Crossing the Threshold: Envisioning Information Literacy through the Lens of Metaliteracy


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Twitter is abuzz with comments about metaliteracy, threshold concepts, and frameworks. Information literacy is being reframed, reinvented, and reimagined in articles, books, conference presentations, and lively discussions in the field. What happened to the more traditional elements of information literacy and the iconic ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education? Why are these alternative models appearing now, and what do they bring to the conversation? This collaborative keynote will provide an opportunity to learn more about these new models, and to reflect on how they might inform your teaching and your students’ learning. We will explore these developments by highlighting key aspects of our new book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. Trudi Jacobson will also relate these questions to her work as Co-Chair of the ACRL Task Force that is shifting the original standards to a framework informed by a scaffolding of threshold concepts.

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  • Trudi
    Thrilled to be doing a collaborative keynote, embodies our work, thank you for inviting us
    Hope you will be as excited
    Remind you about Twitter
  • .Tom Key elements
  • Tom
  • Tom
    This is our visual model to explain Metaliteracy (pause)
    We see this as a flexible, circular model that builds on information literacy with new technologies and competencies (pause)
    Metaliteracy expands information literacy to include the ability to produce, participate, share, and collaborate in open learning and social media environments (pause)
    Metaliteracy also includes a central focus on metacognition, or the ability to think about one’s thinking.
    Today’s learner moves through these spheres from any direction rather than a traditional linear manner
  • Tom… mention the original article from 2011…
  • Tom
  • Tom: “Metaliteracy also includes a metacognitive component and openness to format and mode that is less pronounced
    in information literacy” (p. 6).
  • Tom: Pedagogical Consideration: “Metaliteracy promotes a very different teaching and learning dynamic that needs to be present in the teaching of both groups” (p. 3).
  • Tom
  • Tom
  • Tom: behavioral (what students should be able to do upon successful completion of learning activities—skills, competencies), cognitive (what students should know upon successful completion of learning activities—comprehension, organization, application, evaluation), affective (changes in learners’ emotions or attitudes through engagement with learning activities), and metacognitive (what learners think about their own thinking—a reflective understanding of how and why they learn, what they do and do not know, their preconceptions, and how to continue to learn). 

    Understands the process of creating and sharing information
    Recognizes gaps in knowledge
    Seeks new knowledge to adjust to challenging situations
    Adapts to changing technologies
    Continuously self-reflects
    Demonstrates empowerment through interaction, communication, and presentation
    Reflects on production and participation
  • Tom: Need to be on this slide by 9:40 or 9:45 (maybe?) presentation from 9:10-10:40, need to leave time for questions
  • Stephen Downes and gRSShopper aggretator
  • Trudi
  • Came from a grant, ML Learning Collaborative, one of several projects: developing badges for ML
    Similarly to developing a course, want to start with learning objectives, and this was no different
    Used the ML learning objectives, which have 4 goals, each of which has 5-11 learning objectives
  • Evaluation is a critical component of being IL, but ML extends this to info environments that are in flux. It requires a more nuanced ability set to be adept at assessing content that changes and accumulates additional layers through participation
  • A ML goal that overlaps with IL at this level, but looking at the objectives within the goal, there are decided differences from traditional understandings of this area.. Two examples:
    Differentiate between the production of original information and remixing or re-purposing open resources (C)
    Distinguish the kinds of information appropriate to reproduce and share publicly, and private information disseminated in more restricted/discreet environments (C)
  • Some divergence from IL, this supposes a more communal or social aspect to metaliteracy
  • Much overlap with IL at the goal level, but objectives themselves go beyond those found in traditional definitions of IL, for example

    Demonstrate self-empowerment through interaction and the presentation of ideas; gain the ability to see what is transferable, translatable, and teachable (learners are both students and teachers)  
  • The faculty and administrator introductions are written by our TF members from CNI and Middle States.
  • The designation “Frame” is new.
