Third Academic Minute Program about Metaliteracy

The June 27, 2022, Academic Minute program featured Trudi Jacobson, and, of course, metaliteracy. The episode is entitled, Students Reflect on their Roles and Responsibilities as Wikipedia Editors. It is the first in a week of episodes by professors and instructors who teach using the Wiki Education initiative. Although the program airs on a number of National Public Radio (NPR) stations, it is produced here in Albany, NY at WAMC. This makes Trudi’s affiliation, which is listed as North-West University (NWU) in South Africa rather than the University at Albany, seem a bit odd, but in order to appear on the program, one needs to be actively affiliated with an institution of higher learning. Trudi is Distinguished Librarian Emerita at The University at Albany, SUNY and both she and Tom Mackey were appointed Extraordinary Professors at North-West University (NWU) in South Africa, soon after presenting a metaliteracy Prestige Lecture as well as keynotes and workshops there in 2019. As part of their honorary appointments, their latest Prestige Lectures at NWU continue in a series this year and next.

This is the third Academic Minute episode that features metaliteracy. Tom Mackey recorded the first, Metaliterate Leaners, which aired on May 18, 2020. Trudi’s first was Renewable Assisgnments, Wikipedia, and Metaliteracy, from December 15, 2021. As indicated by the name of the series, these are quick listens. You might want to give them a try if you’ve not already heard them. This newest episode includes quotes from two students who made connections between their work as information producers on Wikipedia, metaliteracy and learning.

Feel free to use these short clips as part of your teaching practices related to metaliteracy!


There Is Now a Wikipedia Article for Metaliteracy!

On May 11, 2022, the Metaliteracy article was accepted for publication in the English language version of Wikipedia! It will now be easy for those interested in the framework to find out more about it via one of the most common sources of information in the world.

This move from draft status to published article has been a number of years in the making. Two previous drafts were not approved. However, Gina Barrett of Canada, an experienced Wikipedia editor (Redwidgeon), took on the effort of addressing the issues with the latest draft. These attempts centered on Wikipedia’s notability requirement. As a part of this work, she identified a number of substantive works about metaliteracy beyond those of Tom’s and Trudi’s to be incorporated into the article. She also offered to work with a group of dedicated students from an international course last fall, Intercultural Perspectives on Information Literacy and Metaliteracy (offered by the University of Hildesheim, Germany and several global partners). These students, from the USA, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and India, had chosen to work on the Wikipedia metaliteracy draft article as their course project. While they had to wait some months to see if their work was ultimately successful on the Wikipedia platform, they now have the satisfaction of knowing that they met their goal of article approval. We would like to thank Feda Kulenovic, Ellen Ballato, Chris Jose, Goutami Rane, Luka Boskovic, and Rabea Schoershusen for their most professional work, as well as the international perspectives they brought to the project.

Just a little bit about the process of adding information to Wikipedia: While it is true that anyone can contribute, that does not mean that everything that is added remains. There are vigilant volunteer editors (contributors to Wikipedia are known as editors) and bots that do clean-up work, both minor and more substantive. As a part of this content checking, articles can be flagged for deletion if particular issues connected with Wikipedia expectations aren’t addressed. Beyond notability, another Wikipedia requirement relates to conflict of interest, meaning that Trudi and Tom are not able to work on the article themselves. For more information about editing on Wikipedia, this guide provides an overview.

Like all Wikipedia articles, the metaliteracy article is subject to revisions and additions. It will be interesting to follow both its Talk and History pages over time. While the article currently appears only in the English language version of Wikipedia, perhaps we will be able to celebrate new or translated metaliteracy articles in additional Wikipedias in the future!

You are invited to an online panel: The Wikipedia Assignment: Where Students’ Interests, Confidence, and Public Participation in Knowledge Production Intersect

If you are interested in implementing an exciting and innovative open pedagogical project in your teaching, you might be interested in attending a panel about the Wiki Education program. This program, available in the US and Canada, provides strong support to both students and instructors for Wikipedia assignments. Having students contribute to Wikipedia in an academic setting enhances the amount of content available through Wikipedia, a boon to those who rely upon this source for information. It also diversifies the editor pool and thus the content as well. The students are able to build upon their subject knowledge and information literacy abilities. Yet moving from a traditional assignment meant for the professor’s eyes only to one openly available can be somewhat intimidating at first. Metaliteracy’s emphasis on the metacognitive and affective learning domains provides scaffolding for students who may grapple with imposter syndrome and fear of visible failure.

The one-hour panel is sponsored by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at Ferris State University and will take place on Monday, April 11 at 3:00 Eastern time. Besides Trudi Jacobson, panel members include Helaine Blumenthal, Senior Program Manager at Wiki Education, Mark Marinkovic, a former student of Trudi’s (pictured above), Naniette Coleman, Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Privacy and Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley, and Ava Wu, a student of Naniette’s,

The registration page provides more information about the panel. We hope you can join us.

Connecting Metaliteracy, Open Pedagogy, and Wikipedia Editing

Trudi Jacobson has written a post for the WikiEdu blog under the title above. In it, she very briefly explores these elements as they are explained in the new book she wrote with Tom Mackey, Metaliteracy in a Connected World: Developing Learners as Producers (ALA/Neal-Schuman, 2022). She mentions that in chapter 3, the authors show how ”metaliteracy provides a comprehensive scaffolding and framework for the learning, and indeed the teaching, that takes place in open pedagogical environments” (p. 85). Chapter 4 includes course-based case studies, one of which is centered on the educational Wikipedia editing program offered by Wiki Education.

