To frame or not to frame: creating a metaliteracy course for online Ed.D. students

Publication Date10 Feb 2020
AuthorMelissa D. Atkinson
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology,Library & information services
To frame or not to frame: creating a metaliteracy
course for online Ed.D. students
Melissa D. Atkinson
Mackey and Jacobson (2011)
proposed a new paradigm for information
literacy and developed the term
“metaliteracy” to shift from skills-based
information literacy standards to a
concept-based metaliteracy framework.
Information literacy tutorials, courses and
resources, some designed for online
students, have been created using the
ACRL Framework for Information
Literacy for Higher Education (ACRL
Framework). Metaliteracy concepts were
used to form the ACRL Framework;
however, metaliteracy includes its own
set of four goals, with each one having
learning objectives developed by
Mackey, Jacobson and their colleagues at
SUNY and can be found at metaliteracy.
org. In general, there is a lack of research
in library literature, focusing on
information literacy instruction for
doctoral students (Madden, 2014). In
particular, there is a lack of research in
library literature on how metaliteracy
goals and objectives have been used as a
basis for online information literacy
courses. Rather than using the ACRL
Framework to assess information literacy
knowledge, the researcher used
metaliteracy goals and objectives to
determine understanding by creating a
non-credit course for online Ed.D.
students as part of dissertation work.
This paper reports partial results of
this study, which revealed a significant
difference between pretest and posttest
scores. This paper also reports on how
the metaliteracycourse was developed in
Canvas (LMS), a mapping of
metaliteracy goals and objectives to the
ACRL Framework, the advantages and
disadvantages of using metaliteracy
goals and objectives, and ways in which
librarians can incorporate metacognitive
strategies within information literacy
Literature review
After the establishment of Colonial
colleges such as Harvard, William &
Mary, Yale, and Princeton, attendance
grew after the Civil War, World War I
and World War II (Clayton, 1968;
Salony, 1995). In turn, the libraries of
these institutions grew, as did the staff
and librarians needed to organize
materials and help faculty and students
find the materials. Librarianship
became an essential profession for
academic libraries, forming the
Association of College and Reference
Libraries (ACRL) in 1938 (now the
Association of College and Research
Libraries) (Association of College and
Research Libraries, 2006). As libraries
and collections grew, librarians
organized books, journals and other
resources and helped faculty and
students find resources to use for
research. Bibliographic instruction, the
term used by librarians to describe
instruction to researchers, focused
mainly on librarians helping faculty and
students find what they needed for
research. When electronic and digital
formats and tools became increasingly
available in libraries, librarians shifted
from the term bibliographic instruction
to the term information literacy (Rader,
1990). Bibliographic instruction,
librarians as teachers and information
literacy became crucial to academic
librarians and the increase in access to
information warranted the need for
information literacy instruction (Farber,
Information literacy courses using
the ACRL Information Literacy
Competency Standards for Higher
Education, now the ACRL Framework,
have been developed for face-to-face
and online courses. Sharing of these
courses in the Canvas Commons,
through library websites, or the Peer-
Reviewed Instruction Materials Online
database (PRIMO), have increased
steadily since the information literacy
standards were updated to the ACRL
Framework in 2016. The ACRL
Framework is based on metaliteracy
and metacognitive principles, although
these words are mentioned sparingly in
the Framework document (Association
of College and Research Libraries,
2016a, 2016b). In previous drafts of the
ACRL Framework, metaliteracy was
noticeable as an influence, but the final
draft relegated metaliteracy to one
paragraph and footnotes (Fulkerson
et al, 2017). Metaliteracy has its own set
of learning goals and objectives, and
while the Framework is designed to
help assess information literacy skills
and concepts, metaliteracy can also be
used to assess these skills and concepts
as well (Mackey and Jacobson, n.d.).
Fulkerson et al. (2017) emphasized that
leaving out metaliteracy and
metacognitive concepts weakens the
document as an assessment tool.
Including metaliteracy goals and
principles, in addition to the ACRL
Framework, can help create a
comprehensive understanding of
students’ information literacy
knowledge and skills.
The ACRL Framework moved away
from a “prescriptive” set of skills that
higher education students needed to
master, as communicated in the ACRL
Information Literacy Competency
Standards for Higher Education, to a
framework of concepts and “core ideas”
that would help students become
lifelong learners (Association of
College and Research Libraries, 2016a).
Table I below maps the ACRL
Framework to the Metaliteracy goals
and objectives as used in the
metaliteracy course.
The literature is lacking in examples
of courses that use metaliteracy goals
and objectives, especially online
courses that have been developed to
LIBRARY HITECH NEWS Number 3 2020, pp. 7-13, V
CEmerald Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/LHTN-11-2019-0086 7

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