    Newest (potential) development—the assignments won’t appear in the document at all, but in another location until the sandbox Is ready
  • Long have heard that we don’t need to turn students into novice librarians, but actually, the key concepts we understand will only help them
  • Transformative—cause the learner to experience a shift in perspective;
    Integrative—bring together separate concepts (often identified as learning objectives) into a unified whole;
    Irreversible—once grasped, cannot be un-grasped;
    Bounded—may help define the boundaries of a particular discipline, are perhaps unique to the discipline;
    Troublesome—usually difficult or counterintuitive ideas that can cause students to hit a roadblock in their learning.
  • Really struggled with Searching as Exploration. It started out as the only one describing a behavior, rather than a key concept. There has been a great deal of discussion within the TF as to whether it truly is a TC. And yet there are important elements involved with it that we were loathe to ignore in this document. Information has Value, the TC that has not yet appeared in the draft (new draft coming imminently) proved troublesome because of the commodity aspect. We wanted to include it, but not to overemphasize it.
  • Want to talk about ML because it has also had a strong impact on our work, but it will be a bit more behind the scenes
  • Brief because we were originally trying to keep the introduction to 3-4 pages. It was written by 3 different people, and I was the one who took the call for brevity seriously. But that left this section somewhat unbalanced, with inadequate information and insufficient linkages to other text.

    Would like to thank Donna Witek, who is here at the conference, for her influential thinking on this topic.
  • Trudi
  • Crossing the Threshold: Envisioning Information Literacy through the Lens of Metaliteracy

    1. 1. Crossing the Threshold: Envisioning Information Literacy through the Lens of Metaliteracy 1 Trudi Jacobson & Tom Mackey #metaliteracy Our New Frontier: Metaliteracy, Threshold Concepts, New Standards, and Other Wild Ideas Friday, June 13, 2014 9:10am-10:40am Manchester Community College Manchester, Connecticut
    2. 2. We’ll speak about… • Metaliteracy (but of course!) – Badging • The IL Framework for Higher Education draft • Local Implementation 2
    3. 3. Produce Collaborate Participate Share Metacognition 3 Key Elements of Metaliteracy
    4. 4. Metacognition 4 _Thinker,_Auguste_Rodin.jpg “cognition about cognition or thinking about one’s own thinking…” Metacognition in Learning and Instruction: Theory, Research and Practice, Hope J. Hartman (2002)
    5. 5. 5 Figure developed by Mackey, Jacobson, & Roger Lipera Mackey and Jacobson (2014) Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners
    6. 6. • “promotes critical thinking and collaboration in a digital age” (p. 62). • “comprehensive framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities” (p. 62). • “unified construct that supports the acquisition, production, and sharing of knowledge in collaborative online communities” (p. 62). 6 Thomas P. Mackey and Trudi E. Jacobson “Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy” College & Research Libraries. January 2011 72:62-78.
    7. 7. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (Mackey and Jacobson, 2014). “Metaliteracy is not about introducing yet another literacy format, but rather reinventing an existing one, information literacy, the critical foundation literacy that informs many others while being flexible and adaptive enough to evolve and change over time” (p. 1-2).
    8. 8. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (Mackey and Jacobson, 2014). “While literacy is focused on reading and writing, and information literacy has strongly emphasized search and retrieval, metaliteracy is about what happens beyond these abilities to promote the collaborative production and sharing of information” (p. 6).
    9. 9. Metaliteracy: Advancing Learning After Literacy (Jacobson and Mackey, 2014):$!2c1).pdf “Students rarely see themselves as producers of information, only as consumers, even though they may be very creative with emerging technologies outside of school” (p. 3).
