Friday, August 21, 2015

Facebook is Broken

I posted the following as a Facebook 'status update' on August 19, 2015, edited a bit to add an image and links where applicable. It came after a 2-month hiatus I took from the website, and its purpose was to both explain the reason for the hiaitus and to describe my approach to Facebook moving forward. 

As readers of the blog will know, Facebook has been one of my primary objects of research study for six years, and yet I don't think I've blogged much about my personal approach to the site. The following characterizes much of my current position, perspective, and approach to Facebook as a user. 

Facebook is broken, or, dispatches from the bank of the stream...

Facebook is broken for me because my reasons for visiting this platform are no longer supported by the platform's functionality and the values built into its design.

If I could set up my Facebook feed(s) so that I only see original photos and text-based status updates posted manually by the people I care about, Facebook would not be broken for me. Believe it or not, iterations ago these global filters existed on the main News Feed for all of us, as I’m sure many will remember.

Of course they are long gone, because to provide those options cuts against Facebook’s relationship to its paying customers: advertisers.

So, well over a year ago, as a 'hack' to take back a little control, I created 'friends lists' which served as 'channels' where I bypassed two frustrating behaviors of the News Feed: 1) visiting a list enables you to see ALL updates from those added to it (so, no algorithm determines what is worthy of being made visible), and, 2) there were filters for post types that could be applied globally to each list. Oh, and list feeds have no ads.

This set-up worked for over a year for me. Until one day, the filters disappeared. Suddenly, my list feeds started featuring 'such and such [friend] is now friends with so and so [stranger]' and 'help this person level up in their game [BIG IMAGE FROM GAME]'.

Then, politics happened--well, it's always happening, but the news cycle did a thing (a few things actually), and the result was more polarization among and between my multiple communities than the 'normal' amount I had grown to bear in my own way on this site and others like it.

And not just polarization, but the visual rhetorical presentation of positions that seemed (please note ‘seemed’, not ‘did’; this is an important distinction) to resist the fact that every 'issue' in this messed up, broken world is complex. End stop.

Put another way, I began to perceive, through and on Facebook-as-platform, positions on issues in our world presenting themselves as simple, self-evident, and obvious, when in reality they are anything but.

This type of visual rhetorical presentation (writ large, taking many forms, and articulating diverse positions) became painful for me (physically, in my chest, at times)--it's the cognitive and affective dissonance of *knowing*, through lived experience, that something is far more complex than how you’re seeing it rhetorically presented before your eyes--making it hard for me to engage on Facebook and sites like it for a time.

And then I began to realize, this platform--Facebook--is in fact built, designed, and programmed to eliminate complexity in the visual rhetorical presentation of shared information on this site.

[NB: This observation complicates the heck out of all of the research I’ve been doing for six years now with Teresa Grettano about information literacy practices and behaviors on sites like Facebook [Added editorial note: those are five different links btw.]. But that’s okay: 'complex' is clearly where it’s at for me, these days and always.]

So, I just can't do it anymore, where 'it' means trying to get this tool I've studied as both a researcher and a user, since 2009 and 2005 respectively, to work the way I wish it did.

I've decided not to leave Facebook entirely though, because the other thing I realized during my Facebook hiatus this summer is that I do still wish to share things about my home life, my family, and some things about work (though FYI: most of my work-related sharing is on Twitter these days), with the people I've chosen to connect with on here.

I also use this account as a network node where I connect with those persons I want a way to be in contact with, whether they be new professional colleague-friends or other types of cool folks I meet and get to know through and in my days. I plan to continue to utilize the site in this manner.

But, I'm giving myself permission to do something I've never done on here before: I am going to share what I want to share, with no plans to view everyone else's posts *in aggregate* (that is, via any feed-type options this site offers users--because, as I said, they are all broken for me, for one reason or another).

Instead, I'll be keeping up with folks individually, deliberately, and mindfully, by visiting your profiles directly.

Basically, I'm stepping out of the stream, but still want to camp out on the bank and do my own thing at my own camp, so to speak, and visit your camps directly from now on (house calls!), versus trying to have a meaningful meeting while caught up in the current.

And I definitely welcome visits to my little section of the stream bank by folks who are interested in what is happening in my life. <3

I wanted to share this news explicitly because I have never *not* been in the communal 'stream' before on here, except during my two explicit hiatuses, a year ago (for two weeks) and this summer.

Oh, and a related PSA: Facebook messages are now the near worst way to get in touch with me--the worst way probably being via phone (I know, I know). I don’t use the Facebook message app and never will. So, I will do my best to catch up on any Facebook messages that have come in over the summer (when I have time), but all in all, you’re better off emailing me than messaging me on here anymore.

So, now that I've shared my new approach to Facebook, starting tomorrow I plan to begin playing catch-up by posting about all the cool things that have happened over the summer since I took my Facebook hiatus at the end of June.

