LOEX 2021: day 3

Well – this will be a shorter blog post than the previous one. Due to a holiday here in Norway (Ascension Day – kind of weird that we have a day off here on Ascension Day, seeing as Norway is one of the most secular countries in the world, but anyway..) I couldn’t spend all evening at a conference. I did manage to go to one (and a half) session, and I’ll be writing about it here.

Activating the ACRL Framework: Active learning design for library instruction

I have been very interested in the ACRL Framework from the start. We don’t use a framework here in Norway, but I have been writing and talking about this framework as a possible model for a national framework here.

Meghan Kowalski and Catherine Meals from University of the District of Colombia and Faith Rusk from San Fransisco State University talked about how the framework is theoretical and how they wanted to build something more practical from it. The librarians wanted to try something new, even though most of their teaching efforts are performed as one-shots. They decided on building some modules that could be reused and work in a variety of settings. The librarians collaborated in two-hour meetings during six summer weeks when there was less activity in the library, and they had discussions, brain dumps and they made an activity bank for class activity.

The ACRL framework is built around six different frames, and it is conceptual in form. The frames reflect different aspects of information literacy. Some of them are easier to use directly in class than others. The librarians in this session found that students had a very binary outlook on source evaluation; a source is either good or bad in their eyes. The librarians tried to used active learning principles and the Research as Inquiry frame, and by tossing a beach ball between students in the class room they managed to get students to talk about sources. They used the Scholarship as conversation frame to prompt a class discussion on an everyday topic. This discussion was meant to show the students that the academic discourse has many similarities with the everyday discussions in our lives.

The librarians talked about some challenges in this approach, too. It is not always easy to get the faculty onboard, they said. Faculty has limited time with students and they are often only interested in giving a little time to librarians to cover the most basic things, like teaching students to use one particular database etc. Librarians often want to go deeper, to teach more theory, more genre etc. while faculty only want them to give the students a particular piece of information. Another challenge is the constraints of the one-shot. There is no possibility of follow-ups or reflection or process approach to give the students a chance to advance through the levels. The framework is based on threshold concepts and the advancement from novice to expert. How do you do this during a one-shot?

Screen dump from presentation talking about the mismatch on what we want and can do vs what the faculty want, one-shot problems and challenges with level.
[Screen dump from presentation]

The librarians have published an article on their experiences with this project so far.

At San Fransisco State University, they have worked on a toolkit for teaching, the SFSU Toolkit. They hope to be able to measure or see the effect of better training as an argument to better embedded in the institution.

The librarians started a padlet for all of us who participated where we could suggest ideas for teaching activities according to the frames. There were several good ideas there, and I intend to look for more that I can use when I teach (even though we don’t use the framework).

There were many questions for the Q&A, and I cannot remember half of them, but there was an interesting discussion on bias, and how we need to focus more on this issue. I felt that it was interesting seeing as I have spent more time on this in class, particularly with seniors, these last couple of years.

Writing and research are inseparable: helping instructors integrate research in writing instruction across the curriculum course planning

I only got to see half this session, so apologies if it makes less sense than the other session abstracts here. Two librarians and a writing instructor from UCLA talked about their efforts to make the Writing and research integration planner. The planner was made as a scaffold to develop writing and research throughout the curriculum, particularly in writing intensive courses. They shared the planner here. They have activity suggestions for writing, searching etc., and they used backwards planning to make it.

[Screen dump from presentation]

The presenters use the planner for writing courses, and they have made a video that is used as a flipped classroom activity to save time in the classroom.

An example of how they work in the writing course: the students are given a question for reflection that they think about. Then the students are given a prompt (below). The students get some information on what the goals of different writing activities are, what to do if they fail etc. They also discuss genre, like what the intention behind a case study is, what makes a good case etc. They train the students in making good problem statements, too. The librarians and faculty collaborate and co-teach, and the video and the planner is used to create structure and collaboration.

Here is an example of a prompt given:

The problematic essay prompt they give to students in class.
[Screen dump from presentation]

Well – that was all I got before I had to go.. I’ll watch the rest when the video is available.

LOEX 2019: the ACRL Framework

In stead of doing my usual session-by-session recap, I thought I’d go for more of a theme-based summary this year. This means that I have not gone through each session on its own, but rather tossed everything I attended on one subject into the same pot. I hope this works.

In 2015, the Association of college and research libraries (ARCL) replaced Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (known as the Standards) with Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (known as the Framework). It would be fair to say that this move got mixed feedback, and it was still a hot topic in many of the sessions at LOEX 2019.

Seeing as we in Norway do not have a framework or standards for information literacy, it may be hard to understand just how important this shift was for our American allies, but I have tried to read up on the framework itself as well as the mixed feedback it got (and still gets). This is something that I am interested in, so I prioritised going to sessions that emphasised the framework. And there were many of them..

Just a quick intro to the framework for those who are not familiar with them. The framework consists of six different frames: Authority is constructed and contextual, Information creation as a process, Information has value, Research as inquiry, Scholarship as conversation, and Searching as Strategic Exploration. The frames have descriptions on behaviour and dispositions for an expert in the field. The basic principle behind the framework is threshold concepts. The standards were easy to use, the framework is more conceptual in nature.

