Poetic Ethnography and Metaliteracy: Empowering Voices in A Hybrid Theater Arts Course

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Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, an Associate Professor at Temple University offers the following preview of her chapter: “Poetic Ethnography and Metaliteracy: Empowering Voices in a Hybrid Theater Arts Course’ appearing in the forthcoming book, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World.

When is a Theater arts course more than a theater arts course? How do we encourage students to “have voice”? In an age when “alternative facts” have become the new norm, how can theater and the theater studies curriculum give students agency to contribute to the discourse? Well… at Temple University, these days, its when faculty consciously use a metaliteracy lens to develop or improve their courses so as to encourage students to not just consume new knowledge but also to produce it and to distribute it through multiple modalities and across multiple platforms.

At Temple University in Philadelphia, the Theater Studies curriculum exemplifies the metacognitive domain of metaliteracy teaching students to effectively consume and produce new information in the form of devised theater productions, displays, press releases, exhibitions, community performances and critiques. One such course that goes a long way to introduce metaliteracy concepts into the theater curriculum is THTR 2008 Poetic Ethnography.

The course, THTR 2008 Poetic Ethnography operates as both ethno-drama and as a theater hybrid that incorporates several tightly structured field site audio and video digital storytelling projects into its 13-week curriculum. These projects encourage students to expand their knowledge base, investigate multiple forms of information gathering methodologies and to develop performative and distributive content across multiple cultural and social platforms.

Through the process of research and new knowledge production, students gain life-long learning skills about how to develop more nuanced, personal narratives that tell a more complete and factual story about communities, individuals and contemporary events. This chapter, then, looks at how Poetic Ethnography teaches students how to develop ethnographic and personal narratives set to poetry about Philadelphia neighborhoods and its people—giving voice to the sometimes voiceless in our communities, while simultaneously learning metaliteracy and metacognitive learning strategies.

Dr. Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, Associate Professor

Department of Theater

Temple University

Comments Welcomed on Revised Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives

The original set of four goals and accompanying learning objectives were developed in 2014 by members of the Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative with valuable input by others, as indicated in the Additional Contributors section of the Goals and Learning Objectives page. Over the course of the last several years, there have been significant changes in our information environment and with social media in particular, and in the ways that people interact with them. We felt that it was time to review the goals and learning objectives in depth. What followed were changes both substantive and minor, as well as some reorganization.

We invite you to review and comment on these changes through the Reply feature at the bottom of Goals and Learning Objectives page. We also welcome suggestions. Our goal is to finalize the revision by September 15. Thank you.

Metaliteracy Discussed at ASIS&T 2016 in Copenhagen

Picture of Metaliteracy panel at ASIS&T 2016 in Copenhagen

(L-R) Louise Limberg, Jamshid Beheshti, Joan Bartlett, Yusuke Ishimura, Thomas Mackey, Jacek Gwizdka, and Dania Bilal

At the invitation of Prof. Jamshid Beheshti from McGill University, an international team of researchers participated in a panel related to metaliteracy at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The panel presentation entitled “Information Literacy: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice” reflected this year’s conference theme Creating Knowledge, Enhancing Lives through Information & Technology. Tom Mackey’s part of the presentation and the accompanying conference proceedings, developed with Trudi Jacobson, explored “Metaliteracy and Inter-Generational Metacognitive Learning.” The panel of information science researchers (pictured above), featured: Jamshid Beheshti, and Joan Bartlett, McGill University, Canada, Louise Limberg, University of Borås, Sweden, Dania Bilal, University of Tennessee, Jacek Gwizdka, University of Texas at Austin, and Yusuke Ishimura, Tokyo University, Japan.

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 in Practice Book Published!

MackeyMIP_300We are thrilled that our new edited book Metaliteracy in Practice (right) was published this week by ALA Neal-Schuman! This book is the follow up to our co-authored book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014).  The new book features 9 chapters from faculty and librarians who have been applying metaliteracy in their teaching practices.  We really enjoyed the chance to work with such outstanding chapter authors on this project, representing a variety of institutions, including: Keene State College, Washington College, University of South Africa, SUNY College at Brockport, and the University of Scranton. The authors explore metaliteracy practices related to social media pedagogy, the politics of information, nursing education, open and collaborative learning, student empowerment, and learner agency.  In addition, ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education is examined in relation to metaliteracy in several of the chapters.  The book’s Foreword was written by Alison J. Head, Ph.D., Executive Director, Project Information Literacy (PIL), Principal Research Scientist, The Information School, University of Washington, and Faculty Associate, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University. We appreciate all of the support we received from everyone at ALA Neal-Schuman and we must say that we absolutely love the cover!  -Trudi and Tom

Metaliteracy Keynote at Cedar Crest College

We were thrilled to present on the topic Expanding Metaliteracy Across the Curriculum to Advance Lifelong Civic Engagement at Cedar Crest College last week! The Cedar Crest Curriculum Committee invited us to present a summer workshop to build on the great work they are doing to map information literacy/metaliteracy across the curriculum.  We were very impressed with the work they are doing and enjoyed our time with the faculty, librarians, and administrators very much.  This is the slide deck for the facilitated presentation and it includes the world premiere of our new book cover for the forthcoming Metaliteracy in Practice! Be sure to check it out!

Presentation on MOOCs and Badges at SUNY CIT

The Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative presented on the culmination of their work over the past year for an Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) at SUNY’s Conference on Instruction and Technology on May 28th. A panel composed of all eight members of the grant team, including PIs Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson and co-PIs Kathleen Stone, Michele Forte, Amy McQuigge, Kelsey O’Brien, Allison Hosier and Jenna Pitera, discussed the development of two MOOCs on two different platforms, both of which were supported by the metaliteracy learning objectives. Designing Innovative Online Learning: An Investigation of Digital Badges Integration with Two MOOC Platforms offered insights about the collaborative development and facilitation of both the Coursera and Canvas MOOCs and the extent to which we were able to integrate the Metaliteracy Badges.