest post from Jamie Witman, Online Learning Librarian and Liaison to the School of Technology, Art, and Design at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Confirmation Bias: Escaping Our Boundaries

by Jamie Witman

For my final project for the MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, I created a Webpage using Adobe Spark titled “Confirmation Bias: Escaping Our Boundaries.”

As a librarian, the topic of confirmation bias comes up in every library instruction session I and my colleagues teach. The conversations I have with students in regard to evaluating information sources generally revolve around the bias that we inherently

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Confirmation Bias Webpage Using Adobe Spark

have about certain topics and publishers, as well as the bias that those specific publishers project. This course allowed me to think deeply about how to incorporate the metaliterate domains and roles into my teaching so I can provide students with the skills needed to push beyond their comfort zone and combat confirmation bias.

The webpage itself is intended for librarians and faculty colleagues looking for a new approach to teaching confirmation bias using the four different domains of metaliterate learning: affective, behavioral, cognitive, and metacognitive. Throughout the MOOC, we read, learned, and discussed how each of these domains plays a role in how we seek, process, and use information critically.

Typically, confirmation bias is associated with the affective domain, our emotional cortex of learning. Confirmation bias relies so heavily on our deeply held beliefs that we seek out information that reaffirms our views, while disregarding information that may actually be more accurate. It is easy to see how the affective domain governs this type of thinking, but the other three domains are equally powerful in providing us with ways to think about, understand, and combat confirmation bias. By drawing out all four individual domains on my webpage, and their relationships with confirmation bias, I hope to provide my colleagues with a new and innovative pedagogical method of approaching this topic that will allow our students to escape their own boundaries in information seeking.

I hope to be able to build upon this concept and continue to incorporate the metaliterate domains and roles into my teaching to help my students grow as critical information seekers and users in the post-truth world.

Metaliteracy MOOC Inspired a Curated Site to Move Past Confirmation Bias

We welcome this guest posting from Patti Kingsmill, Pedagogical Counsellor:
Programs & Instructional Technologies and AQPC-College Liaison for Pedagogical Support and Innovation at Vanier College.

Curated Site on Moving Past Confirmation Bias

by Patti Kingsmill

As a final project for the MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, I created a curated site on moving past confirmation bias. The site has two purposes: it serves as an example of a curated site for instructors wishing to teach curation, and it provides teachers with resources on confirmation bias—an important concept for curators to understand. The ability to select sources as objectively as possible is fundamental to curating in a responsible manner. As organizations rely on curators to manage information for them, curation is increasingly touted as a must-have 21st century skill. It is, therefore, important that we not only teach students how to curate, but to develop their metaliteracy skills in order to curate well and to avoid contributing to filter bubbles. This entails, among other things, recognizing the human tendency to fall prey to confirmation bias, learning how to move past it, and acknowledging one’s responsibility to do so as a producer of content and member of a digital, collaborative community.

The first section of the site, “Defining It,” presents different sources that define and offer examples of confirmation bias. The next section, “Mitigating It,” provides sources that offer strategies on lessening, or moving past, confirmation bias. The “CB & Filter Bubbles” section introduces the concept of filter bubbles and how they can result from confirmation bias. Finally, the “Lesson Plan” section includes a few classroom activities useful for teaching students about confirmation bias and filter bubbles and learning to get beyond them.

Metaliteracy Infographic Created for MOOC Final Project

We welcome this guest posting from Holly Wehmeyer, Communications & Marketing Coordinator and Educator from the Intensive English Language Program at the University at Albany, SUNY. Holly participated in the first session of our Open edX MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World and created a Metaliteracy Infographic as her final project. Our Post-Truth MOOC is now in a self-paced mode so feel free to join and create your own project!

Characteristics of a Metaliterate Social Media User

by Holly Wehmeyer

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Characteristics of the Metaliterate Learner (Mackey & Jacobson, 2019)

For my final project, I chose to create an infographic on the characteristics of a Metaliterate social media user. I have watched the social media space become polarized and partisan along with the nation’s politics and wondered about my role in developing online communities of trust. I have watched friends and strangers argue past one another, post inflammatory memes, and eventually unfollow each other. How are we to compromise on important issues if we can’t even talk to one another? Taking this course was one step I chose to take in becoming part of the solution to this problem.

The infographic attempts to draw on the concepts we’ve learned in the course to help social media users reflect on how they approach social media and what and how they share information. I wanted to create a simple guide to being a responsible online citizen. I created the graphic using Canva, an online design tool that I’ve used previously while working on newsletters and other publications. It allows the user to create simple designs and offers a number of free icons and other graphics. I also used quotations and information from Mackey and Jacobson’s book, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World, which was not required reading for the course (other than the Introduction and first chapter), but which I read on my own.