Image credits: JfhughesusCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Illustrated by Jasmina El Bouamraoui and Karabo Poppy Moletsane, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Metaliteracy Discussed on The Academic Minute—Again!

Trudi Jacobson is featured on a segment for NPR’s The Academic Minute that was first presented on December 15, 2021: Renewable Assignments, Wikipedia, and Metaliteracy.

In this new segment, Trudi discusses the value of renewable assignments, i.e., assignments in which students create content that is useful to others, not meant simply for their professors’ eyes alone. Such assignments help individuals to become metaliterate learners and responsible digital citizens. Her example involves editing content in Wikipedia and the important scaffolding that metaliteracy can provide. If you get a chance, listen (or read it, the text is provided). The Academic Minute is produced for NPR by our local WAMC public radio station.

This is the second time metaliteracy has been featured on the program. Tom Mackey’s segment, Metaliterate Learners, aired on May 18, 2020.

Metaliteracy, Self-Directed Learning, and Assessment

Trudi Jacobson, Tom Mackey and Jako Olivier (UNESCO Chair on Multi-Modal Learning and Open Educational Resources, and Professor at North-West University) co-authored a chapter in a recent open-access volume, Learning Through Assessment: An Approach Towards Self-Directed Learning. The book was edited by Elsa Mentz and Anitia Lubbe, and is a part of the NWU Self-directed Learning Series.

Cover for Learning through assessment: An approach towards self-directed learning
Learning Through Assessment (2021)

The chapter by Trudi, Tom and Jako is entitled “Aligning Metaliteracy with Self-directed Learning to Expand Assessment Opportunities,”

The chapter’s abstract:

Metaliteracy is a holistic model that emphasises information-related knowledge attainment whilst challenging individuals to take charge of their learning strategies and goals. It prepares learners to become informed consumers and responsible producers of information. Metacognition is a core concept in metaliteracy, just as it is in self-directed learning (SDL) and in methods of assessment appropriate to SDL, such as Assessment as Learning (AaL) and Assessment for Learning (AfL). This congruence provides clear avenues for using metaliteracy’s framework in ways that support SDL. The first part of the chapter explores metaliteracy and its connections with SDL and assessment. The remainder of the chapter provides two examples of how the intersection of metaliteracy, SDL and assessment might be addressed in practice. These case studies provide additional and practical connections that might suggest applications in other settings. The first section explores a comprehensive metaliteracy digital badging system that is designed to advance SDL, with a focus on how the self-directed unit from this system was adapted for use in an open textbook. The final section of the chapter provides an example of how an online undergraduate course intertwines metaliteracy, information literacyand editing on Wikipedia, exemplifying principles of SDL and providingexamples of AaL and AfL. (p. 72)

We look forward to furthering our investigations into the connections between metaliteracy and self-directed learning.

Information Has Value: Engaging Students as Wikipedia Editors

Trudi and Jackson Grey, a student in her fall 2021 Information Literacy in the Humanities and Fine Arts course, presented at the virtual 2021 WikiConference North America in October. This course uses a combination of the Wiki Education program, metaliteracy, and frames from the ACRL Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education to encourage students to see themselves as ethical and responsible information producers.

The Wiki Education program provides excellent training for novice Wikipedia editors, but a conceptual understanding of the value of information, as well as scaffolding to recognize themselves as information producers, can provide a rich underpinning for this new set of skills, a background that will help them to see the value of their contributions, and encourage them to continue as metaliterate Wikipedia editors.

Jackson, a senior at the University at Albany majoring in philosophy, provided a student’s viewpoint in such a learning situation where It is possible to share growing knowledge in a field of study. He also explored the differing values of information, inherent vs. as a means to an end, and the disconnect between the availability of information and its importance.

The presentation is available on YouTube as part of a day of programs. It starts at 6:05, and this link is set to start at that point.

The Roles of Metaliteracy and Wikipedia Editing in Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

“Anyone could make edits, and anyone could challenge those edits…This helped me feel less like an outsider trying to fit into a conversation and more like one of a million voices that were working together towards a shared goal of information creation and consumption.”

It is not only illuminating, but also vital to hear from learners about the impact of their encounters with metaliteracy. Asking them to write reflective pieces is one way to find out how components of metaliteracy may have had an effect on their learning. A recent Wiki Edu blog post by Corrin Baker, a graduating senior at The University at Albany, provides such insight. Corrin expanded a wonderfully written course reflection for this post about a course taught by Prof. Trudi Jacobson.

In describing metaliteracy’s producer role, Ms. Baker wrote:

The shared roles of producer and consumer were present in every step of the course. I was fully engaged in locating and evaluating sources, and then finding ways to make that information both understandable and accessible. I felt a great sense of responsibility to the audience and to the authors whose work I was using. I was also far more aware of diversity in a global audience, especially as I found myself struggling to find non-male authors to cite. 

The course, which lasts just seven weeks, is challenging for students, but aims to have a lasting effect on their understanding of information and their roles in producing and sharing it. Corrin’s reflection testifies to the incredible impact that the blend of metaliteracy, information literacy, and the wonderful Wiki Education program can have.

Read the full post here: Overcoming imposter syndrome by editing Wikipedia

Wiki. edu logo by David Peters of EXBROOK for Wiki Education Foundation – Wiki Education Foundation, Public Domain,