Joanna Thielen and Amanda Nichols Hess from Oakland University talked about how they had used the Scholarship as conversation, Information has value and Information creation as a process frames to make a course on reading journal articles for students. Nobody on campus were teaching students how to read journal articles, Thielen said. It is an underlying premiss that they know how to do it. (I couldn’t agree more! Journal articles have their own genre conventions that needs to be taught.) Thielen hands out two articles (one from a magazine, and one from a scholarly journal) on the same subject, and ask the students to fill out a form, identifying which article is from what kind of journal, and the students have to compare and contrast the articles. They take a poll on how often they are asked by their professors to read and understand scholarly journal articles, and what they find the most difficult. Thielen goes through all the different parts of an article, and she shows the students how to read it (in what order). Thielen suggests the following order: Title, author, reference, abstract, introduction, conclusion, headlines and subheadings, figures and figure texts, method, results and discussion. She also teaches them how to look up difficult words and how to annotate them onto the article. Toward the end of the lecture, Thielen gives tips on how to focus and concentrate (getting rid of abstractions etc.) before she gives them a new poll asking what the students can do to be able to concentrate. The feedback Thielen has had from students suggest that they use the new information to improve their study habits. Amanda Nichols Hess talked about how she had made an online version of this campus course. The online course is self-paced and they can print their own course certificate. Oakland has several online courses, on plagiarism and referencing, transfer students etc.

Image from powerpoint presentation about scholarly journals

Glenn Koelling and Alyssa Russo from University of New Mexico talked about how they had created a mystery room, based on the escape room ideas (only – we are not trying to get them to escape..). Escape rooms are about solving riddles to get out of the room, the mystery room was about solving riddles and clues to teach students about types of information sources. “A book is not a format, it is a medium”, Koelling said. Students see a reference list with links as websites, but in reality it can be websites, journal articles, encyclopaedias etc. I have to admit that I have never thought about this. One of the tasks in the mystery room was to rewrite a text as a magazine article, a journal article etc. This was connected to the “Information creation as a process” frame in the framework.

Koelling and Russo showed us how they used a receipt from Starbucks as one information format. What is it? What is the purpose? Who created the information? What can it show us? I really think we should talk more about this when we teach. How information is created and what the purpose is could really be helpful before we start talking about searching for journal articles. I will definitely use this particular frame more in the future. Koelling and Russo’s talk showed how this frame can be used creatively.

The three P system: purpose, process, product. This can be used when we talk to students about information formats.

the intellectual and physical structure of a receipt

Koelling and Russo were inspired by Hofer, Hanick and Townsend’s (2019) new book.

Having written about information literacy for years, it was such a pleasure to be able to listen to some of the authors of texts I have referenced so often. I was almost a little starstruck to be in the same room as Don Latham and Melissa Gross. They gave a lecture on peritext analysis. Peritext is text and images that surround text, such as cover, tables of content, notes, introduction etc. Latham and Gross have made Peritextual Literacy Framwork (PLF) that works with the ACRL Framework. In their new book (Witte, Latham & Gross, 2019) the authors discuss how peritext is a literacy that could and should be used when we teach students information skills.

Latham and Gross had a handout that showed the interaction between the PLF and the ACRL Framework. An example of peritext: headings/subheadings, page numbers, hyperlinks and hot links. These are in the PLF listed under the Navigation category. They can be connected to the “Research as Inquiry” frame in the ACRL Framework. Gross and Latham (2017) also wrote about how peritext can be used to support critical thinking.

In the lecture that I attended they used mainly the “Authority is contextual and constructed” frame. There is so much information in various formats, eg. linked content, sound, animations, commersials etc. that we need to help the students see what this content is. Who made the content? Can we trust it? Who is it made for? – what does this do to authority?

Students find it hard to use the right information in the right context. We know that not all information can be used in all contexts, but we don’t really discuss this much with our students. All data is created in a context, and we need to talk more about this.


Gross, M.&D. Latham (2017) The peritextual literacy framework: Using the functions of peritext to support critical thinking. In: Library & Information Science Research, 39(2), p. 116-123.

Hofer, A., Hanick, S. L. & Townsend, L. (2019) Transforming Information literacy instruction : threshold concepts in theory and practice. Santa Barbara, Cal: Libraries Unlimited.

Witte, S.,  Latham, D. & Gross, M. (2019) Literacy Engagement Through Peritextual Analysis. Chicago: ALA Editions.


LILAC18: day 2, part 1

[This is blog post #3 from LILAC18. See previous posts here and here]

Ola Pilerot: Putting theory to work in practice: unpacking information literacy with a conceptual toolbox from library and information science

Day 2 started with a keynote by Ola Pilerot. I was looking forward to this keynote, as Pilerot´s work is known to me. I have read much of his work and I think he has made many interesting contributions to discussions in our field.