What’s funny is, I know the Facebook News Feed algorithm isn’t going to favor my posts much, especially since I’m going to be sharing quite a few in quick succession over the next week or so. So consider this post an invitation to visit my profile from time to time to see what I’m up to. :)

And, I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you, in a manner that also protects the peace I've found over here on the stream bank. <3

rocky stream and mossy banks
Image by Flickr user keithius via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0* (human readable version of license here)
*This license requires that remixed, transformed, or built upon versions of this image need to be licensed CC BY-NC-SA as well (the SA stands for "share alike"). Although I don't believe I've done any of these things by linking to the originally hosted version of the image, just to be safe, this post on my blog is licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Making the Information Literacy ‘One-Shot’ Ignatian

What follows is the culminating project I proposed as a result of my participation in the Ignatian Pedagogy Seminar on my campus on August 3-7, 2015, a transformative experience to say the least. It describes the ways in which I plan to incorporate what I learned during the seminar into my instructional activities. 

My experience participating in the Ignatian Pedagogy Seminar this summer has set the direction for the next phase of my broader research agenda into the relationship between pedagogy, technology, and the humanity of learners. As a first step in this process, I propose the following project as a culmination of my participation in the seminar in summer 2015.

My plan is to use the 5-point Ignatian pedagogical paradigm (Ignatian Pedagogy—An Abridged Version [pdf] [IPP], 2014) as a framework for infusing Ignatian vision and pedagogy into the primary type of instruction I deliver as a faculty librarian: ‘one-shot’ information literacy instruction. ‘One-shot’ information literacy instruction refers to instruction by a librarian on information literacy[1] topics, skills, and concepts to students in a course as a guest presentation within the course schedule. The students only see the librarian in the classroom context once throughout the semester, which makes developing a relationship-based rapport with students a challenge. When done well, the ‘one-shot’ can be effective, but it requires that the librarian collaborate in advance with the course instructor on learning outcomes for the information literacy instruction session, assignment design for the research-based assignment(s) within the course, and assessment of student learning as a result of the session. There must be visible[2] mutual respect between the librarian and the course instructor for the ‘one-shot’ to work, but even when collaboration based on this respect occurs, pedagogical choices by the librarian are limited in scope to what can be accomplished in either 50 or 75 minutes.

In the 5-point Ignatian pedagogical paradigm, the first and last points—context and evaluation—are more difficult to apply concretely and pedagogically within the ‘one-shot’ model of instruction, though a few things can be said about each in relation to information literacy instruction that aims to be infused with Ignatian methods and vision.

Context, in which the teacher seeks to “understand the world of the student” (IPP, 2014, p.4) including the context in which learning occurs, is something on the one hand librarians are always doing: we both select and use the same research tools our students will be using to accomplish their research, and we can develop empathy for novice researchers based on that shared experience. Making this shared experience explicit within instruction is one strategy for making information literacy instruction more Ignatian. On the other hand, we often lack knowledge of the course context within which the information literacy instruction will take place: we are not their primary instructors, and we exist outside of the dynamics, rapport, and content knowledge they are developing through and in the course. A simple way to begin to address this is to reach out to the course instructor in advance and request a copy of the syllabus and course schedule, so the librarian can see how their information literacy instruction will fit within the bigger picture of the course as a whole.

Evaluation, which is the final point of the paradigm, refers to teachers evaluating the progress of students toward their learning goals. This is especially challenging for a librarian delivering ‘one-shot’ instruction because we do not typically have access to the student work that demonstrates that progress has been achieved. That being said, there are simple ways the librarian can provide timely and formative student feedback even within the ‘one-shot’ framework of instruction, including building into the session an activity that results in some form of student work—even if it is process-based and ‘unfinished’—which the librarian can review and respond to in the weeks following the session. This kind of feedback loop requires collaboration with the course instructor to facilitate getting the feedback to the students in a timely manner, but is worthwhile in that it would enable the librarian to complete the 5-point Ignatian paradigm in an explicit manner with students so they see the value of all five points and have an opportunity to grow in response to instructor feedback.