Working on this final project certainly involved all four metaliteracy learning domains. In the behavioral realm, I was reminded of what I should be DOING – how I should be interacting with other people on social media – in responsible and civic-minded ways. My actions have consequences, so I should strive for the action that avoids harm and creates constructive dialog. In the cognitive realm, I’ve learned a lot about confirmation bias, inoculation theory, ideas about experts, and more. My background in Journalism had already given me a good grounding in the way media outlets choose photos, write captions, and construct headlines, but the course readings were an excellent reminder of how things have changed since I worked in publishing in the 1990s. In the affective domain, this course actually made me feel a lot better about my own behavior. I haven’t been doing such a terrible job online as I perhaps thought! However, there is always room for improvement. The course helped me recognize why I’m reacting strongly to certain posts or why I feel frustrated when my arguments don’t convince my opponent. Finally, in the metacognitive domain, I have reflected frequently on why I post certain stories and why I have certain reactions to other people’s posts. It has helped me ask questions of myself, many of which I’ve put into my final project.

In conclusion, by modeling the characteristics of a metaliterate social media user, both through this infographic and through my online behavior, I hope to teach others about the value of metaliteracy, to build those communities of trust, and to help return our online discourse to a place of civility and discovery.

New Metaliteracy Paper Presented at Conference in Frankfurt, Germany

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Trudi Jacobson, Karin Lach and Tom Mackey

At the recent Conference on Learning Information Literacy across the Globe in Frankfurt, Germany, Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented a new metaliteracy paper entitled “Developing Metaliterate Citizens: Designing and Delivering Enhanced Global Learning Opportunities.” This peer-reviewed essay was one of eight full-papers accepted to the conference and was co-authored with Kelsey O’Brien, Information Literacy Librarian, from the University at Albany. The slideshow for the presentation featured the metaliteracy model, a discussion of open pedagogy’s relationship to metaliteracy, and related metaliteracy projects, including the digital badging system and the Open edX MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, which is now available in a self-paced mode. The conference was hosted and organized by the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education and was the final part of the Erasmus+ Project Information Literacy Online, a European project to improve students’ competencies.

Shown in the photo with Trudi and Tom is Karin Lach, Universitätsbibliothek, Fachbereichsbibliothek Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Wien (University Library, English and American Studies Library, Vienna), who is kindly working on a German translation of the metaliteracy goals and learning objectives.

 

Metaliteracy/Information Literacy Course Emphasizes Open Pedagogy

A course taught this spring at the University at Albany blended an opportunity to learn about metaliteracy and information literacy with a very public-facing assignment: writing for Wikipedia. The course, Information Literacy for the Humanities and Fine Arts, participated in the Wiki Education program. Students had the opportunity to put many of the metaliteracy learning objectives and information literacy frames into practice in a way that brought them alive. More detailed information, including student reactions, can be found in a  post on the Wiki Education blog.

Metaliteracy Presentation at LSU

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Trudi Jacobson, Carol Barry and Tom Mackey

Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented Teaching Metaliteracy To Empower Learners in a Post-Truth World at Louisiana State University (LSU) on April 13. The School of Library and Information Science in association with the College of Human Sciences & Education at LSU sponsored the talk as part of the Quality of Life Lecture Series. Dr. Carol Barry, Director of the School of Library and Information Science at LSU, invited Trudi and Tom to discuss metaliteracy as a pedagogical response to fake news and the post-truth world. Trudi and Tom included research from their forthcoming book Metaliterate Learning in the Post-Truth World for ALA Publishing (to be published in fall 2018) and introduced the draft revision of the updated Metaliteracy Learning Goals and Objectives.

 

Metaliteracy Books Reviewed as part of Facet Publishing Series

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Metaliteracy in Practice

The peer-reviewed journal Research in Online Literacy Education (ROLE), published by the Global Society of Online Educators (GSOLE), posted book reviews for both Metaliteracy in Practice and Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. ​Drew Virtue, assistant professor in the professional writing program in the Department of English at Western Carolina University wrote the reviews as part of the Facet Publishing Review Series on Digital Literacies. In his review of the edited book Metaliteracy in Practice, Virture wrote: “The most significant strength I found throughout the various chapters was the relationship between metaliteracy and metacognition. Metacognition was addressed explicitly or implied through a focus on critical reflection among all the authors.”

Metaliteracy Book Cover

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As part of his review for the co-authored book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners, Virtue concludes: “Mackey and Jacobson offer a foundational work that challenges how we understand literacy in the digital age. Furthermore, their argument for the need of metaliteracy is compelling. Metaliteracy is not only interesting but a necessary concept to understand the complexity of communication embedded within our continually evolving technologies—one that will help us, as teachers and librarians, help learners become more astute in their everyday lives.” We appreciate the thoughtful reviews by Drew Virtue and the support from Facet Publishing, the international publisher for both books in association with ALA Publishing in the United States.