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Media and Information Literacy: creative and critical engagement across the curriculum and beyond university life


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Workshop presented by Sheila Webber and Bill Johnston at the "Transforming futures: International perspectives on Research-Based Education conference, University of Adelaide, Australia, 16 July 2019.

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Media and Information Literacy: creative and critical engagement across the curriculum and beyond university life

  1. 1. Media and Information Literacy: creative and critical engagement across the curriculum and beyond university life Sheila Webber (University of Sheffield) & Bill Johnston (Strathclyde University) Adelaide, July 2019
  2. 2. What is a University for? “We need to be able to articulate an understanding of what universities are for that is adequate to our time if we are to be able to decide what to do.” (Collini 2017, p. 4) Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  3. 3. Outline • Introduction • Presentation: MIL, IL, RBE and critical pedagogy – towards a synthesis • Activity 1: Identifying & sharing your existing practice • Activity 2: Identifying a focus for future development of your practice Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  4. 4. 1. Information Literacy Media & Information Literacy Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  5. 5. “Information literacy is the adoption of appropriate information behaviour to identify, through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs, leading to wise and ethical use of information in society.” Johnston & Webber, 2003 Also developed concept of the Information Literate University (Webber & Johnston, (2006). See also Webber & Johnston (2017) Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  6. 6. Distinctiveness of IL • All types of information (embodied, in the environment, print, digital; formal & informal; socially constructed & scholarly) • All types of engagement with information (searching, browsing, encountering, avoiding etc.) • All people (although most focus on role in formal education & workplaces) • Connection to organisations with roles in memory, heritage, community (e.g. libraries) Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  7. 7. UNESCO’s MIL concept “…empowers citizens to understand the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions as users and producers of information and media content.” (UNESCO, 2017) Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
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  9. 9. Distinctiveness added by MIL focus • Focus on human rights, social justice • Focus on media construction, ethics and responsibility of journalists and other media creators • Empowerment of citizens as creators, particularly young people and marginalised groups • Valuable tradition in ML of critical analysis of media bias in favour of the powerful e.g. Glasgow Media Group Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  10. 10. 2. MIL and Institutional Learning Strategy: The example of graduate attributes Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  11. 11. Selected Adelaide University Graduate Attributes1. “Deep discipline knowledge • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies 2. “Critical thinking and problem solving • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development 4. “Career and leadership readiness • technology savvy 5. “Intercultural and ethical competency • adept at operating in other cultures • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes • Demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges 6. “Self-awareness and emotional intelligence • A capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal • Able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate”
  12. 12. • Do not explicitly mention IL or MIL • Focus on discipline and evidence, not wider range of information for living your life? • Stopping at demands of discipline and employers and government? • However, “Intercultural and ethical competency” brings in wider social issues and attribute 6 brings in critical, reflective practice • Attributes will be translated into complex learning designs for RBL & MIL entailing cognitive, affective, epistemological and ontological experiences Outsiders’ brief observations in relation to MIL! Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  13. 13. 3. MIL & Critical Pedagogy Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  14. 14. Critical Pedagogy and the Literacy of Power • “reflection and action directed at the structures to be transformed.” (Freire 1974, p. 126) • Opening out the curriculum – beyond traditional focus on academic disciplines – beyond now-common focus on graduate attributes and employability • Encompassing challenge and opposition to oppressive forces of capitalism and neoliberal employability agenda Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  15. 15. Enriched MIL +CP (MIL+) concept of Learning • Reframes the digital context of society, education and culture to highlight the dynamics and encourage critical response • Blends critical understanding of news media with holistic understanding of information literacy to improve epistemological development • Emphasises civic reasoning and engagement • Develops agency, personhood and effective citizenship in the face of misinformation and oppressive social relations • Integrative concept (e.g. cross-cutting graduate attributes) Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  16. 16. “RBE builds on the foundations of a strong union of learning, teaching and research, infusing curricula with research advances and engaging students in learning and in co-creating new knowledge through the practices of inquiry of their disciplines.” (Conference website) 4. MIL+ and RBE Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  17. 17. Levy & Petrulis, 2012 “Modes of Inquiry- Based Learning” note: Developing IL is already an essential part of this model
  18. 18. Exploring existing knowledge: critical engagement with media & other non traditional sources; how it has been published; who published it and why; how it represents e.g. vulnerable groups, competing theories Tutor/ client framed inquiry: affecting nature of questions posed by tutors; purpose/ proposed impact of questions; recommended sources of information; way in which students supported; research approaches & frameworks privileged Student framed inquiry: affecting nature of questions; way of engaging with “subjects” of inquiry (including the self); research methods or theoretical frameworks Building knowledge: taking responsibility for the new knowledge: Ethical implications of dissemination (for participants, in terms of publication channels); Considering impact What MIL+ perspective brings in addition to the existing IL focus SheilaWebber&BillJohnston,2019
  19. 19. MIL+ added value is… • Frames Inquiry in relation to MIL perspectives; • Explicitly opening up whole world of media and information and the socio-cultural implications • Contributes specific generative topics (e.g. misinformation, social justice, privacy, media critique); • Qualifies Inquiry as an experience of civic engagement Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  20. 20. 5. Conclusion: MIL+ Universities … • Acknowledge and challenge the overbearing influence of neoliberal political economy on higher education in society by presenting reasoned alternatives • Develop capacity for informed citizenship in a digital media environment by increasing the stock of critical voices available to public debate • Position RBE/MIL in the curriculum as a vital contribution to education for local, national and international relations by innovating learning designs
  21. 21. Over to you: Activity 1 • Individually, note down any examples from your own practice that fit within the MIL/RBE model (5 minutes) • Share one or two examples (10 minutes) • Feedback a key example question or comment to the whole workshop (10 minutes) Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  22. 22. Looking forward: Activity 2 • Individually, identify how you might develop MIL/RBE in your own practice • Feedback Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019
  23. 23. Sheila Webber Information School University of Sheffield Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa Bill Johnston Honorary Research Fellow University of Strathclyde
  24. 24. • Collini, S. (2017). Speaking of universities. London: Verso. • Freire, P. (1974). Education for critical consciousness. London: Bloomsbbury Academic. • Johnston, B. and Webber, S. (2003). Information literacy in higher education: a review and case study. Studies in Higher Education, 28(3), 335-352. • Levy, P. & Petrulis, R. (2012). How do first-year university students experience inquiry and research, and what are the implications for the practice of inquiry- based learning? Studies in Higher Education, 37(1), 85-101. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2010.499166 • UNESCO (2017) 'MIL as Composite Concept', Communication and Information, UNESCO. information/media-development/media-literacy/mil-as-composite-concept/ • Webber, S. and Johnston, B. (2017). Information literacy: conceptions, context and the formation of a discipline. Journal of Information Literacy,11(1), 156-183. • Webber, S. and Johnston, B. (2006). Working towards the information literate university. In Walton, G. and Pope, A. (Eds) Information literacy: recognising the need. Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent: 17 May 2006. Oxford: Chandos. pp 47-58 Sheila Webber & Bill Johnston, 2019 References