Uncovering Information Literacy Practices to Promote Collaborative digital Scholarship

Jennifer Jarson and Lora Taub-Pervizpour (Muhlenberg College)

We present a collaboration between library and faculty in New Information Technologies, an introductory course that challenges students to think critically about information technologies and reflect on their identities as citizens of a global information society. In Spring 2014, student teams investigated global internet censorship and produced short research presentations with various digital collaborative tools. The project aimed to develop students’ capacities to discover, organize, analyze, create, and share information in order to achieve their goals as information literate learners. Student digital scholarship demonstrated strong engagement with digital tools and visual data, but weaknesses in evaluating and interpreting information in historical, political, and social contexts. These limitations guide planning for Fall 2014, which scales up to enhance students’: complex, reflective work and conceptual information literacy development. Our expanded collaboration scaffolds key questions and practices for digital scholarship, and models research process elements. It also introduces a digital photo diary as space for students to document and reflect upon their information seeking, organization, evaluation, analysis, and integration. The digital photo diary serves as both demonstration and assessment of students’ negotiations with information literacy threshold concepts, and deepens their awareness of themselves as producers of scholarship within the digital learning environment. Our case study highlights how students’ work in digital spaces enhances their organization, documents their learning, and meaningfully contributes to collaborative digital scholarship. This library/faculty collaboration also provides a promising lens for viewing broader curricular initiatives that leverage digital resources in the context of information literacy and content area goals.