It's not your mother's information literacy

Over the course of the last year I’ve had several stimulating and interesting conversations with School of Information Clinical Assistant Professor Kristin Fontichiaro. She’s into peer-based learning, badging, maker spaces and open education, fostering teachers prepared for education in the 21st century, etc. However, I was dubious when she asked me to mentor one of her students enrolled in SI 641 Information Literacy for Teaching and Learning.

Here at Open.Michigan we do a lot of instruction: training, workshops, presentations, conversations, and resource development. But we do this based on demand. We don’t really plan ahead very much. So when she emailed me with this list of what her practicum students do:

  • Perform 20 hours of shadowing someone who does instructional work related to information literacy (and CC/open access certainly does)
  • Attend 2 face-to-face lessons
  • Create a 15-20 hour online learning module (designed collaboratively between student and mentor)

I thought, “Can we support this kind of structured work?”

I was totally wrong. Victoria Lungu has been able to build on our School of Open research and efforts and our ongoing collaborations with Peer to Peer University. She’s brought a lot to the table, challenging us to align our work with the pedagogy and perspective of information literacy in the 21st century. At the end of the day, our work at Open.Michigan (especially our research, training, and experimentation) are deeply aligned with info lit.

And, in keeping with our innovative but independent starter attitude, Victoria has been a real leader in shaping how she has collaborated with Open.Michigan this semester to explore and practice models of information literacy. Here’s what she’s accomplished with us this semester:

  • Keeping up with the WIDE-EMU folks.
  • Leading the first in-person School of Open course.
  • Giving feedback on School of Open courses including figuring out how to provide structure for in-person group learning and online independent learning in challenges.

She’s just getting started developing her online learning module but we think it will be good. Working with Victoria is an example of  one of the most rewarding parts about what I get to do at Open.Michigan. Challenging students to work with us as peers in understanding and practicing open, participatory education is always an exercise in trust. So far the amazing work by U-M students collaborating with Open.Michigan has always exceeded our expectations.

Staff Picks for Media for Promoting Open Content

Earlier this year, the OER movement celebrated its tenth anniversary. There are now several hundred million Creative Commons licensed works and hundreds of open projects around the world. This exponential increase in open content has also generated some excellent media for promoting the concept of open licenses within academic institutions, governments, and in personal activities.

We’ve created a number of handouts to promote Open.Michigan content, processes, and tools. We’re not the only ones though. There are concise handouts, attention-grabbing posters, cool comic books, and thought-provoking videos from other creators that make spreading the word about open efficient and fun.

Some of our staff favorites for open license advocacy and education materials include:

Open.Michigan's Collection Guidelines

The University of Michigan (U-M) has a diverse culture of sharing. Faculty members, students, and staff are sharing open educational resources, open access pod casts, free (as in no cost to end users, but not openly licensed) massive online open courses, and are contributing educational content to sites like Wikipedia, Youtube, you name it.

A major distinction between some of these forms of sharing are the use of Creative Commons licenses that allow for reuse, remixing, and redistribution. Some of the educational materials and experiences listed above have such a license, others do not.  But, they’re all available to the public, free of charge – and they’re all made available to the public by folks at U-M who are interested in sharing with the world in new and exciting ways.

We’ve had many conversations about how we might more accurately represent this diverse culture of sharing on Until recently, we didn’t have anything to guide our decisions for what to include on the site, what to reference and what to promote – other than “Does it have a Creative Commons license that allows for remixing, or not?” And so, many members of U-M’s culture of sharing weren’t represented on the site. To address this gap, we developed the following guidelines:

Collection Guidelines

Open.Michigan’s collection ( showcases teaching and learning resources and experiences from University of Michigan (U-M) faculty, students, staff, and partner institutions. The Open.Michigan initiative seeks to foster a thriving culture of sharing knowledge and scholarship at the University of Michigan, enabled by Standard Practice Guide 601.28, by building and supporting communities of open education resource producers and users. Open.Michigan does not provide permanent and accessible service to U-M produced digital works for an extended period of time. For archival needs, visit the university’s institutional repository, Deep Blue.

Scope of Hosted Educational Content

U-M Open Educational Resources (OER): Teaching and learning materials produced by U-M faculty, students, and staff that are licensed under a Creative Commons license (“open license”) that allow for redistribution, copying, and adaptation. Openly licensed teaching and learning objects from partner institutions may also be hosted on

Types of Hosted Content: Assignments, articles, artistic works, lecture presentations, notes, image collections, syllabi, and other scholarly output (e.g. research papers, dissertations, manuscripts), training materials, teaching and/or learning objects and resources recorded in a digital medium.

Scope of Referenced Educational Content

Whenever possible, the Open.Michigan collection will provide web links to U-M produced resources and experiences that are publicly available online for free. Copyright restrictions on these materials may prevent Open.Michigan from hosting and redistributing them. This content may or may not be licensed for personal duplication, modification, or redistribution.

— View the guidelines on our Strategy page.

We recently discussed these guidelines and the U-M culture of sharing at Open Ed 2012.  If you have a moment, or 14 minutes, check it out:

Again, our goal with this document is to provide ourselves with guidelines for more accurately representing all of the types of sharing that’s taking place at U-M. Additionally, by being more inclusive, we’ll be able to start conversations by showing sharers that they’re already recognized members of the sharing community. For those that are not openly licensing their content, we can then continue the conversation by introducing tools, concepts, and open licenses that can make their content open to legal reuse, remixing, and redistribution.