The middle three points of the paradigm—experience, reflection, and action—offer compelling analogs to the research process, which information literacy instruction aims to develop awareness of in students, and are the points I plan to incorporate into my ‘one-shot’ instruction most explicitly in Fall 2015 and beyond. I see this playing out in the following manner:

  • Experience: Students need to experience, in a hands-on/applied manner (i.e., direct experience (IPP, 2014, p.5)), what it is like to ‘do research’, even before I’ve taught them anything, since the research process as I teach it is recursive and always happening, whether they are doing academic course work or running a quick Google search to find the hours for their favorite coffee shop.
  • Reflection: Students need to reflect on what they already know, through the research experiences they’ve already had (including those prompted by their instructors), in order to determine if their approach needs revision in order to achieve their goal for the research. Reflection in this context will benefit from facilitation by the teacher (in this case, the librarian), who has already internalized the outcomes students are developing through the activity—we might call this ‘reflection with a purpose’.
  •  Action: Through structured reflection, students can create a revised research strategy in order to better meet their identified need, which they can then ‘test’ by putting it into action. The research strategy the librarian hopes students will develop as a result of information literacy instruction is not the one deployed during the initial experience phase, but the one developed and implemented at this, the action phase. In this way the experience phase serves as a safe space for students to try something, have it ‘fail’, and revise based on what is observed as a result of it not working as expected.
It is also worth noting that this process is always recursive (repetitio): the experience-reflection-action cycle can and should occur many times throughout the research process, with each cycle resulting in a more focused and effective research strategy for the topic or question the student is researching.

Practically speaking, I will try out the following concrete strategies to accomplish making the above pedagogical goals explicit for students:

  • Collaborate in advance with the course instructor, via email and in person if needed. This includes requesting a copy of the course syllabus, as well as any research-based assignment prompts students will be working from at the time of the information literacy instruction. These materials will assist me with the context point in the paradigm.
  • Develop a ‘flipped’ classroom activity, in collaboration with the course instructor, designed to give students an initial research experience from which our classroom session will draw. This initial activity would need to be assigned as homework by the course instructor during the class meeting prior to their information literacy instruction with me.
  • During the ‘one-shot’ information literacy session, devote time to a structured reflection activity in which students reflect on what worked and what didn’t during their initial experience activity (see bullet point above). This could be either oral or written (or both).
  • During the second half of the ‘one-shot’ information literacy session, develop and guide students through a template for developing a revised research strategy they can put into action, based on the ideas discovered communally in the reflection activity. 
  • Evaluation could take one of two forms: either the reflection or action activities may have a written component which I could collect and evaluate in the weeks following the session, or a collaborative assessment of students’ final work for the research-based assignment(s) could be arranged with the course instructor. 
Finally, in order to make the above points of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm explicit for the students, I propose to develop a short, one-page handout that outlines the 5-point Ignatian pedagogical paradigm and how each point relates to the research process. I am undecided as to whether I would distribute this handout in advance of my instruction (through the ‘flipped’ classroom/experience activity), or at the end of my instruction session with the students, retroactively revealing the connections between the activities we just accomplished together and the Ignatian aspect of their education here at the university. When and how I share the handout will likely depend on how complex and time-consuming the activities wind up being, and the needs of each particular course.

I teach many ‘one-shot’ information literacy instruction sessions, in courses ranging from T/RS 121: Introduction to the Bible to WRTG 107: Composition (First-Year Writing). Upper-level and disciplinary courses I sometimes deliver ‘one-shot’ instruction to are in departments as diverse as English & Theatre, Theology/Religious Studies, Sociology/Criminal Justice, and Women’s Studies. My goal will be to challenge myself to deploy as many of the above strategies in as many of my ‘one-shots’ as possible, understanding that not every instruction context is suitable for every strategy outlined above.

I am excited about this challenge, as I believe it will make my ‘one-shot’ instruction more effective, transferrable (skills- and dispositions-wise), and fulfilling for all involved: myself (the librarian), the course instructor, and of course the students.


Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
Image by Flickr user theologhia via
CC BY-NC 2.0 (human readable summary here)


Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 2015. Association of College and Research Libraries.

Ignatian Pedagogy—An Abridged Version. 2014. Jesuit Institute. [pdf].

[1] “Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning” (Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education).
[2] To students.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Zinemaking My Burnout

This piece was orginally written for and is cross-posted at Academic Library Instruction Burnout. Special thanks to Maria Accardi for encouraging me to write this! And thank you also to Kelly McElroy and Jenna Freedman, two of my zine librarian pals, for your encouragement and guidance in both creating and making available my first zine

Under this blog’s title is a tagline and an invitation: “what we talk about when we talk about burnout”. 

So, let’s talk.

I’m burnt out on assessment. 

Many who read this particular blog will likely see that statement and say, “Oh yes, indeed, been there (and maybe still am).” This helps me, because believe it or not, I am not in the mood to use words to analyze why I’m burnt out on assessment. Most of it feels too self-evident for me to do that productively. 

But even for the parts that aren’t self-evident, writing words about why assessment, as it is structurally and institutionally handed down to librarians like me (which may not be the ‘ideal’ of what assessment could be, but is still my present reality)...writing words about this isn’t going to help me right now, because at the end of all those potential words, I still need to do assessment.

Words can be powerful. The act of naming things helps us understand them better. And by understanding them, we may* have the capability of doing something about them (i.e., reflection into action).

But the words I have inside me, in reference to assessment, are a mess that I’m not ready to shape into something fit for public consumption.

