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Teaching Metaliteracy in the Post-Truth World


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This presentation introduced metaliteracy and its critical role in today’s post-truth world. Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented Ideas for incorporating discipline-based teaching of metaliteracy, from the development of metaliteracy learning outcomes to the design of collaborative teaching and learning opportunities. Participants gained insights about how to promote metaliterate learning academically and through lifelong learning.

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Teaching Metaliteracy in the Post-Truth World

  1. 1. 1 Trudi Jacobson and Thomas Mackey #metaliteracy Teaching Metaliteracy to Empower Learners in a Post-Truth World The Quality of Life Lecture Series LSU College of Human Sciences & Education School of Library and Information Science Center for Computation and Technology’s Theatre April 13, 2018
  2. 2. What we’ll talk about • The Post-Truth World • Metaliteracy • Teaching for Metaliteracy • Information Literacy, Librarians & Collaborations • Q & A 2
  5. 5. 5 post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.
  6. 6. “In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world” (Tesich, 1992, p. 13). 6 Tesich, Steve. 1992. The Watergate Syndrome: A Government of Lies. The Nation. (January). 12-14.
  7. 7. “Post-truthfulness exists in an ethical twilight zone. It allows us to dissemble without considering ourselves dishonest” (Keyes, 2004, p. 13). 7 Keyes, Ralph. 2004. The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  8. 8. • “fake news website production and consumption was overwhelmingly pro-Trump in its orientation” (Guess, Nyhan, and Reifler, 2018, p. 10-11) • “Facebook played an important role in directing people to fake news websites” (Guess, Nyhan, and Reifler, 2018, p. 11) • “fact-checking failed to effectively counter fake news” (Guess, Nyhan, and Reifler, 2018, p. 11) 8 Guess, Andrew, Brendan Nyhan, and Jason Reifler. 2018. Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
  9. 9. “Our “digital natives” may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped” (p. 4). 9 Wineburg, Sam and McGrew, Sarah and Breakstone, Joel and Ortega, Teresa. (2016). Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:
  10. 10. “At present, we worry that democracy is threatened by the ease at which disinformation about civic issues is allowed to spread and flourish” (p. 5). 10 Wineburg, Sam and McGrew, Sarah and Breakstone, Joel and Ortega, Teresa. (2016). Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:
  11. 11. Actively evaluate content while also evaluating one’s own biases 11NYTimes:
  12. 12. “seeking out and interpreting data in a way that strengthens our preestablished opinions” (Sharot, 2017, p. 22). “Established beliefs can be extremely resistant to change, even when scientific evidence is provided to undermine those beliefs” (Sharot, 2017, p. 15). 12 Sharot, Tali. 2017. The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
  13. 13. “We are post-truth because we already have and possess our truths. This has only been amplified by the postmodern condition, whose little narratives serve as impenetrable bastions of certainty” (Kirkpatrick, 2017, p. 331). 13 Kirkpatrick, Andrew. 2017. Understanding in a Post-truth World: Comprehension and Co-Naissance as Emphatic Antidotes to Post-Truth Politics. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy. 312-335.
  14. 14. “Metaliterate learners are critically engaged researchers who can contribute to discourse and who can also successfully navigate the information landscape that is riddled with fake news, alternative facts, biases, and counterknowledge.” - Nicole Cooke, 2017, p. 219 14 Cooke, Nicole. A. (2017). Posttruth, Truthiness, and Alternative Facts: Information Behavior and Critical Information Consumption for a New Age. Library Quarterly, (3), 211.
  15. 15. 15 Engage with all intellectual property ethically and responsibly
  16. 16. 16 Produce and share information in collaborative and participatory environments
  17. 17. Protect personal privacy and actively secure your online information 17 87 Million Users Exposed to Cambridge Analytica
  19. 19. • Promotes critical thinking and collaboration • Provides a framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities • Supports acquiring, producing, and sharing knowledge in collaborative online communities 19 Thomas P. Mackey and Trudi E. Jacobson “Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy.” College & Research Libraries. January 2011 72:62-78.
  20. 20. “…metaliteracy focuses on adaptability as information environments change, and the critical reflection necessary to recognize new and evolving needs in order to remain adept” (Preface, p. xv-xvi). Metaliteracy in Practice (Jacobson and Mackey, 2016).
  21. 21. Metaliteracy in Practice (Jacobson and Mackey, 2016). “Metaliteracy applies to all stages and facets of an individual’s life. It is not limited to the academic realm, nor is it something learned once and for all” (Preface, p. xv).
