Day 1: Monday, May 30

Intersections with Power: Critical Teaching and the Library Catalogue

Keynote speaker – Emily Drabinski, Long Island University

As teaching librarians, we introduce our students to knowledge organization structures that enable inquiry and curiosity in the library, but also use language and logic that we might otherwise contest. Students researching gender and sexual identities in our library catalogs, for example, must confront a controlled vocabulary that represents bias against them more than it does the reality of their own lives. These are pivotal moments, where students intersect with structures of power. Librarians engaged in critical work against dominant knowledge formations can both help students perceive the structures of power that enable some ways of knowing and not others, and help them understand those structures as subject to change. We can begin by understanding how librarians are produced in part by intersections with structures of power.

Tell More Stories: Culturally Responsive Instruction for Aboriginal Undergrads

Presenter(s) – Martha Attridge Bufton, Carleton University

It’s time to move forward with decolonizing Canadian academic libraries. More First Nations, Metis and Inuit people are pursuing post-secondary education than ever before and institutions are implementing strategies for incorporating Aboriginal culture and traditions into their scholarly communities. At the same time, Canadian librarians are making major changes to core library practices, changes that allow us to reflect upon teaching practices and how we can integrate Indigenous worldviews into information literacy instruction. Using primary evidence collected on a research project in the United Kingdom in 2015, this presentation will chart the development of a new learning activity for first-year students in Carleton University’s Aboriginal Enriched Support Program (AESP). Informed by the new ACRL information literacy framework for higher education, this culturally responsive series combines Western approaches to skills-based and critical thinking with Aboriginal teaching protocols to introduce AESP students to library-based research. Built into the program is assessment, where survey questions for students are mapped to the new ACRL framework. This presentation represents an interdisciplinary approach to research skills instruction: as an (oral) historian, I have a particular disciplinary approach to research informs both the research I did in the UK this summer as well as the decision to share primary evidence with first-year students. At the same time, as a subject specialist and MLIS student, my practice is now informed by pedagogical concepts such as threshold concepts, cultural responsiveness and Indigenous teaching protocols such as storytelling.

Frames within Frames: An Exploration of the Assumptions Implicit in the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Presenter(s) – Melissa Svendsen, Thompson Rivers University

The ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy reflects an education system designed for students from a particular cultural background which predisposes them to make certain assumptions about the world. In this talk, I will attempt to uncover some of these assumptions, and will argue that if we are to serve all of our students – and in particular our international students – we must make these implicit assumptions explicit. For instance, the first frame — that authority is constructed and contextual – is predicated on the assumption that authority is contested in that reasonable people can disagree on the assignment of authority, both within and among communities. This is a particularly difficult concept for international students from countries with authoritarian social and political systems, as is the related notion that questioning authority is not necessarily a sign of disrespect. Thus to adequately meet the needs of these students, we must be prepared to teach these concepts directly. I will also share my experience using information literacy instruction to acculturate international students to North American academic norms, including the necessity of addressing and properly citing the opinions of others. Without an understanding of the assumptions that underlie the Framework, international students may find themselves operating in an information ecosystem that they find utterly bewildering. For instance, for a student who does not understand that reasonable people can disagree, North American citation practices may simply not make sense: if there is one and only one correct way of looking at an issue, then all knowledge is, at some level, common knowledge. It is only with an understanding of research as an ongoing conversation that the necessity of keeping track of the different voices becomes obvious. For this reason, I believe that the issue of academic integrity must be addressed at the conceptual level.

Pivot: Reconfiguring Information Literacy Instruction Space to Engage Students

Presenter(s) – Alison Moore, Simon Fraser University

One-shot information literacy instruction sessions are widely recognized as some of the most important, yet tedious and uninspiring hours of an undergraduate’s life (Schiller, 2008). Many LIS studies have looked at ways to devise new active learning pedagogical methods in an effort to authentically engage students in these sessions (Hanz & Lange, 2013; Klipfel, 2014; Smith, 2004). While these studies are brimming with creative solutions to a plethora of problems, they tend to overlook one of the most basic elements of instructional sessions: classroom configuration. Those studies that do focus on classroom configuration and instructional space often approach the problem as one to be addressed by new technologies or extensive renovation (Beard & Dale, 2010; Gurzynski-Weiss, Long, & Solon, 2015; Weaver, 2006). However, this need not be the case. Information literacy instruction sessions can be improved using existing technology in regular classrooms or computer labs. In autumn 2015, a project was initiated to compare the effectiveness of three different information literacy instruction classroom configurations at a Canadian comprehensive university. Building on the work of Julian (2013), the goal of this project was to bring classroom configuration and pedagogy together in an effort to illustrate the impact of incorporating authentic engagement activities to information literacy instruction sessions. This presentation will include a review of the existing literature, a description of the action research methods, and strategies for incorporating authentic engagement activities.

Seeing Through the Network: A Focus on Interdisciplinary Student Research and Globalized Information Environments

Presenter(s) – Dany Savard, York University Libraries

This presentation will focus on the findings of a research project currently underway which seeks to investigate how upper-undergraduate and graduate students understand disciplinary boundaries and interdisciplinarity in today’s globalized information environments. Specifically, this session will address the tension between students’ views of the “endless” potential of today’s information environments and the strategies required to find information to solve complex problems through interdisciplinary research. Through the use of an emergent systematic focus group design, this research project is conceived to identify themes in participants’ views around what counts as helpful in the identification of interdisciplinary or disciplinary connections when searching for information in a scholarly context. Although an exploration of the themes identified in the evidence collected during group interviews and their implications for libraries will be the main areas of focus for this presentation, an analysis of how these themes correlate with other ideas in the library literature will also be explored during the session. It is expected that this presentation could provide librarians, library practitioners and other interested parties with a unique view of students’ beliefs and feelings about the availability of information for disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. By concentrating on what the findings of this project suggest about how students are equipped to learn from the network of information available to them and build new ideas that span disciplines, this presentation will address the ways in which libraries and librarians can best support interdisciplinary research both in and out of the classroom.

