Archive for September, 2009


More on Information Literacy

September 27, 2009

One of the distinctions that I think it’s important garden library architecture 012to make has to do with the difference between what’s credible and what’s plausible. Typically, we don’t attend to plausbility, and what students often do is look for what’s plausible, which for them counts as credible.

So one suggestion is to distinguish between those two.

A second is to ask students to use Janice Walker and Todd Taylor’s schema for citations. Again, what we typically do is ask students to use a given citation practice, and sometimes we explain it.  But what’s interesting, as Walker and Todd point out, is that if you read across all kinds of citation practices, they share five characteristics. 


»intellectual property




These principles are part of the content of information literacy, and a good question is what other content might be useful. I’ll try to address that in the next couple of days.


Information Literacy as New World

September 23, 2009

Creating and Exploring New Worlds:

Web 2.0, Information Literacy, and the Uses of Knowledge



Materials=Verbal, Visual, Multimedia

Use of the Materials of Others

Creation of Materials

 Practices; Application; Knowledge; Reflection


 An historical moment

  Courtesy of the Albert and Victoria Museum

 The web enters . . .

  Same system (print uploaded): different space

 Convergence of interacting sources . . .

  Different systems: an ecology



 Using an historical heuristic (thanks to Sam Wineberg)

 Heuristic 1: Corroboration. Corroboration, in the words of Barbara Tuchman (1981), is the “great corrective” without which historical practice would “slip easily into the invalid” (p. 34). Stated as a heuristic, corroboration could be formulated as “Whenever possible, check important details against each other before accepting them as plausible or likely.”

 Heuristic 2: Sourcing. Stated most simply, the “sourcing heuristic” could be formulated thus: “When evaluating historical documents, look first to the source or attribution of the document.” Historians used this heuristic 98% of the time; students used it 31% of the time. In terms of reading attribution first (as opposed to reading the attribution before reaching the end of the document), all eight historians did this at least once; only three of eight students did so, p < .025, Fisher’s exact test.

 Heuristic 3: Contextualization. Stated in its simplest form, the contextualization heuristic would read: “When trying to reconstruct historical events, pay close attention to when they happened and where they took place.” The “when” of this heuristic refers to the act of placing events in chronological sequence. The “where” of this heuristic is concerned with situating events in concrete spaces and determining the conditions of their occurrence – issues of geography, weather, climate, and landscape.


           1. Case Study: Analysis of Encyclopedia and Wikipedia

            2. Case Study: A Blogging Map of a Community

            3. Case Study: Sourcing NY Times Editorial


1. Identify the logic contextualizing research practices

 2. Identify key terms of research and ask students to map them


Prior Knowledge/Post Knowledge: Iterative Process

Threshold Concepts: Credible; Corroboration

Critical Incident Theory

The Future . . .   



Bransford, John. Learning and Transfer. In John Bransford et al., Eds., How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000: 51-78.

Wineberg, Sam. Historical Problem Solving: A Study of the Cognitive Processes Used in the

Evaluation of Documentary and Pictorial Evidence. Journal of Educational Psychology 83.1 (1991): 73-87.


Yancey, Kathleen Blake. 1998. Reflection in the Writing Classroom. Logan, UT: Utah State UP.


Convergence Culture

September 21, 2009

During the last couple of years, I’ve  taught a class called Digital Revolution and Convergence Culture.  The first version focuses on multi-media and networked culture, and the blog for the class is here–> Currently, I’m teaching what seems to be the same class, but it’s a second term of the class. This term we are focusing on culture, technology, and literacy with an emphasis on networking, assemblage, and the making of knowledge. In the process, we are creating maps of the cultures of literacy over time, representations of different terms as they circulate, and entries for Wikepedia. That blog is here–>

Feel free to take a look 😉

This term I’m giving a talk on information literacy, and I’ll post some of what I’m saying here, and I’m also talking on the connection between high school and college writing, and ditto 😉