metaliteracy MOOC topic two overture

Ironically, after renewing my commitment to this MOOC last week, I unfortunately suffered an injury that required an x-ray and, more recently, an MRI. But I’m back as I prepare for my almost weekly meetings with my MOOC group in the libraries.

The current topic is called ” The Metacognitive Dimension of Metaliteracy.” The primary reading and video are by Char Booth, a rock star in the library world if there ever was one. I had the pleasure of participating in ACRL Immersion where she was faculty. Maybe this isn’t descriptive and slightly juvenile, but she’ s really cool. I wish I was better at keeping in touch with people. If only I could have participated in the live session!

I watched the video first (above), and it was a recording of a keynote that Char Booth gave at ACRL-Oregon in 2012 entitled “Revaluing Libraries: content, container, or concept?” She begins by challenging the audience to rethink the crisis narrative prevalent in libraries. Her argument is that this will never change, and the way to stay afloat is to focus on the underlying foundation of libraries–the “concepts” that drive our work instead of the ways they’re defined, which is usually as content and container.

Then, she goes on to use her own personal (non-crisis) narrative to articulate the insights she’s made about the library as cultural institution in her life as a way to eventually discuss scholarship and open access as pedagogical tools to engage students. There’s a lot more substance, examples, and forays into the idea of freedom in education, but I’m on a time crunch and the video is worth watching. She connects the dots very well in her reflective storytelling (metacognition!), and I have thoughts about it that I’ll have to articulate another time.

So as you might guess (or know if you’re also taking the MOOC), “open access as pedagogy” is the other major theme of the current topic. It also happens to be the title of her blog post that was also assigned as reading. It’s a reprint of a talk given at the 2013 United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (USETDA) Conference by a guy named Char Miller.

Takeaway? I now have heard of two people named Char.

But seriously, I can see why she proffers his talk as “required reading.” He begins by contrasting his own thesis writing experience with that of his students. The difference is stark in terms of access. Whereas literally 3-5 people (including his parents) may have read his thesis when it was available (it is now in some special collection), hundreds of people have downloaded his students’ articles and will probably continue to do so. This is the stepping off point his argument about why undergraduate research should be published open access. Again, it’s a great read that I won’t dive into here, but that I think is worth tackling.

This module comes at an opportune time, and it’s convinced me, along with recent publications, that a lot of people are converging on this idea. When I was first revising our credit courses, this was an insight that we had also come to. In fact, two of my colleagues and I have been slowly writing an article on this topic from a cognitive approach–what mental models do students currently hold regarding the nature of research and scholarship, and how do we increase the sophistication (what we argue are) simplistic models?

Anyway, great content this week. All I need to do now is watch the recorded session and try to catch up with everyone!

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