Information Literacy in Politically Polarized Times

Dates:

  • November 12-December 16 (Thanksgiving break, November 16-25)
  • Full: October 15th-November 11th

Mid-October instance of course is now full. To express interest in taking the course starting in mid-November, please email abaer@inquiringteachers.

Duration: 4 weeks
Credits: 1.5 CEUs
Price: US $175

In Brief: At a time of political polarization, when digital environments lend themselves to the spread of misinformation, information silos, and echo chambers that can exacerbate social divisions, many educators are pointing to information literacy education as a way to foster more critical engagement with information and ultimately a more informed and civically engaged society. This course is one opening for librarians and fellow educators to reflect together on the role information literacy education at this polarized moment. Participants consider the strengths and limitations of our current pedagogical practices and explore new possibilities for their instructional work.

(This course counts as an elective for the Certificate in Library Instruction from Library Juice Academy.)

At a time of political polarization, when digital environments lend themselves to the spread of misinformation, information silos, and echo chambers that can exacerbate social divisions, many educators are pointing to information literacy education as a way to foster more critical engagement with information and ultimately a more informed and civically engaged society.

While most agree on the importance of  teaching information literacy, what that pedagogy looks like is less clear. As Mike Caulfield writes in “Yes, Digital Literacy, but Which One?,” while information literacy needs more attention, “we can’t do it the way we have done it up to now.” Similarly, dana boyd asserts in “Did Media Literacy Backfire?” that quick fixes (for example, more fact-checking and identification of misleading sources) will not address the more systemic and underlying issues at hand. Boyd concludes, “We cannot fall back on standard educational approaches because the societal context has shifted. … We need to get creative…”

Many educators, including librarians, have gotten creative. Still, there is a lot to think about and a lot to do, both within and beyond these professions. This course is one opening for librarians and fellow educators to reflect on the role information literacy education at this current moment. Participants will consider the strengths and limitations of our current pedagogical practices and explore new possibilities for our instructional work.

In this four-week interactive online workshop participants will:

  • Reflect on current socio-political and socio-technical environments and their implications for information literacy education (e.g., political polarization, the online spread of misinformation, information silos and echo chambers,
    motivated reasoning, efforts to strengthen civic dialogue and engagement).
  • Become familiar with research on the relationship between social identity, beliefs, and information behaviors and consider its implications for information literacy education.
  • Examine various pedagogical responses to related information literacy skills (e.g., source evaluation, online reading strategies, debiasing).
  • Develop an instruction activity that encourages more critical engagement with information and that addresses a pedagogical concern related to the current sociopolitical climate.

Course Structure

  • Week 1: Beyond “Standard” Approaches to Information Literacy
  • Week 2: Research on Social Identity, Beliefs, and Information Behaviors
  • Week 3: Exploring Instruction Ideas
  • Week 4: Putting Ideas into Action

About Inquiring Teachers Courses

Baer_2018In a small online community participants learn about pedagogical theories and practices relevant to information literacy education, while also developing an instruction plan for their unique teaching contexts. Throughout these courses participants provide one another with feedback and receive individualized feedback from the instructor.

This professional development is unique in its emphasis on reflection and community and in its integration of learning research, accessible theory, and everyday teaching practice. To foster this environment, classes are small (no more than 15 people) and all participants are given ongoing personalized and detailed feedback. All courses are facilitated by educator and instruction librarian Andrea Baer, Ph.D.

Registration Information

Participants may register up through the first week of a course. Please email abaer@inquiringteachers.com with the registrant name(s), email address(es), and the course in which they wish to enroll.

Within one business day you will receive a registration confirmation and payment information. Payments can be made with personal or institutional credit cards or PayPal. If your institution prefers to receive a billing statement or to make purchase order, please indicate this in your email message.

Privacy Information

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