I’m in the middle of planning my section of Tackling a Wicked Problem for the Fall 2019 semester. One of the most important aspects of the class is that students learn about information literacy. We use two frameworks for information literacy in the class. The first is the Seven Pillars Model which was developed by the Society of College, National and University Libraries in the United Kingdom. The second is the SIFT Model developed by Mike Caulfied in his book Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers. Our librarians in Lamson Library are important partners in helping us create experiences for students to learn how to gather, interpret, cite, and use information appropriately and effectively. Therefore, I’m planning to bring my students to library at least three times this Fall.
I am developing a list of phrases related to climate change (the wicked problem we are addressing) that will jumpstart our conversation in the first week of classes. In particular, we will talk about what they know about those phrases and how they know they think they know. We will go to the library during the second week of the semester to focus on how to evaluate sources of information and make decisions about what to believe. After our library visit, we’ll have conversations about our collective gaps in our knowledge about climate change so that students can start to think about what specific things they are interested in related to climate change.
I plan to have my students use Design Thinking to work on two projects. The first one will be designed by me while the second will be designed by the students in their small groups using what they learned from the first project. We will visit the library at least once for each of these projects.
The first project (again, designed by me) is related to the Digital Polarization Initiative, a nation-wide project that Caulfield describes as a “student-powered Snopes.” The idea is that students investigate claims about a topic and present their research regarding the truth of the claim publicly online. So my students will investigate claims about climate change and post their findings online. I am in the process of developing a list of possible claims for my students to investigate. They will have a choice of the claims they want to investigate and can even come up with their own claims. As they investigate these claims, we’ll visit the library again to get more specific information about scholarly sources and how to cite the sources they use.
After students have researched claims and presented conclusions about those claims, they will engage in a project of their own design. Once they have figured out the direction they want to go in, we will visit the library again. This visit will be more self-directed than the first two. Our library liaison and I will provide support for their individualized needs related to their project development.
I’m sure this action plan won’t go exactly as I’ve laid it out here. But I look forward to working closely with the library liaison for my class, Anne Jung-Mathews, to provide information literacy learning experiences for my students.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.