I just had to laugh at one of the more recent posts on the ACRLblog about questioning the standard spiel of authority in Information Literacy instruction. Mark Meola says:
This is very simple advice yet I seldom see it recommended outright in the checklists. Itâ€™s a tricky balancing act, but in our drumbeat for students to â€œuse authoritative sourcesâ€ letâ€™s not forget to recommend questioning authority.
I seem to remember someone talking about it at length over the course of the last few years.
Indeed, that is the focus of an entire class that I do, using the sources on this slide (also, up for many years).
Information evaluation without reliance on authority is being taught, and I maintain it is the way it should be taught. Authority is the thing we used to have to use as an explanation, back when actual verification wasn’t possible except for those willing to spend weeks/months/years doing so. We relied on the magical word “authority” in the same way we relied on phlogiston and ether. And just like those, authority is just an explanatory shortcut that is no longer needed.
On my campus, as well as others, there has of late been a terrific focus placed upon student plagiarism. I’ve been asked to teach a handful of plagiarism workshops (4 down, 1 to go…this Thursday, if anyone’s in town) and I was recently asked to produce a “statement” of a sort to be used in advertising a conference on Academic Integrity that is being held here at UTC. So I said:
There is a lot of confusion among students as to citation in academic writing, including what needs a citation and who should be cited in specific circumstances. My feeling is that if we continue teaching the specifics of what, who, and how, weâ€™re missing the real issue. Students need to understand why we insist on citation, and the purpose and goals of this very specific sort of writing. We as educators need to encourage students to be willing to see themselves as part of the academic dialogue, as a piece of the ongoing attempt at the creation of knowledge. Students need to see academic writing as a conversation between themselves, the professor, and the rest of the Academy, and not as a hoop to jump through or a check-mark on their transcript. A large part of their vision of academic writing is formed by the way educators present assignments, and I think that we can better serve the student by re-imagining the way this is done.
Plagiarism is something that strikes me as old news…always been here, always will, and until we can convince professors that traditional “write a paper on X” assignments aren’t the best sorts, we’ll always have to deal with it. I need to find a way to get my workshop online…it uses music as a metaphor for academic writing, and shows how something can move from “bad” reuse to “ok” reuse, and how to think about academic writing in a different way. I believe that the current “millenial” student really has a difficult time understanding plagiarism, and the workshop is designed to get them thinking in a new way. I’ll put that on the pile of things to do in the next year or so…
So at MPOW, we’re trying to drum up student interest in a few upcoming events, as well as get some input on the new website design, so I dove into Facebook. I’m curious if other libraries are using the “event” function in this manner to drum up attendance at workshops.
So I posted our classes as “events” and then pushed invites to all of the students and professors in my network. I also decided to reach out for website testing:
Love / Hate the Library Website?
Here I’m hoping to get some remote feedback as part of our usability testing. We’re doing on-site testing next week, but hopefully someone will find this interesting enough to leave a few comments on the wall and we’ll be able to use them.
Anyone out in LibraryLand doing something else interesting with Facebook? Anything new?
A great deal of today was spent trying to wrap our heads around Kolb’s Learning Styles inventory, developing lessons that incorporated as many of the styles as possible, and examining our own preferences in instructional design with Kolb as a lense. Rewarding, but difficult stuff to work through.
We also had the pleasure of having Randy discuss our primary instructional tool: ourselves. We looked at voice, body, and attitude as it relates to the instructional arena. Again, incredibly rewarding stuff, and things that definitely aren’t taught during the MLS. I’m learning about 2-3 things every day that will directly influence my instruction at UTC…which, I suppose, is the point, after all.
Tonight = mock instruction, with the real thing tomorrow.