So I made a zine instead.

This is the part I’m excited to talk about in this post about what we talk about when we talk about burnout. (Try saying that three times fast!)

I took a thing I feel, in ways that are pretty big and overwhelming, and I turned it into a tangible thing that tells a small part of the story of what’s happening inside me in reference to assessment. And it helped.

There are of course words in my zine--including what can only be described as bad (but satisfying!) poetry, written by yours truly. So words certainly helped me along here. But zinemaking also involved cutting with scissors, writing things out in pen, drawing pictures with highlighters, and shaping the space that falls between the boundaries of the zine template I chose to use to tell the story I need it to tell.

The specific aspect of assessment I'm burnt out on right now is rubrics--writing them, teaching with them, and scoring them.

So I turned my burnout about rubrics into a zine.

This process challenged me to shape my burnout into something others can see and engage with, and my feelings about this one part of assessment have now been named, not through a detailed text-based analysis, but through and in a zine. Which I made out of my burnout.

It’s the best act of self care I’ve done this summer (with a close second going to taking up coloring). And Maria has encouraged me to share it with all of you.

My zine is called Outside the Lines, and over in my little corner of the internet you can access it, trade for it, or buy it at cost. Here’s the tagline I wrote for it:

A zine about the liminal spots on the page where learning / understanding / living / loving / making / doing / being must sprawl outside the lines in order to actually happen.

And here’s a sneak peak at the cover (scanned in color for digital viewing):

Using that red highlighter was sooooo satisfying.

There are so many things in my life, both professional and personal, to which this idea--this tension between order and sprawl--applies. Rubrics are the topic of volume 1, issue 1. I’m hoping to create a new issue twice a year on a different topic each time.

I want to make zinemaking a part of my praxis as an academic instruction librarian (to bring this back around to the project of this blog). I learned this summer that taking my burnout, and turning it into something material that tells at least a small part of the story going on inside me, helps me see it clearer, understand it better, and shifts my feelings toward it from burneverythingdownrightnowrageragerage, to “hey, look at this rad thing I made out of that crappy feeling”.

It’s hard to explain why this shift matters, but it does. It makes it so I can face fall semester, during which I know I will have to write, teach with, or score at least one new rubric. It also makes it so I can go through fall semester keeping an eye out for other things about which I have that ragey feeling, so I can target those things as topics for future zines, transforming my feelings about them into something satisfying and tangible to share with others.

It’s like I have a new twice-a-year therapist, made out of paper, post-its, pens, scissors, glue, and highlighters. So even when I can’t write out in detailed language what my burnout is like, I’ll now be able to talk about my burnout through the regular act of zinemaking.

And knowing this makes facing my next task involving (effing) rubrics palatable.

*I say “may” because, even if analysis leads to deeper understanding about a problem, and even if that in turn leads to ideas for how to change the situation to make it better, so often there are structural barriers in place that make putting these ideas into action impossible or close to it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Recognition for "Teaching metaliteracy" and SoTL

Posting a brief update to share a few exciting things that have happened in the past few months.

First, my article "Teaching metaliteracy: a new paradigm in action," authored with my co-everything and dear friend Teresa Grettano, and published in 2014 in Reference Services Review 42.2, has been recognized for two different awards and honors.
In addition to the final publication version, linked above and freely available for one year, our post-print version of the article can also be accessed freely and openly at this link.*

This was the article Teresa and I wrote after the first run of our co-designed and co-taught course, Rhetoric & Social Media. In it we describe the effects of social media use on students' information behaviors, attitudes, and practices, including that: 1) information now comes to users; 2) information recall and attribution are now social; 3) evaluation is now social; and, 4) information is now open. 

This article also develops further in the literature the relationship between information literacy and metaliteracy, by presenting our findings through the lens of Mackey and Jacobson's emergent metaliteracy framework

In addition to the above recognition for our article, Teresa and I were both awarded by our Provost Faculty Enhancement Awards for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning this past Spring 2015. 

The citation that accompanied both of our awards described our work in our Rhetoric & Social Media course, which has now ran four times since we first created it, as well as our "Teaching metaliteracy" article, as evidence of our excellent work in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). More information about the Provost's Faculty Enhancement Awards can be found at this link (scroll down to item III.), and the list of 2015 winners in all categories (not just SoTL) are viewable here.

These SoTL awards were a complete surprise to both of us: we didn't even know we were nominated. And, we found out while in Portland, OR for ACRL 2015, where we were co-facilitating a workshop about writing and information literacy collaboration--so, in other words, doing the very work abroad we were being recognized for back home. All of our colleagues who attended the awards dinner heard our names announced and texted us the news, which was a surreal experience to say the least. 

And, believe it or not, this recognition comes with a $1500 award to be put toward any activity or equipment that will directly contribute to my continued professional success (!!!). I plan to use it to buy an iPad, which I will use to begin experimenting with doing my research-reading digitally (including highlights and annotations).   

