Monday, November 4, 2013

Open Forum on Revised ACRL Info Lit Standards

This afternoon the ACRL, the governing body of my discipline here in America, hosted the third of three open forums about the revision process of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. I decided to live tweet the event (#ACRLILRevisions), and the conversation happening among academic librarians across the country was good and useful. After the event, I remarked to my research partna', Teresa--who both attended the online forum with me and my fellow librarians in my department, and, with whom I've been saying for three years now that the ACRL Standards need to be revised--I remarked to her that I observed in my library colleagues participating on Twitter a polarization in the profession over this revision: Folks are either invogorated by the proposed changes, including the move from "standards" to "framework" and all that it implies (I fall into this camp); or, they are approaching the revision with a critical eye toward making sure it is "evidence-based" beyond a study or two and not inherently contradictory. Neither pole is wrong, which is why I view this as a productive polarization, if the IL Revision Task Force leans into the tension between the two perspectives, engages with both, and addresses the articulated concerns.

To this end, I decided to create another blog post containing highlights from the live tweeting of the event, with some commentary from me. These are mostly tweets from me, since the last time I experimented with grabbing a series of live tweets for a blog post it helped me process the information and my learning of it; it also serves as a record of my thought process for future reference. But some of these come from other folks as well, because there were a lot really good concerns raised, and I don't want these to be lost.

I knew this, about the role of #metaliteracy in this revision, from my work on my article with Teresa, "Teaching metaliteracy: a new paradigm in action." It was still exciting to see the Task Force articulate it today.

That's Teresa tweeting here -- we're already doing this kind of collaboration, but through this revised document, others are more likely to see the connections between LIS and rhet/comp and act on them.

So the above two tweets are actually two sides of a coin that was discussed in great detail in the Twitter conversation -- how can we say we're moving away from library jargon, only to ground the new document in two very jargon-y theoretical lenses? Observe, the problem stated, and my current take on it (in 140 characters or less per tweet, oy!):

A good way to conceive of threshold concepts, a theory which is relatively new to me, but which makes sense, and is another example of just putting a name to something that already exists (like metaliteracy):

(Love me some paradigm shifting...)

Now, on to the all important question of assessment:

And Teresa noted as well that the move toward a framework as opposed to a linear set of standards is a lot like what's happening in her own field:

I got the sense during the conversation that some participants were getting nervous at how seemingly opaque the conceptual framework(s), which this new information literacy document will be grounded in, seemed, as they were presented in the (inevitably) top-down setting of a webinar. Here was my response to this observation:

You can see where I land on the "standards" versus "framework" question, a question of form and structure which Teresa and I hashed out over two years ago in our paper we presented at ACRL 2011:

But then another two participants made a very good point we need to consider:

I then made the following observation, which I believe wholeheartedly to be true of practitioners in our field, myself included, which became a conversation with @edrabinski:

...which was an idea I got from this participant:

And now, on to some stand-alone tweets that I can 100% cosign and get behind:


Yes, and they are long overdue. Which is not to say I want to see them rushed to adoption without being put through the critical wringer, so to speak. But we definitely need a revised understanding to work from soon.

This was a good point that I hope was not lost.

My partna' again; this "hunt and peck" mentality toward research is so prevalent at the reference desk, it drives me nuts.

One participant was tweeting out hysterical but pointed tweets of substance. Here he comments on the fact that not all participants were being won over on the revision direction through this webinar format:

(I LOL'd.)

And finally, because how can I process and analyze this kind of public, decentralized conversation via Twitter without noting the obvious application of metaliteracy:

Which means, I really should tag this so it feeds over to the Metaliteracy MOOC, since the #ACRLILRevisions stream is such a good example of metaliteracy in action.

A quick note on my MOOC participation of late (or lack thereof): I'm several MOOC talks behind, though I hope to catch up over the next two weeks. Looking forward to diving back into the conversation with my fellow MOOC participants as well.

Gah, so many conversations/streams/feeds, so little time! #metaliteracyprobs

UPDATE: Kate Ganski, Visiting Program Officer for the ACRL's IL revisions process, has compiled a storify from the Twitter stream during the Open Forum on 11/4. Definitely worth a look!

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