To Badge or Not? Towards an Intersection of Neo-liberalism and Information Literacy Instruction

Presenter(s) – Emily Ford, Portland State University

As technology in higher education rapidly changes, new pedagogical tools are being tested, developed, and implemented. Digital badge systems are one such tool that can be used to certify student skills and competencies, including information literacy skills. But at what point do micro-credentialing systems and competency-based approaches intersect with neoliberalism? Neoliberalism, a disturbing trend in higher education, values competencies and skills to prepare “market and job-ready” students, whereas non market-based traditional approaches to higher education aim to create an informed and engaged citizenry for the public good. Can micro-credentialing systems co-exist with this ideological aim? Are badges and micro-credentialing systems a product of neoliberalism? Do they inherently further these neoliberal aims or can they further an ideological aim of education as a public good? On the one hand today’s college students face rising tuition and course materials costs. As a result students focus their learning on skills acquisition and job-market competitiveness after college. Students frequently learn information literacy and critical thinking skills throughout their course of study and outside of discrete class-based learning outcomes. Using badges to certify and clearly communicate these skills to students and future employers, then, assists students in their learning and post-educational goals. On the other hand, information literacy and critical thinking skills can be integrated into course instruction without the use of micro-credentialing systems like badges. This session will examine and compare two sections of a community health class utilizing an embedded information literacy and critical thinking curriculum. One section used badges to certify learning outcomes; the other did not. Drawing from their experiences and findings from pre- and post-course student surveys, presenters will discuss the intersection and balance of neoliberal approaches to information literacy with the value of education as a public good.

Short-Short Stories and Drawing: Using Intersecting Teaching Methods to Strengthen Understanding

Presenter(s) – David Brier & Vicky Lebbin, University of Hawaii at Manoa

The ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education challenges academic librarians to “design assignments that foster enhanced engagement” with information literacy concepts. This requires teaching methods that encourage students to think about content in new ways. This program introduces how librarians at the University of Hawaii at Manoa teach information literacy using short-short stories and drawing to achieve this. Drawing enables students to explore information literacy concepts through non-linguistic representations. Reading and discussing short-short stories provides a method to discuss the meaning of the ACRL frames. Used together they provide students with new ways to think and speak about information literacy with greater nuance and understanding. Participants will work in small groups on a collaborative drawing assignment and a short-short story assignment.

Students, Librarians and Opportunities at the Intersection of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication

Presenter(s) – Catherine Fraser Riehle, Purdue University Libraries

Movement is afoot at the intersection of information literacy and scholarly communication. In a 2013 white paper, the ACRL’s Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy Task Force articulated three intersections in particular: publication economics, digital literacies, and librarians’ changing roles (ACRL, 2013). A book published the same year (Davis-Kahl & Hensley, 2013) provided a variety of examples documenting librarians engaging students and disciplinary faculty at these intersections, and a growing bibliography (ACRL, 2013) linked on the Intersections page features over fifty citations to relevant articles, book chapters, conference presentations, and proceeding papers. While work from The Center for Studies in Higher Education (Harley et al, 2010) focused on understanding the scholarly communication needs and practices of faculty, absent from this conversation so far is research related to students’ awareness and understanding of these important topics. To inform the development of programming, collaborations, and other work at this intersection, presenters will share findings from a mixed methods research study conducted at two major research universities in the United States and designed to shed light on undergraduate students’ knowledge and perceptions of scholarly communication topics. We will present our study, including research questions, design and methods, and key findings, then invite participants to consider and share potential implications as they relate to work librarians and other information specialists do or could be doing at the intersection of information literacy and scholarly communication. Specifically, do our findings resonate with session participants’ related experiences with and perceptions of students on their own campuses, and what can and should we do to support students at this intersection? We hope this conversation will foster innovative work that supports undergraduate students as information users and content creators, as citizens generally, and as potential future scholars.

Making Information Literacy Flexible and Remixable: Instructional Designers and Librarians Collaborate in the Canvas Learning Management System

Presenter(s) – Catherine Baird, Montclair State University

Montclair State University librarians and instructional designers engaged in a conversation to reboot information literacy and capture it in an online environment on our campus. While we’re not the first to bring IL online, we took a novel approach. Working together, librarians and instructional designers possess a more comprehensive and complete understanding of both faculty and student needs vis a vis information literacy and inquiry-based learning. The recent local adoption of the Canvas LMS allowed us to design and maintain a series of modules that could be copied, re-mixed, and re-used in individual courses across a variety of disciplines and based on the needs of the course instructor or program. Learning experiences were designed following an inquiry-based pedagogical model to enhance critical thinking and allow students to apply their understanding to multiple, real-world research challenges. We acknowledged that simple learning materials were important. To this end the modules made use of short videos, slideshows, discussions and quizzes and by-in-large were self-graded, self-explanatory and self-directed. By making the modules available to the primary course instructor, we relinquish some of the control over information literacy instruction, but with this comes with several advantages. In F2F classes that traditionally incorporated a one-shot library session, learning can be extended both before and after via the Canvas modules, essentially augmenting the one-shot and allowing more opportunity for learning. Instructors are able to address a variety of research and information literacy topics throughout a semester, at a point in time most relevant to the course content. The online modules are more easily incorporated into hybrid and online courses than a traditional library instruction session. In this session, we will share findings from the design process, the early implementation and reception, and will address how we are sharing our project and materials with the broader academic community.