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.

 

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.

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.

Register Now for Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World!

Registration is now open for Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, a new Open edX MOOC developed by colleagues from SUNY Albany and SUNY Empire State College who work together as part of the Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative. This six-week Open edX MOOC starts on March 18, 2019, so register today!  The course examines how to address post-truth challenges through the lens of metaliteracy while exploring ways to rebuild communities of trust. The content of the course is informed by the new book published by Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson for ALA-Neal Schuman, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World. The MOOC is supported by a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant and is hosted by the University at Buffalo, College of Arts and Sciences Continuing Education.

The instructors for the course include Tom Mackey, Trudi Jacobson, Kelsey O’Brien, Tom Palmer, Lisa Stephens, Christine Fena, Allison Hosier, and Nicola Marae Allain. In addition to the instructors, we worked with a team that included Alena Roddick (Instructional Designer), John Hughes (Videographer), David Dickinson (Videographer), and Christine Paige (Project Manager). Thanks to Jay Stockslader, Director of Continuing Education at the University of Buffalo for supporting our MOOC on Open EdX. Check out the promo video below created by Kelsey O’Brien and register now!

Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World is Published!

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Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World

The new metaliteracy book edited by Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World, has been published by ALA Neal Schuman. This timely volume addresses the profound challenges of the post-truth world through the exploration of metaliteracy theory and practice from multiple disciplinary perspectives. An excerpt from the new book features the Foreword, written by Troy Swanson, MLIS, Ph.D., Department Chair Library Services, Moraine Valley Community College, the book’s Table of Contents, with the titles and authors of all nine chapters, and a snippet of the first chapter Empowering Metaliterate Learners for the Post-Truth World, by Tom Mackey. This framing chapter examines the emergence of post-truth terminology, explores several of the related issues that define post-truth circumstances, such as confirmation bias, false information, and personal privacy/information security, and also includes an expanded Metaliteracy Learner Characteristics figure and revised Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives, both developed with Trudi Jacobson.

This edited volume examines both the theory and practice of metaliteracy in the post-truth era with chapters authored by faculty and librarians. Several of the chapters have been featured in this blog, including “Poetic Ethnography and Metaliteracy: Empowering Voices in a Hybrid Theater Arts Course” by Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, “When Stories and Pictures Lie Together — And You Don’t Even Know It” by Thomas Palmer, and “Reconstructing Scientific Literacy through Metaliteracy: Implications for Learning in a Post Truth World,” by Allison Brungard and Kristin Klucevsek. This book also features chapters written by Marc Kosciejew, Josh Compton, Nicole A. Cooke, and Rachel Magee, Allison Hosier, and Jaclyn Partyka.

The themes examined in this latest metaliteracy book inform a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) project by the Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative to develop an Open edX MOOC entitled Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World (to be offered in March 2019).

Seeking Translations of the Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives

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World image from Pixaby.com

One of the metaliterate learner roles is Translator. Translation can be from one format to another, or from one audience to another. We often mean translation beyond that of language. But at the moment, language translation is on our minds.

We would very much like to make the revised April 2018 Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives available to a broader set of readers and scholars. The concept of metaliteracy is global, and many of the works that discuss or are framed by metaliteracy have been published in a number of languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, French, and more.

If you are interested in helping with this translation initiative, please contact Trudi Jacobson (tjacobson at albany.edu) and Tom Mackey (tom.mackey at esc.edu). We thank you for considering this request.