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.

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