    10. 10. “In many cases, they have only produced papers meant solely for the eyes of their instructors. Writing for a broader audience, and working in collaboration with others, requires a new set of abilities” (p. 3). Metaliteracy: Advancing Learning After Literacy (Jacobson and Mackey, 2014):$!2c1).pdf
    11. 11. “Metaliteracy empowers learners to participate in interactive information environments, equipped with the ability to continuously reflect, change, and contribute as critical thinkers” (p. 86). (Jacobson and Mackey, Proposing a Metaliteracy Model to Redefine Information Literacy, 2013)
    12. 12. 12 Figure developed by Mackey, Jacobson and Roger Lipera Mackey and Jacobson (2014) Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners
    13. 13. Metaliteracy is Metacognitive “This metacognitive approach challenges a reliance on skills- based information literacy instruction only and shifts the focus to knowledge acquisition in collaboration with others” (p. 2). Mackey and Jacobson (2014) Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners 13 Judith Leyster Self-portrait, 1630
    14. 14. MOOC Talk: Bryan Alexander and Nicola Allain Metaliteracy MOOC
    15. 15. MOOC Talk: Sue Thomas and Michele Forte Metaliteracy MOOC
    16. 16. MOOC Talk: Paul Prinsloo, UNISA, South Africa Metaliteracy MOOC
    17. 17. • 554 registered participants • 454 received newsletters • 118 registered blogs • 72 blog posts • Students from 3 Information Literacy Courses at the University at Albany • 1 Graduate Student at Empire State College MOOC
    18. 18. Massive Open Online Courses cMOOC: “cMOOCs are discursive communities creating knowledge together.” • “Connectivism and Connectivist Knowledge (George Siemens and Stephen Downes) • Creativity & Multicultural Communication • Metaliteracy MOOC xMOOC “Whilst they include discussion forums…the centre of the course is the instructor-guided lesson. Each student’s journey/trajectory through the course is linear and based on the absorption and understanding of fixed competencies.” • EdX • Coursera • Canvas Network 18 what-is-a-mooc-what-are-the-different-types-of-mooc-xmoocs-and-cmoocs/
    19. 19. MOOC
    20. 20. Intent Reality 20 Designed for student engagement and connectivity, the thoughts of others serve as critical mechanism for learning Unfamiliar model, emphasizes self-directed choices, no set path; students severely flounder
    21. 21. Intent Reality 21 Collaboration between students from both institutions Lack of undergraduate enrollment for credit
    22. 22. Intent Reality 22 Active student engagement during synchronous MOOC Talks Submitted questions ahead of time and watched asynchronously (after original session)
    24. 24. Badging • Same idea as Scout badges • Competency-based learning • Elements of gaming (quests, challenges) • Designated badges are shareable (LinkedIn, online portfolios or resumes) • Associated metadata indicates issuing organization, describes knowledge or skills gained 24
    25. 25. Metaliteracy Learning Objectives Goal 1: Evaluate content critically, including dynamic, online content that changes and evolves, such as article preprints, blogs, and wikis. 25
    26. 26. Goal 2: Understand personal privacy, information ethics, and intellectual property issues in changing technology environments 26 Metaliteracy Learning Objectives
    27. 27. Goal 3: Share information and collaborate in a variety of participatory environments 27 Metaliteracy Learning Objectives
    28. 28. Goal 4: Demonstrate ability to connect learning and research strategies with lifelong learning processes and personal, academic, and professional goals 28 Metaliteracy Learning Objectives
    29. 29. 29 Master Evaluator Content Analysis Search Queries Info. Sources Database Searching Evaluation Points Currency Relevance Authority Accuracy Purpose Packaging & Sharing Format Mode Perpectives & Responses Author's Voice Degrees of Separation Giving Credit Collab- orative Creation Speaking Out Informed Consumer Individual Creation Peer Review User Response Master Evaluator Badge Feedback Mechanisms
    30. 30. 30
    31. 31. Preliminary Observations Students • Student engagement • Quality of submitted work • Interest in earning badge – “something unusual to discuss with interviewers” Faculty • Evident interest • Willingness to take the time to review 31
    32. 32. 32
    33. 33. 33
    34. 34. Major Elements of the Framework • New brief Introduction • How to Use the Framework • 6 Frames (Threshold Concept Units) • Further Readings & Glossary • Setting the Context • Introduction for Faculty and Administrators • Online Space (Sandbox) for Continuing Discussion and Ideas
