Visual Literacy Standards in Higher Education: New Opportunities for Libraries and Student Learning

“Visual literacy is essential for 21st century learners. Across the higher education curriculum, students are being asked to use and produce images and visual media in their academic work, and they must be prepared to do so. The Association of College and Research Libraries has published the Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, which, for the first time, outline specific visual literacy learning outcomes. These Standards present new opportunities for libraries to expand their role in student learning through standards-based teaching and assessment, and to contribute to campus-wide collaborative efforts to develop students’ skills and critical thinking with regard to visual materials.”

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Cognitive Visual Literacy: From Theories and Competencies to Pedagogy

“Visual literacy is an important part of being literate in the twenty-first century because people are interacting with visual materials with increasing frequency and immediacy as a result of the digital age. By understanding cognitive theories associated with visual literacy and combining them with the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, librarians can help students become visually literate. In addition to describing these cognitive theories and ACRL standards, the author provides practical suggestions as to how they may be utilized in visual literacy instruction.”

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Beyond the Physical Archive: Imagining Primary Source Literacies in the Digital Age

“In this paper, we propose strategies for outreach and collaboration with faculty and archivists that are centered on digitized primary sources. These strategies are based on our experiences and informed by a review of the literature of teaching faculty in several disciplines, as well as the archival literature, to identify current methods of teaching and supporting undergraduates’ research with primary sources.4 Next, we present examples of activities, assignments, and approaches to digitized primary source pedagogy that are linked to relevant information literacy and visual literacy standards. Finally, we offer concluding thoughts on the development of primary source literacies, not just in an era of digital abundance, but at a time in which the rapidly expanding field of digital humanities has the potential to complicate and alter students’ relation to sources even more dramatically.”

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An Integrated Approach to Developing Visual Literacy

“Developing instructional approaches and learning activities on applicable visual literacy training for K-12 teachers can be a challenge to teacher preparation programs and courses. This study illustrated how an integrated approach, which incorporated learning activities/projects and blended learning process, was adapted and implemented into one graduate education course for increasing pre-service and in-service teachers’ visual literacy skills. The effectiveness of such an instruction approach on participants’ visual literacy competences was examined. Most participants indicated that they met all of Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.”

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A Big Picture Approach: Using Embedded Librarianship to Proactively Address the Need for Visual Literacy Instruction in Higher Education

“As images become ubiquitous and more accessible in digital culture, their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge across academic disciplines is growing. Academic institutions need to adapt to this change by introducing new skill sets into the undergraduate curriculum. The term visual literacy encompasses the competencies necessary to critically use, produce, and analyze images. This article surveys the current methods academic librarians are using to introduce visual literacy instruction within their institutions.”

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“I Will Not Be a Tourist in the Land of Images”: Adding the Visual to Information Literacy Instruction

“… the creation of separate standards for IL and visual literacy (VL) suggests a disconnect between these constructs, despite the fact that words and images often function together as information carriers. IL standards seem to address verbal literacy, while visual or media literacy addresses the information associated with visual media. Given the increase in visual content carriers, a logical step for IL instruction would be the integration of VL and IL into a seamless literacy program (Harris, 2010). The presenters will suggest ways to combine VL and IL into a rhetorically based, critical-thinking approach to information. This approach can enrich IL and critical-thinking instruction, as learners are taught to apply rigorous criteria to texts regardless of their media form.”

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Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

“The importance of images and visual media in contemporary culture is changing what it means to be literate in the 21st century. Today’s society is highly visual, and visual imagery is no longer supplemental to other forms of information. New digital technologies have made it possible for almost anyone to create and share visual media. Yet the pervasiveness of images and visual media does not necessarily mean that individuals are able to critically view, use, and produce visual content. Individuals must develop these essential skills in order to engage capably in a visually oriented society.”

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The Case for Graphic Novels

“Many libraries and librarians have embraced graphic novels. A number of books, articles, and presentations have focused on the history of the medium and offered advice on building and maintaining collections, but very little attention has been given the question of how integrate graphic novels into a library’s instructional efforts. This paper will explore the characteristics of graphic novels that make them a valuable resource for librarians who focus on research and information literacy instruction, identify skills and competencies that can be taught by the study of graphic novels, and will provide specific examples of how to incorporate graphic novels into instruction.”

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