Watch the keynote here:

Although Pilerot was somewhat less clear in his keynote than in his articles (not very remarkable), I thought he gave a good presentation and I was reminded why I like his work. The main idea was that we should make an effort to see the relationship between theory and practice in the field of information literacy (IL), and that we have much to gain from trying to promote understanding between the different actors within the field. If the researchers understand librarians, students.. and vice versa we could teach and learn better.

There are many ways to understand IL, Pilerot said. It can be understood as a field of research for librarians, as a political goal or motive, or something that can be observed – or as an analytical field. Therefore, we should be careful with a normative approach to IL, meaning that we either implicitly or explicitly express that there is a right way and a wrong way to be information literate.

Pilerot presented several interesting theoretical models of IL. Wilson (1999)´s model on information searching, information seeking and information behaviour was dwelt on. Kulthau´s model for the Information Search Process included the students´ emotional behaviour during each phase, and that was something new when it first was published. However, this model is linear, and most information searching is not. Forster´s model is non-linear, but difficult to understand, and Bates´ model from 2002 is interesting as it shows IL as portrays the different approaches as directed/undirected and active/passive.

I have used several of these models, but the last one he talked about is perhaps the one I have used the most, namely Sundin´s approaches to teaching IL.


Sundin´s model: Approaches to teaching for information literacy.


It is very interesting, and I recommend reading the entire article.

Pilerot did a comparative study* between nursing students and engineering students. The nursing students cited much more literature and used “better” sources than the engineering students. Pilerot had a look at the culture behind these disciplines, what research questions they asked etc. The students practically had their own communities of practice within their own disciplines. The engineering students did not lack information literacy, but they adapted themselves to expectations within the field. It is important to remember that IL shows itself in different contexts.

*[Pilerot, O. (in press) Swedish university students´ information literacy: a comparison of two academic disciplines]

Amanda Folk: Drawing on identity and prior knowledge to join the conversation in research assignments

Folk has found the “Scholarship is a conversation” frame of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education particularly useful for students. Not only does it emphasise and make clearer what the students are expected to do in research assignments, but it helps them understand the other frames in the framework. In this session we talked about what the Scholarship is a conversation frame can mean and how we can use it. Many good ideas on teaching about content in this frame were mentioned by attendees.

One attendee said that she used this frame to talk about referencing, and how the students should think of their work as a part of a greater discussion. One attendee said that she focussed on how something being published does not have to mean that students have to agree, and she used this as a point for discussion. One said that she usually starts by saying to students that before there were journals, researchers wrote letters to each other, and this was the main idea behind the journal publications. One attendee said that he usually talks to students about writing as a piece of a large puzzle. We need each others pieces to complete the image.

Folk continued to say that talking about social class and capital is still somewhat taboo in the US, so it has not been discussed much. What kind of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu) a student has is important for how they react in different situations. FOlk therefore made a point about it being important to know what kind of background our students have to be able to organise our materials and teaching. Academic alienation is a real thing, and we have to talk about it. The ACRL Framework gives us some new opportunities, Folk said, and we should practice it for these students. The Scholarship is conversation frame is a good entry level, and we have to get the students to understand that they are part of the discussion. 

Folk is doing her PhD on hermeneutic phenomenology – she is trying to understand how it feels to receive and perform a research assignment [and this made me think of Project Information Literacy and Alison Head].

Folk did qualitative interviews with students. Some showed intrinsic motivations and others had a need to understand themselves and their own situations to take active standpoints and transfer their knowledge. Minority students often have a higher socio-political awareness than their majority counterparts, and they have given more thought to what their cultural, political or religious means in their society. It is important for us to make them understand that this background and their knowledge about this can be used in the academic discussions.

We all have funds of knowledge, Folk said.

This was a good session, and I think we all left the lecture theatre wanting to understand more and to look into more of the ACRL Framework with this background.


Teaching Information Literacy Reframed

teaching information literacy reframed

Teaching Information Literacy Reframed

I have been working on a small project recently. I think it`s about time that librarians in Norway discuss whether or not we should try to use a standard or a framework in our information literacy classes, and I have been working on translating the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to Norwegian and tried to see if I could somehow find some practical uses, through describing learning outcomes and learning activities to match them.

The framework itself is conceptual and quite hard to understand, and I came across a great book that I would like to recommend to those who seek to understand the framework. It`s called “Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners” and is written by Joanna M. Burkhardt.

Burkhardt has analysed the six frames in the ACRL framework and has tried to find leaning activities to match them. The activities themselves are perhaps not easy to use in Norway, as quite a few of them are very adapted to American society and history, but as inspiration they are great. In my little project, I could not use any of the activities from the book directly, but they made me think more broadly on the subjects and activities that better match the classes that I teach. Many of the activities described in the book are perhaps easier to use in classrooms and smaller groups, rather than in a lecture hall, but maybe one could use this book together with the ideas of a book that I have written about before: “Hvordan engasjere studentene” [How to engage students]? Using ideas from both books might work in lectures. 🙂

Anyway – I`m often impressed by how much interesting and good literature there really is about teaching information literacy. Now if we could only take the time to read and to discuss the ideas with other teaching librarians we could make some real changes..