    35. 35. Major Elements of the Framework • New definition of information literacy, informed by metaliteracy • Six Frames, each containing: • Threshold Concept with descriptions • Knowledge Practices/Abilities • Dispositions • Assignments (to be placed in online space or sandbox once the Framework is approved)
    36. 36. Threshold Concepts Hofer, Townsend, and Brunetti describe threshold concepts and their criteria, as based on the work of Jan Meyer and Ray Land: …Threshold concepts are the core ideas and processes in any discipline that define the discipline, but that are so ingrained that they often go unspoken or unrecognized by practitioner. They are the central concepts that we want our students to understand and put into practice, that encourage them to think and act like practitioners themselves. (Hofer, Townsend, and Brunetti, 2012, 387- 88) 36
    37. 37. 37 Why Threshold Concepts? “The Task Force chose to use threshold concepts as an approach to frame deeper thinking about the role of information literacy in the curriculum, and to move the focus of practice from skills to development of knowledge about the role of information in students’ fields of study and in society.“
    38. 38. 38 “Threshold concepts reflect the perspective of experts in our profession on the most important concepts in our field, and also provide a developmental trajectory for assisting our students in moving from novice to experts in using and understanding information in a wide variety of contexts.” Why Threshold Concepts?
    39. 39. 39 Threshold Concepts Transformative Integrative Irreversible Bounded Troublesome (Hofer, Townsend, and Brunetti, 2012, 387-88), quoting Meyer and Land
    40. 40. IL Threshold Concepts (Six Frames) 40 Scholarship is a Conversation Research is Inquiry Authority is Constructed and Contextual Format as a Process Searching as Exploration Information has Value The concepts were identified through an ongoing Delphi study being conducted by L. Townsend, A. R. Hofer, S. Lu, and K. Brunetti
    42. 42. First Framework Draft • Metaliteracy section in the introduction was too brief • Metaliteracy learning objectives included with each threshold concept: caused confusion
    43. 43. Upcoming Draft • Elements of metaliteracy learning objectives integrated into knowledge practices/abilities and dispositions (in 2nd release for those 2 threshold concepts) • Draft new definition of IL incorporating elements from metaliteracy • Metaliteracy is referenced in the new introduction, as well as in Setting the Context
    44. 44. New Definition (draft) • Information literacy is a repertoire of understandings, practices, and dispositions focused on flexible engagement with the information ecosystem, underpinned by critical self-reflection. The repertoire involves finding, evaluating, interpreting, managing, and using information to answer questions and develop new ones; and creating new knowledge through ethical participation in communities of learning, scholarship, and practice.
    45. 45. AGAINST ALL ODDS… Local Implementation 45
    46. 46. Upper level IL requirement in the major Department responsibility New learning objectives New conversations 46 General Education Competency Requirements
    47. 47. New Metaliteracy inspired learning objectives at UAlbany 2. “Demonstrate the ability to evaluate content, including dynamic, online content if appropriate” 4. “Produce, share, and evaluate information in a variety of participatory environments” 5. “Integrate learning and research strategies with lifelong learning processes and personal, academic, and professional goals” 47
    48. 48. Upper level IL requirement in the major Threshold concept badging within disciplines? 48 System-wide implementation?
    49. 49. 49 Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) + “Designing Innovative Online Learning: Integrating a Coursera MOOC with Open SUNY Badging” integrating-a-coursera-mooc-with-open-suny-badging/ Our next project…
    50. 50. QUESTIONS? 50
    51. 51. Metaliteracy means that YOU can be a Rock Star! 51
    52. 52. ALA Editions Workshop • Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners • A 90-minute workshop, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 2:30pm Eastern 52
    53. 53. 53 Trudi E. Jacobson, M.L.S., M.A. Distinguished Librarian Head, Information Literacy Department University Libraries University at Albany, SUNY Tom Mackey, Ph.D. Dean Center for Distance Learning Empire State College, SUNY