Collaboration, information literacy, and troublesome knowledge: Threshold concepts in the real world

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Presented at the 2014 Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy in Savannah, Georgia, October 11, 2014

Text of Collaboration, information literacy, and troublesome knowledge: Threshold concepts in the real world

  • 1. Collaboration, Information Literacy, andTroublesome Knowledge: ThresholdConcepts in the Real WorldRebecca K. Miller and Sara M. Crickenberger, Virginia TechGeorgia International Conference on Information Literacy | October 2014

2. 2Image from 3. 3Images from 4. 4Session Objectives Explain threshold concepts andinformation literacy (IL) thresholdconcepts Describe how IL threshold concepts canbe effectively integrated into a course Explore threshold concepts in course andassignment design 5. 5 6. Framework for IL for Higher Education Scholarship is a Conversation Research as Inquiry Authority is Contextual and Constructed Format as a Process Searching as Exploration Information has Value6 7. Threshold Concepts7Introduced by Jan Meyer & Ray Land (2003):Threshold concepts are the core ideas and processesthat define the ways of thinking and practicing for adiscipline but are so ingrained that they often gounspoken or unrecognized by practitioners(Townsend, Brunetti, & Hofer, 2011, p. 854) 8. CriteriaCriteria for threshold concepts (Meyer & Land, 2003) Transformative causes a shift in perspective Integrative brings together separate concepts Irreversible once grasped, cannot be un-grasped Troublesome may be counterintuitive Bounded helps define boundaries of a disciplineor may be unique to a discipline8 9. Examples9Discipline Threshold ConceptPhysics Heat transferBiology EvolutionMathematics LimitsLiterary & Cultural Studies SignificationEconomics Opportunity cost 10. Threshold Concepts in IL10Hofer, Townsend, and Brunetti (2012) Metadata = findability Good searches use database structure Format is a process Authority is constructed and contextual Primary source is an exact and conditional category Information as a commodity Research solves problems 11. Why?11Threshold concepts can help librarians devise targetedcurricula by prioritizing trouble spots. Learners whocross these thresholds are well positioned for academicinquiry.(Hofer, Townsend, & Brunetti, 2012, p. 403) 12. 12 13. Changes & Challenges13threshold concepts are of limited use for one-shotinstruction because a fundamental feature of crossinga learning threshold is that it takes some time toaccomplish(Hofer, Townsend, & Brunetti, 2013, p. 112) 14. 14Image from 15. Our Example English 1106 at Virginia Tech Instructor + Librarian collaboration Information Literacy Threshold Concepts Research as Inquiry and others15 16. Adult Learning Collaborative Problem based Relevant Immediate/goal oriented Reinforceable Practical16 17. English 1106: Writing from Research Collaborative learning process Traditional collaborators: Students +Instructor Missing partner: The research expert Ideal collaboration = Students + Instructor+ Research Librarian17 18. Problem BasedFirst session Library environment new/foreign for many Eases students into research Students reach basic level of understanding/competence Works for initial involvement/first projectsSecond session Stakes ramped up to biggest research project of semester Factors in place to bring students to deeper level of learning Opportunity to cross threshold18 19. Key Factors Relevant: Research is extremely relevant to problemin front of student Immediate/goal oriented: Second session is righttime to deepen skills/understanding of key concepts:facing finite deadline, definite goal Reinforceable: Classroom session builds on skillsintroduced, used earlier Practical: Using students laptops simulates theirnormal research environment19 20. The Threshold20Crossing the threshold Internal motivation Self direction Both are key factors for adult learnersThose who are willing to go deeper have theopportunity and the resources 21. MotivationMotivation Ultimately, learners must be internally motivated Students lacking motivation may fail to cross thresholdStrategies to enhance motivation Allow students to research topics that excite them Provide positive reinforcement21 22. SuccessWhat success is Increased understanding of quality research sources Ability to find appropriate sources to solve research problemWhat success looks like More research sources More high-quality (peer-reviewed) sources Fewer low-quality sources The bottom line: stronger research projects/papers22 23. 23Image from 24. Conversation: Question 1Which information literacy (IL) thresholdconcepts seem particularly relevant toyour disciplines and your classrooms?24 25. Conversation: Question 2What sorts of strategies might you use tointegrate any relevant IL thresholdconcepts into your teaching?25 26. Conversation: Question 3What challenges might you encounterwhen integrating IL threshold conceptsinto your teaching?26 27. Conversation: Question 4Are you able to identify any on-campuspartners who might be able to assistand support you in integrating ILthreshold concepts into your teaching?27 28. Conversation: Question 5What other questions do you have aboutIL threshold concepts or thresholdconcepts in general?28 29. Further Reading Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). (2014). Framework for information literacy in highereducation draft 2. Retrieved from Hofer, A. R., Townsend, L. & Brunetti, K. (2013). A thresholds concepts approach to the standardsrevision. Communications in Information Literacy, 7(2), 108-113. Hofer, A. R., Townsend, L., & Brunetti, K. (2012). Troublesome concepts and information literacy:Investigating threshold concepts for IL instruction. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 12(4), 387-405. Meyer, J. H. F. & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to newways of thinking and practicing within the disciplines. ETL Project Report. Retrieved from Meyer, J. H. F & Land, R. (2006). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: An introduction. In J.H. F. Meyer & R. Land (Eds.), Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold concepts andtroublesome knowledge (pp. 19-32). London: Routledge. Townsend, L., Brunetti, K., & Hofer, A. R. (2011). Threshold concepts and information literacy. portal:Libraries and the Academy, 11(3), 853-869.29 30. Contact UsRebecca K. MillerUniversity Libraries, Virginia Techmillerrk@vt.eduSara M. CrickenbergerDept. of English, Virginia Techsmcrick@vt.edu30