Metaliteracy Takes On Fake News

In an essay for The Conversation, entitled How we can learn to reject fake news in the digital world? Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson describe ways to challenge fake news through metaliteracy. The spread of fake news across social media presents us all with a reality check about the danger of deception in these spaces. As the authors describe in the article, fake news stories that appear to be easily accepted by online users is a problem that warrants a strong educational response through focused metaliterate teaching and learning. The same approaches outlined in the article address concerns about misinformation that is created and shared online as well. Several of metaliteracy’s learning goals and objectives speak directly to the situation we find ourselves in with a proliferation of fake news and misinformation online.

The response to the essay has been tremendous, leading to an interview with Tom and Trudi by reporter Torie Wells from 6CBSNews for the TV news story Facebook preparing to flag fake news stories. According to stats provided by The Conversation, the article has had over 7,000 readers to date, with 796 Facebook shares, 115 tweets, and 143 shares via LinkedIn. The article has been published by the Associated Press, Government Technology, and newspapers across the country, including the Albany Times Union, Houston Chronicle, SFGate, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, among others.

Last year, Jacobson and Mackey wrote an article for The Conversation about how to protect ourselves online from those annoying ads that follow us around while surfing the Web. The authors said that becoming meta-literate in today’s social media world prepares us to think critically about the sites we visit online and to develop smart search strategies that protect our identity. This latest piece about fake news is an extension of that work, applying metaliteracy to real world practice.

New Metaliteracy Keynotes in June 2016!

Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson both presented on metaliteracy in June at two separate keynote presentations during the same week! Tom presented Developing Metaliteracy to Engage Citizens in a Connected World at the University of Delaware Summer Faculty Institute 2016 and Trudi presented Envisioning the Possibilities: Educational Trends and Information Literacy in Academic Libraries at the 3er Congreso de Bibliotecas Universitarias y Especializadas in Santiago, Chile! Trudi’s presentation also considered new modes and methods of teaching (including digital badges and MOOCs) and the ACRL Framework. Trudi’s slides are available via SlideShare. Tom’s keynote is available online at the SFI 2016 Sessions Recording Page and his slides are available via SlideShare and this blog posting.

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.