All in all, it's been a very rewarding (~rimshot~) past few months that have made me feel fortunate and blessed that I get to do the work I do, with the people I get to do it with. 

And the above awards and recognitions are all the more valuable to me because they are evidence of the power and awesomeness of collaborative partnerships like the one I share with Teresa. #partnas4lyfe 

Phew, onward and upward!

*Edited 7/15/15 to add a note to say: Please excuse errors in the final publication version of "Teaching metaliteracy" introduced by Emerald's copyeditors in the final stage of the publication process. Teresa and I were not given the option to review proofs before the article went to print, and attempts to have the final publication version corrected have not been successful. For this reason, while the Emerald version is the better version to cite, it may be that our author-archived post-print version is easier to read. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Flexible Frames for Pedagogical Practice: Using the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

This is an experiment in sharing my work, and in effect the contents of my brain, in a manner that is "unfinished" (please be kind!). What follows are my slides and speaking notes for a presentation I gave yesterday at the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association's 2015 Spring Conference. The presentation is called Flexible Frames for Pedagogical Practice: Using the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 

The first thing below is the embedded Slideshare of my slidedeck, which is useful because all of the citation links on the slides themselves are clickable within the Slideshare version. Below that are the static slide images, each followed by my notes for that slide. Obviously I did not read these notes verbatim, but they contain the information I intended to share over each slide; generally speaking, text that does not have a linked citation within or after it are ideas that are my own. Text in bold were points I wanted to be sure to include and emphasize in my verbal presentation.

I don't have time to prose-ify these, so I am sharing them in their raw form in the hope that they may be of use to others. To this end, I am licensing the content in this blog post CC BY-NC 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial: full license; human-readable summary).



Point out Twitter handle.

Point out hashtag.

Ask how many people have read the Framework.

Ask how many people have begun to use the Framework (however they define “use”).

[Explain rationale for content of presentation today.]

For today’s presentation, I am using the term “theory” loosely.  

  • “a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizable thinking, or the results of such thinking”
  • “generalized explanations of how nature works”
  • “an explanatory framework for some observation”
  • “a thoughtful and rational explanation of the general nature of things”
Today I am using it to mean the theoretical background information about learning / information / information literacy learning that will better enable the practitioner to achieve the goals of information literacy instruction (as well as to define what those goals are/should be).

Engagement with theory leads to praxis.

  • “the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized”
  • “the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas”
  • “a form of critical thinking [that] comprises the combination of reflection and action”
“Practice” vs. “praxis”: practice is doing without thinking/learning before and reflecting after; while praxis necessitates the practitioner engaging new ideas, putting them into practice, and then reflecting on how it went in order to know and do it (the practice) more deeply and effectively the next time. 
  • Here we are referring to our INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICE/PRAXIS.
  • Many of us have been doing praxis for years, so this is not to minimize the information literacy instructional practice of our communities prior to the Framework; however, for the first time the Framework requires we move from practice to praxis
  1. Theory Crash Course
  2. Praxis with the Framework
    • An Excursus on Learning Outcomes + a practical example from my own praxis
  3. Activity in which we can hopefully put these approaches into practice/praxis as a group

What are the major theoretical approaches to the Framework?
  • Threshold Concept Theory (“TC theory”)
  • Understanding by Design (UbD, “backward design”)
  • Metaliteracy
  • Critical Information Literacy (“crit IL”, #critlib)
These are the four most prevalent: there could be others though!

These were/are intentionally invoked by practitioners before/during/after the Framework’s development.

This diversity is a GOOD thing: you don’t need to buy into any one of them completely to still thoughtfully USE the Framework in your praxis. 
  • Example: I don’t fully buy into TC theory, though I do find aspects of it useful as a way to understand and communicate information literacy concepts and learning to both students and colleagues.

Jan Meyer and Ray Land (2003) first introduce this approach and term through research about learning in the discipline of economics. 

Korey Brunetti, Amy Hofer, & Lori Townsend bring this approach to information literacy through their ongoing research (2015), first published in portal: Libraries and the Academy in 2011.

“Threshold concepts are the core ideas and processes that define the ways of thinking and practicing for a discipline, but are so ingrained that they often go unspoken or unrecognized by practitioners” (Townsend, Brunetti, & Hofer, 2011).

