Digital Literacy Practices in the University

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Examining the role of cognitive processes and expertise in student information use.

Presented October 2010 at IR11 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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  • Digital Literacy Practices in the University

    1. 1. Digital Literacy Practices in the University: The Role of Prior Knowledge and Cognitive Processes in Student Information Use Monica Bulger, Oxford Internet Institute Richard Mayer, University of California, Santa Barbara Miriam Metzger, University of California, Santa Barbara 11th Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, 22 October 2010
    2. 2. Internet = marked shift in information delivery Students are increasingly required to conduct Internet research to complete assignments Students now vetting resources previously vetted by librarians, editors, or teachers Little instruction given in navigating resources or gauging credibility
    3. 3. Examining student information use Most work examines parts of process -- search (Head & Eisenberg, 2009; CIBER, 2008) -- evaluation of sources (Flanagin & Metzger. 2008; Rieh & Hilligloss, 2008; Hargittai, et al, 2010) -- management of information (Rouet, 2006) Few connect process to outcome
    4. 4. Cognitive Process Model of Digital Literacy Studies of literacy (Flower & Hayes, 1981) and learning (Wineburg, 1991) provide strong model for examining student information use Cognitive process model: search, evaluate, integrate, communicate Recursive, not linear
    5. 5. Method 150 participants (88 undergraduate, 62 graduate) 50 minute research and writing task --> write 1-2 page essay (measured integration and communication processes) Recorded student computer actions (measured search practices) Pre- and post-task questionnaire (measured prior knowledge and evaluation practices)
    6. 6. Results Both groups viewed an average of 19 URLs and cited an average of 1-2 in their essays Both groups reported engaging in similar evaluation practices Differences lie in quality of work
    7. 7. Results Copy/paste indicator of high proficiency Digital literacy similar to traditional literacy Digital literacy learned through deliberate practice rather than brief training
    8. 8. Conclusions Digital literacy requires more than access to information Deliberate practice that includes feedback and scaffolding can improve proficiency Future directions: research in synthesis; improve instruction and practice in synthesis
    9. 9. Thank you Additional questions and comments can be directed to monica.bulger@oii.ox.ac.uk To participate in further discussions about our work, please visit www.monicabulger.com

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