December 9, 2014

#acrlilrevisions Next Steps

It seems like we are almost at the final version of the ACRL Framework revisions. I submitted my feedback a couple weeks ago through the ACRL Student Learning & Information Literacy committee that I'm on (we are sending it collectively) and feel for the most part that I have a decent grasp on how we might use these at the University of Arizona. Even though it's not finalized yet, we've been needing to work with the draft as is for projects here, such as badging, programmatic instruction, and constructing our department's IL plan and philosophy not too long after we had a restructuring. I'm helping coordinate our plans for programmatic instruction here so I keep thinking and re-thinking about these frames.

When designing instruction, I like to come up with "big questions" or "understandings," as Wiggins and McTighe refer to. From looking at the frames and trying to think about how can librarians and teaching faculty collaboratively understand these concepts and work toward shared goals, I put some big questions together to try and capture broader thoughts. From there, a colleague and I also worked on writing some outcomes we could map through curriculum mapping once everything becomes finalized. I'm also using these in other work that can't wait for the final draft. I thought I'd share some of this here as some librarians in my department are also sharing this with librarians at ASU and NAU tomorrow at a joint mini-conference that I can't attend since I will actually be presenting our version of the framework so far with big questions and outcomes to general education faculty for their feedback.

Below is our draft thus far. I thought I'd share it in the hopes that it might help others grappling with this stuff. I changed "searching is strategic" back to "searching is exploration" for our purposes because we all liked that version better here. We are also trying to think of more simple frame names that we could use. Even with our bigger additions and small adjustments, it's not perfect, but we're getting there.

Since it seems there is/was some disagreement via Twitter about whether "conversation" or "discourse" might be better wording for the first frame... I am on the side of conversation. If we're talking about opening up the act of research and having students become creators, I think discourse is limiting. Discourses set rules and restrictions, not really inviting in great diversity. As Aleman (2014) says, "Those in power or in control of the discourse normalize certain principles and ways of being through discourse to perpetuate norms, and to demand compliance, conformity, and submission to these norms" (p. 113). Discourse limits diversity in perspective and often in mode of publication. I also love this quote from Ball in Egea that I shared not too long ago: 
So I say keep it "conversation." Ok and now here are our frames and outcomes:

Frame 1: Scholarship is a Conversation
Scholarship is a conversation refers to the idea of ongoing discourse within a community of scholars who create, consume, and critique new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of competing perspectives and interpretations, building on each other.
Big Questions:
Ø  What barriers exist when entering into the “conversation” of scholarship?
Ø  How can we gain greater understanding of topics by examining the connections and ongoing narratives between different scholarly pieces?
Ø  How do our responsibilities shift when moving from just consumers of information to critics and/or creators of it?

Students should be able to:
·         Recognize the metaphor of “conversation” to describe the purpose of research
·         Identify the contribution of specific scholarly pieces and varying perspectives to a disciplinary knowledge “conversation”
·         Contribute to the scholarly conversation at an appropriate level, through the lens of becoming a creator/critic

Frame 2: Research as Inquiry
Research as inquiry means that research is an ongoing exploration, depending on continuous questioning where answers develop new questions or new lines of interest in any field.
Big Questions:
Ø  How could understanding of a topic be improved through uncertainty in the process of research?
Ø  How can varying needs shape the importance of certain types of information?
Ø  How can we know what we don’t know? How do we go about figuring out what is not there instead of only what is visible by finding gaps in thought or content?

Students should be able to:
·         Formulate research questions based on curiosity and gaps in information or data available
·         Describe via reflection how the research process is iterative, requiring persistence
·         Apply research methods that are appropriate for the need, context, and type of inquiry

Frame 3:  Authority is Contextual and Constructed
Authority of information depends on where the source came from, the information need, and how the information will be used. It is constructed and contextual. Authority should be viewed with an attitude of informed skepticism and openness to new perspectives.
Big Questions:
Ø  How or why do we decide if someone has “authority” on a topic?
Ø  What might be expected of us as we become authorities ourselves?
Ø  How might biases privilege some sources of authority and silence others, especially in terms of others’ worldviews, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, etc.?

Students should be able to:
·         Determine attributes of authoritative information for different needs, with the understanding that context plays a role in authority-based attributes
·         Recognize that traditional notions of granting authority might hinder diverse ideas and world views
·         Acknowledge that oneself may be seen as an authority in a particular area, and recognize the responsibilities entailed

Frame 4: Information Creation is a Process
Knowledge can be expressed in different styles, which has an impact on how information is used and shared. It is important to look to the underlying processes of creation as well as the final product to critically evaluate the usefulness of the information.
Big Questions:
Ø  How might information be perceived differently based on how it’s packaged? E.g., why might there be an expectation to use scholarly sources in a college paper?
Ø  Why do certain types of information automatically seem to have credibility where others might not?

Students should be able to:
·         Articulate the purposes of various types of information as well as their distinguishing characteristics
·         Distinguish between format and method of access, understanding that these are separate entities
·         Identify which types of information best meet particular information needs

Frame 5: Searching is Exploration
Locating information requires a combination of curiosity, discovery, and luck. There is no one size fits all source for the needed information. Finding information is nonlinear and iterative, requiring the use of a broad range of information sources, flexibility, and the willingness to make mistakes and try again.
Big Questions:
Ø  How can we best determine what we’re looking for so that we can identify an effective search strategy?
Ø  How might differing information needs change an approach to searching?
Ø  How can failure and mistakes help us in finding information?

Students should be able to:
·         Make connections between the importance of matching information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools
·         Implement more advanced searching skills to respond to a discipline-based information need
·         Reflect on the usefulness of making mistakes in the search process and how searching is not solely transactional

Frame 6: Information has Value
Information has value means that 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. The flow of information through systems of production and dissemination is impacted by legal, sociopolitical, and economic interests.
Big Questions:
Ø  How could value of information be wielded by powerful interests in ways that marginalize certain voices?
Ø  How might the use or absence of citations impact the conversation of research?
Ø  How could something like open access change creation, publishing, and learning?

Students should be able to:
·         Distinguish between plagiarism and copyright violations
·         Identify scholarly publication practices and their related implications for access to scholarly information
·         Identify why some groups/individuals may be underrepresented or systematically marginalized within the systems that produce and disseminate information