Characteristics (Meyer & Land, 2003): transformative (shift in perspective), integrative (separate ideas into unifying whole), irreversible (cannot be un-learned), troublesome (counterintuitive and thus often where students get stuck), and bounded (may help define the boundary of a knowledge domain or discipline)

Imagery and phrases often associated with TC theory: thresholds, liminality, stuck places, “ah ha” or “lightbulb” moments

  • TC theory situates IL within the disciplines.
  • And yet, “TCs for IL” are in fact meta-TCs because they are being defined FOR IL (which is a meta-discipline/community of practice), which means they are shared across disciplines, and yet they LOOK DIFFERENT in practice for each discipline. 
Examples of IL practitioners embracing TC theory in their approach to using the Framework:
  • Sara Miller (2015): Faculty development workshop at Michigan State University; first half: faculty recognizing TCs for IL in their own disciplines (i.e., as meta-TCs).
  • Xan Goodman, Samantha Godbey, & Sue Wainscott (2015): ACRL 2015 workshop + LibGuide; approach to library instruction design incorporating TCs and UbD (more in a moment on latter) targeting students’ “stuck places”.

Grant Wiggins [who just passed away suddenly on Tuesday] and Jay McTighe (2005) first coin Understanding by Design in 1998, which is not limited to IL and in fact at first focused on K-12 education. 

UbD answers the question: “How do we make it more likely—by our design—that more students really understand what they are asked to learn?” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) = BACKWARD DESIGN:
  • Begin with the desired results (learning outcomes)
  • Identify the evidence needed to determine the results have been achieved (assessments)
  • Design learning experiences through which that evidence will be produced and the needed knowledge and skills will be developed (pedagogy)
This should sound familiar to those in the room who have experience with IL assessment. 

Imagery and phrases often associated with UbD: backward design, spiral curriculum, big ideas and enduring understandings
  • Spiral image (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) for both student work (designing curricula so concepts are revisited with deeper engagement each time appropriate to development), and instructional designer work (teachers assess the results of their designs and revisit/revise their approach based on evidence of learning that has occurred). 
  • “Big ideas are the building material of understandings. They can be thought of as the meaningful patterns that enable one to connect the dots of otherwise fragmented knowledge” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).
  • Enduring understandings are “the specific inferences, based on big ideas, that have lasting value beyond the classroom” and “are central to a discipline and are transferable to new situations” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).  
    • Sound familiar??? Similar (though not identical) to TCs! And, lifelong learning!
  • Developing IL understanding through “big ideas” about information / disciplines / research processes / etc.
  • And yet, my concern: dispositional learning not intentionally baked into UbD = “enduring understandings” come close because transferable, but not the same as the development in learners of values / attitudes / dispositions toward the learning process. 
Examples of IL practitioners embracing UbD in their approach to using the Framework:
  • Nicole Pagowsky (2014): blog post sharing development of “Big Questions” across the frames through which to develop program-level SLOs at the University of Arizona.
  • Eveline Houtman (2015): ACRLog blog post describing shift in Framework to include UbD explicitly, and what this means in practice (highly recommended). 

Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson introduce the term metaliteracy to the library profession in their 2011 College & Research Libraries article, “Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy.” 

Later they develop the idea further in their book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014a) and more deeply incorporate metacognition as a key component to information literacy learning.

See also Metaliteracy Learning Objectives (2014b) at (featured in the first public draft of the Framework before being fully integrated in later drafts).

Metaliteracy “expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand, produce, and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, participate, produce, and share)” (Mackey & Jacobson, 2014a

Because of this expansion in scope, the metacognitive learning domain becomes essential to the development of information literacy that is transferable: metacognitive awareness of one’s own learning process enables the learner to learn more and better in each new context

ADAPTATION is essential because information systems are dynamic and ever-changing, and so should be learners’ processes within and across those systems.

Imagery and phrases often associated with metaliteracy: non-linear decentered matrix of behaviors, literacy about one’s own literacy, participatory environments including social media, “producers and creators not [just] consumers”

  • IL as metacognitive practice in networked environments
  • Implications for pedagogy: invitation to design learning experiences using participatory technologies (social media, etc.); metacognitive reflection as learning activity
  • Information literacy as the foundation for all other literacy types (digital, trans-, cyber, mobile, data, etc.)—thus, metaliteracy is not a NEW literacy but a reconceptualization of IL (but, your mileage may vary).
Examples of IL practitioners embracing metaliteracy in their approach to IL / using the Framework:
  • Donna Witek and Teresa Grettano (2014): Although example in article does not explicitly use the Framework (because it pre-dates it), it’s a useful, detailed example of what Mackey and Jacobson’s ideas look like in practice in the classroom.
  • Alison Thomas and Alex Hodges (2015): ACRL 2015 paper sharing metaliteracy modules in a FYW program, developed under the Standards because also predating the Framework; but, assessment and reflection on the modules are presented in the paper in light of the Framework.

James Elmborg introduces critical information literacy as an explicit approach/lens for library instructional practice in 2006 (Journal of Academic Librarianship). Maria Accardi, Emily Drabinski, and Alana Kumbier add to the growing crit IL literature through their 2010 edited collection Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods

Elmborg describes critical IL as “more than a set of acquired skills” but “comprehension of an entire system of thought and the ways that information flows in that system” as well as “the capacity to critically evaluate the system itself” (Elmborg, 2006).