  22. 22. 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).
  23. 23. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (Mackey and Jacobson, 2014). “The use of the term metaliteracy suggests a way of thinking about one’s own literacy. To be metaliterate requires individuals to understand their existing literacy strengths and areas for improvement and make decisions about their learning” (p. 2).
  24. 24. Four Domains of Metaliteracy 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). 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) Behavioral: what students should be able to do upon successful completion of learning activities— skills, competencies Mackey and Jacobson (2014) Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners
  25. 25. Learner Roles Mackey and Jacobson (2014) Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners
  26. 26. I’d love to see my students take on the role of… Quick Reflection
  28. 28. • Foster lifelong learning competencies for self-regulation and learner agency • Require a supportive pedagogy for students to take on active roles as participants, contributors and teachers • Encourage reflective, student-centered learning, and critical engagement • Inspire students to take ownership of their learning 28 O’Brien, K., Forte, M., Mackey, T. P., Jacobson, T.E., “Metaliteracy as Pedagogical Framework for Learner-Centered Design in Three MOOC Platforms: Connectivist, Coursera and Canvas.” Vol. 9, No. 3. Open Praxis. 2017. as Pedagogical Framework
  29. 29. Develop learning strategies to meet lifelong personal and professional goals
  30. 30. Recognize that learners are also teachers and teach what you know or learn 30
  31. 31. Metaliteracy as Pedagogical Framework for Learner-Centered Design in Three MOOC Platforms: Connectivist, Coursera and Canvas “Metacognition is a key learning domain within metaliteracy. Metaliteracy as a pedagogy can therefore support the connectivist focus on autonomous and self- regulated learners, as learners who do not reflect on their thinking and learning are incapable of self- regulation” (O’Brien, Forte, Mackey, and Jacobson, 2017).
  32. 32. Open Pedagogy • Open is a purposeful path towards connection and community • Open pedagogy is a blend of strategies, technologies, and networked communities that make the process and product of education more transparent, understandable and available to all involved • Increased adoption of open pedagogy would lead to more cross-institutional collaborations Mary Grush, Open Pedagogy: Connection, Community, and Transparency: A Q & A with Tom Woodward. 2014. Https:// 32
  33. 33. Open Learning “The next step in the revolutionary potential of the OER movement is in using technology to make instruction, as well as materials, accessible to the widest possible audience of learners and, at the same time, improve teaching and learning” (Thille, 165). Opening Up Education Edited by Iiyoshi and Kumar (2008)
  34. 34. The Metaliteracy Badges
  35. 35. 35 Information Literacy, Role for Librarians and Collaborations
  36. 36. 36 U of SC, Aiken
  37. 37. Scholarship as Conversation Communities of scholars, researchers or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations. Knowledge Practices Dispositions 37
  38. 38. Role for Librarians Librarians and libraries can contribute to their institutions most significantly in the future by fostering communities of inquiry that model a discourse of trust, where: • experts and authorities are questioned and interrogated with respect and with informed skepticism; Gibson and Jacobson. Habits of Mind in an Uncertain World. RUSQ, 57(3): 191. 38
  39. 39. Role for Librarians • where those communities of inquiry include colleagues within and beyond the library, as well as community members and alumni; and • where students themselves join those communities and grapple with big challenges and the confusing welter of the scholarly information landscape in appropriately calibrated ways Gibson and Jacobson. Habits of Mind in an Uncertain World. RUSQ, 57(3): 191. 39
  40. 40. Collaborations Librarians and disciplinary faculty bring unique strengths to the: – Teaching of metaliteracy and information literacy – Analysis and evaluation of information – Application of metaliteracy learning goals and objectives – Integration of Open Educational Resources (OERs) – Sharing ideas about instructional design and emerging pedagogical technologies – Development of open, innovative pedagogies It is only by working closely together that an in-depth, sustained, and effective educational effort will occur 40
  41. 41. QUESTIONS? 41
  42. 42. Thomas Mackey, Ph.D. Professor of Humanities and Arts Department of Literature, Communication, and Cultural Studies SUNY Empire State College @TomMackey Trudi Jacobson, M.L.S., M.A. Distinguished Librarian Head, Information Literacy Department University Libraries University at Albany, SUNY @PBKTrudi 42Follow us at