Friday, February 28, 2014

The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback

The survey requesting feedback on the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education contains a series of opened-ended comment boxes. Here are the questions posed by the survey, and how I answered them.

My thoughts on the Framework are here. Please take the survey to leave your thoughts here.

Q2. In what ways will the focus on threshold concepts help you to generate conversations with other campus stakeholders (such as disciplinary faculty partners, members of the general education curriculum committee, and academic support services staff)?

In the Feb draft, threshold concepts aren't really fleshed out. However, I already see a tension between these concepts, which are bounded in disciplines, and the Framework's discussion of transdisciplinarity. The role of discipline-specific faculty will be very important here. Please expand on the relationship between students who are metaliterate, who think critically across disciplines and boundaries, and threshold concepts that (and faculty who) reify those boundaries.*

Q3. How do the sections for knowledge practices and assignments/assessments provide helpful guidance when considering implementing the new Framework? What else would you want to see in these sections?

I thought the Feb draft of the Framework was strong here.

Q4. We plan to include additional materials in a subsequent phase (described in the welcome message). What other elements would you find helpful that aren’t mentioned in our plans?

As presently constructed, metaliteracy is both an "anchoring element" and a desired outcome, which makes it both an independent and dependent variable. This is a tautology. Metaliteracy cannot beget metaliterate students. Please elaborate on what metaliteracy is, how it differs from "critical thinking," or "transliteracy," or just "information literacy," and place the concept in a content that is bounded by the rules of logic.

Q5. Is there anything else you would like for us to know?

The phrase "ethical participation" comes up in the Framework's definition of information literacy. As you envision it, what is ethical participation, and why?

Q6. Please share any additional information about your work that would help us in understanding your perspective on the proposed Framework.

This draft places much emphasis on collaboration between the library and its staff and other academic units. I hope your experiences in outreach to these academic units is the norm, while my experiences are those of a minority.

* People who have more knowledge of threshold concepts than I should really take their time on this question. Who determines what is a threshold concept in a given discipline? How? Why?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that much about threshold concepts, but I think insisting on disciplinarity here would be a mistake. We need to help students who take courses all over the place, major in something, and then graduate and do something completely different, to see what inquiry means in all kinds of situations. We should be looking for things that disciplines have in common (though which in practice may be procedurally and materially different). "Inquiry" makes sense whether you are studying English or Chemistry - or if you are doing historical research for a family history or a novel or researching a role you're about to play in a film. The conversational, social nature of knowledge plays out in any kind of inquiry. The "format as process" I have trouble with, mainly semantic, I think "format" means little to non-librarians and is too focused on appearances. I'd rather say something like "the form information takes is shaped by social processes which influence which stories are considered worth telling, what counts as evidence, and how ideas should be expressed" - or something like that. Trying to get across that newspapers and scholarly journals and novels aren't just differently packaged, they are shaped by different assumptions, values, and traditions. And those assumptions have implications when doing research.

    I also raised questions about how we know what they are and who decides - and whether this shouldn't be based on research. But still, I think it's a good direction to head in.