Crit IL manifests in the Framework (2015) particularly in the frames: 
  • Authority is constructed and contextual: “novice learners come to respect the expertise that authority represents while remaining skeptical of both the systems that have elevated that authority and the information created by it”
  • Information has value: learners are “inclined to examine their own information privilege” 
  • Scholarship as conversation: “recognize that systems privilege authorities and that not having a fluency in the language and process of a discipline disempowers their ability to participate and engage” 
…but is detectable in the others as well.

Imagery and phrases often associated with critical information literacy: myth of neutrality; power structures underpinning information; information privilege
  • [also: feminist pedagogy, critical race theory, theories of gender and sexuality – critical theory and critical pedagogy – a long and vast scholarly conversation leads up to Elmborg introducing this critical approach to our field of information literacy: I’m still learning myself!]
  • IL to develop critical consciousness
  • Although crit IL is embedded throughout the content of the Framework concepts, it is perhaps the most challenging “outcome-type” to assess—doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile pursuit, in tandem with the more concrete approaches already described. 
Examples of IL practitioners embracing crit IL in their approach to using the Framework:
  • Nicole Pagowsky (2014): same example as before, but the University of Arizona’s “Big Questions” are embedded with crit IL concerns.
  • Lauren Wallis (2015): blog post reflecting on one practitioner’s feelings of liberation as a result of the Framework; later posts on her blog dig into critical theory/pedagogy and library instruction (including the Framework) more deeply (see her posts tagged "information literacy" for other examples).

IL Instruction Supported by the Framework OVERVIEW:
  • Standards to Framework: the actual differences between the two approaches to IL
  • Excursus on learning outcomes: what they are including their scope, with a practical example from me from Spring 2015 (including how theory informed praxis for me in the example)
  • Implications for practice/praxis
Then the activity!!

Summarize slide.

Citation links: IL Standards (2000) and Framework for IL (2015)

Summarize slide.

Citation links: IL Standards (2000) and Framework for IL (2015)

Here I offer a conceptual framework (har har) for approaching and writing learning outcomes.

Summarize slide.

Domains: as you go down the list they get harder to assess, BUT, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t develop outcomes in the dispositional and metacognitive domains! Consider aiming for a variety—maybe have a concrete behavioral/skills-based outcome but also a dispositional outcome; assess the former concretely (quantitatively?), and the latter qualitatively or <gasp> not at all
  • Transformational learning means we plant seeds now, which may not take root and grow until YEARS later. (ala TCs – grasping of these complex concepts is near impossible to assess, so instead you assess measurable learning outcomes that lead the learner a bit closer to the threshold of understanding)
Same goes for levels/context: as you go down the list they are harder to assess because their scope broadens.
  • Some of us will have robust campus-wide assessment practices where course, program, and institution level learning outcomes make sense. 
  • Others of us may need to focus on classroom (e.g., one-shot) level learning outcomes, which is a fantastic place to start transforming our practice/praxis. (It’s certainly where I’ve begun, as you’ll see in a moment.)
Chris Sweet (2010) offers concrete “how to” strategies for actually constructing learning outcomes—see LOEX 2010 slidedeck at link.

Let’s see what this looks like in practice…

Summarize slide (left side) for context of example.


By the end of this information literacy instruction session, students will:
  • Brainstorm research questions, search terms, and information types/formats related to their research topics (behavioral/skills)
    • Mapped to Framework... 
    • FRAMES: 
      • Research as Inquiry 
      • Searching as Strategic Exploration
      • Information Creation as a Process
  • Identify search tools that match their information need(s) (behavioral/skills)
    • Mapped to Framework...
    • FRAMES: 
      • Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Practice searching for and locating possible information sources for their research projects (behavioral/skills)
    • Mapped to Framework... 
    • FRAMES: 
      • Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Use the search process as an opportunity to strategically explore their research topics and questions (dispositional/values/attitude)
    • Mapped to Framework...
    • FRAMES: 
      • Research as Inquiry
      • Searching as Strategic Exploration
      • Scholarship as Conversation
These can in turn be mapped to IL Program Learning Outcomes, and Institutional Learning Outcomes. 


Theory to Praxis:

TC Theory: This is a one-shot, so although I touch on one proposed TC for IL in the last learning outcome, at MOST I expect students to simply practice what this feels like, not yet grasp the concept in its totality. This will be a building block for later in their curricular work when hopefully this idea finally “clicks” and they “get it”.

UbD: One-shots are fertile ground for UbD. I developed these very skills-based, measurable outcomes, and designed an activity (Google spreadsheet activity, borrowed from Shannon Simpson’s 2012 C&RL News article) that would generate the evidence that most of these outcomes have been met. 

Metaliteracy: The pedagogical choice to do the Google spreadsheet activity is influenced by metaliteracy (toggling between dynamic, collaborative online spaces and search systems). Metaliteracy not always about explicit learning outcomes, can also be about pedagogy (how you accomplish those outcomes with students).

Critical Information Literacy: One-shots are a difficult context in which to incorporate elements of this approach, but, this too can be more easily woven in via pedagogy versus explicit “content” or outcomes: dynamic, live spreadsheet activity allows students to have a voice during the session without necessarily having to raise their hands to speak. By having a voice in the conversation of the IL session, they become aware of their own agency = not a stated outcome of the session, but an outcome nonetheless!


By the end of this unit, students will:
  • Generate appropriate writing topics and research questions
  • Develop effective search strategies for gathering information
  • Gather and evaluate information in terms of both relevance and reliability
These SLOs are both course-level (WRTG 107) and program-level (FYW Program) and map back to my classroom-level SLOs.

CURRICULAR INTEGRATION (explain collaboration that went into developing these FYW SLOs: two librarians – I'm one of them – were invited to be on the FYW Committee that developed these program-level SLOs for our FYW Program, to make sure IL was embedded in these outcomes fully and appropriately; also, the outcomes included here are only three of twelve total SLOs for our FYW Program)

These can in turn be mapped to IL Program Learning Outcomes, and Institutional Learning Outcomes. 

And more importantly, can also be mapped to the Framework for IL!!


Implications for Practice/Praxis:

We are now writing our own outcomes.
  • No more copying and pasting from the Standards – this work of developing IL learning outcomes will transform our teaching and our students’ learning. It will make us more intentional instructors
Collaboration with faculty across disciplines is essential.
  • The curricular integration I mentioned a moment ago is not possible without collaborating with faculty across disciplines. 
  • First-Year Writing/Composition a fantastic place to start because we share goals and language.
Invitation to embrace “slow learning” (Mader, 2015), in ourselves and our students.
  • The first step is to READ the Framework, thoughtfully and intentionally, either alone or with a community of IL instructors at your institution or in your region.
  • Use the Framework to:
    • REINTERPRET the IL work you are already doing (your “old” outcomes are likely mappable to the Framework without changing a thing, and doing so will cause you to understand those outcomes in a new light)
    • TRANSFORM your IL work moving forward (through reading the Framework, you will be inspired to consider “new” outcomes you have never taught to, especially in the dispositional and metacognitive domains—GO FOR IT!)

The Frames (if needed), from the Framework for IL (2015):

Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.
Information Creation as a Process
  • Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.
Information Has Value
  • Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.
Research as Inquiry
  • Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.
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.
Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.

References (clickable):
Accardi, Maria T., Emily Drabinski, and Alana Kumbier, eds. (2010). Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press.
Brunetti, Korey, Amy R. Hofer, and Lori Townsend. (2015). Threshold Concepts & Information Literacy.
Elmborg, James. (2006). “Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 32.2: 192-199.
Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. (2015). Association of College and Research Libraries.
Goodman, Xan, Samantha Godbey, and Sue Wainscott. (2015). Crossing the Threshold with Threshold Concepts: Redesigning a Library Instruction Plan. ACRL 2015.
Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. (2000). Association of College & Research Libraries. 
Mackey, Thomas P., and Trudi E. Jacobson. (2014a). Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman.
---. (2014b). “Learning Objectives.” Metaliteracy.
---. (2011). “Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy.” College & Research Libraries 72.1: 62-78.
Mader, Sharon. (2015). Putting the Framework for Information Literacy into Action: Next Steps. [webinar recording] ACRL Presents.
Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. (2003). Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines. Occasional Report 4. ETL Project, Universities of Edinburgh, Coventry and Durham.
Miller, Sara. (2015). Information Literacy in the Disciplines: Rethinking Approaches to Student Engagement with Information Sources. Office of Faculty and Organizational Development, Michigan State University.
Pagowsky, Nicole. (2014). “#acrlilrevisions Next Steps.” Nicole Pagowsky.
Thomas, Alison B., and Alex R. Hodges. (2015). “Build Sustainable Collaboration: Developing and Assessing Metaliteracy Across Information Ecosystems.” ACRL 2015 contributed paper.
Townsend, Lori, Korey Brunetti, and Amy R. Hofer. (2011). “Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 11.3: 853-869.
Wallis, Lauren. (2015). “A Dear John Letter to the Standards.” Do-It-Yourself Library Instruction.
Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. (2005). Understanding by Design. 2nd Ed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Witek, Donna, and Teresa Grettano. (2014). “Teaching metaliteracy: a new paradigm in action.” Reference Services Review 42.2: 188-208.   


At the end of the presentation, this happened:

Thank you, again, to the LVPaLA 2015 Spring Conference Committee for inviting me to give this talk!