Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy: How Two Academic Librarians Combined Information Science and Design in Their Careers

The two authors of this chapter both worked in graphic design departments before obtaining their Master of Library & Information Science degrees, and subsequent professional positions in academic libraries. Framed within a context of visual literacy, this chapter describes each author’s experiences with graphic design and how the skills gained from those experiences lend themselves well to academic library outreach, instruction, web design, and archival work.

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Using Strategies from Graphic Design to Improve Teaching and Learning

This chapter calls attention to the value of graphic design education in K–12 settings by explaining the history and practice of graphic design, identifying the uses and value of graphic design in education, and sharing a case study of how it can be applied in the classroom. The chapter focuses particularly on the value of constructing meaning with pictures and text, both for teacher use in the classroom and in student picture–text integrated projects. It argues that the visual draft process, which uses pictures and words together, can operate just as powerfully as the writing process to facilitate and demonstrate student learning. This graphic design process gives learners control of their content and liberates them to see different relationships between elements and ideas. At the same time, it frames picture and word relationships as malleable and builds flexible, critical thinking in multiple dimensions.

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The “Eyes” Have It: A Digital Media Lab in an Academic Library

Multimedia design center, digital media lab, makerspace, scholars’
lab—there are many names for the ways that academic libraries
are embracing a wider definition of the “library as space” concept,
“where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with traditional knowledge resources in a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today’s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching,
and research” (Freeman 2005, 3). While actively renovating and reinventing spaces for information/knowledge commons areas, the rationale for
this movement is to provide an environment where students have access to
equipment and space to experiment. The underpinning of this movement
encompasses two key missions of academic libraries: to develop skills in information literacy and to encourage critical thinking among college students.

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Teaching Visual and Media Literacy Skills Through Media Production Technology

Information professionals such as archivists and librarians are faced with the challenge of preserving, describing, and providing access to information encoded on a variety of media, both text based and visual. While the visual and media literacy discourse recognizes the role of information professionals in visual, media, and information literacy education, the literature contains few pedagogical approaches those charged with training informational professionals at the graduate level. This chapter discusses one approach to visual and media literacy instruction in the Moving Image Archives course offered at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, and suggests one method for visual and media literacy instruction at the graduate level. This technology-based approach addresses the “designing and creating” competencies from the Association of College and Research Libraries Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, creating an environment that simulates production by introducing students to the tools and technologies of media production. This approach could also be used in other academic disciplines, such as film and media studies, where students learn to analyze and interpret specific media products, but do not engage directly with the technologies used to create these images.

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Presenting My Selfie to the Digital World: Visual Composition for Better Representation

The intention that motivates an online image’s creation might be ignored by overwhelmed media consumers as images wash over them as they scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Consumers of commercially and personally produced images tend to focus on how those images make them feel as opposed to the narrative or reportorial information embedded in images. Since both “experts” and “novices” create online images, discerning an imagemaker’s level of expertise is difficult, if not impossible, to grasp due to lack of attribution, the availability of sophisticated online photo editing tools, and a steep learning curve among many novice creators. To discourage merely skimming images and to develop greater visual literacy, five principles of visual composition can be applied to access and analyze the intended and unintended denotative and connotative messages embedded in personal or commercial images posted on various social media platforms.

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Multimodal Composition in Teacher Education: From Consumers to Producers

In the twenty-first century, visual texts are vital to learning in English language arts (ELA). As English educators, we know the importance of telling and sharing stories in various formats in order to build community as well as facilitate deep understanding of the concepts we teach. In our methods courses for undergraduates, two of our course projects help students think creatively and reflectively about themselves as ELA teachers, particularly in this time of changing demands, standards, and high-stakes testing. Further, these projects also help to expand students’ understanding of visual and digital ELA content and promote their development as sophisticated consumers of these texts. However, the projects also encourage students to be producers of digital content and to better understand the affordances of multimodal composition. We ask students to use digital tools such as iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and VoiceThread to achieve our goals. In this chapter, we share the multimodal assignments we use and student project examples. While we teach in a university setting, we discuss adaptations to these projects that make them applicable to learners in other contexts.

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Integrating Visual and Media Literacy in YouTube Video Projects

Advancements in social media technologies have made it easier than ever to locate, produce, and share online video. Much of the rapid expansion of online video can be attributed to YouTube, which has become the largest and most popular video-sharing platform online. The development of visual and media literacy (VML) competencies is valuable when engaging with social media content and technologies like YouTube. This chapter illustrates how VML have been integrated within a set of educational YouTube video projects in an online university course that has been offered regularly since 2008. The projects discussed in this chapter were designed for an audience of adult educators, but have applicability in K–16 classrooms. YouTube was selected as the central video platform for several reasons, which include practical, technological, and societal factors. Competencies described in published definitions of VML frame the discussion. Curation projects involve finding, interpreting, and evaluating video resources, which are grouped into collections for educational purposes. Educational video creation projects include video blogs, remix, PowerPoint movies, and interactive videos.

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Better Images, Better Searchers: Google Images and Visual Literacy in the Sciences and Social Sciences

This chapter describes our instruction efforts concerning Google Images, a specialized search engine. We were inspired to teach Google Images to an academic audience by our experiences in the Power Searching with Google MOOC, Google’s effort to improve searchers’ understanding of their platform’s capabilities, and by our academic community’s interest in finding images for coursework, presentations, publications, and other scholarly activities.

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App it up: Using Google Apps in Library Instruction

Utilizing Google Apps in library instruction can help librarians easily incorporate digital literacy into their information literacy lessons. This chapter, informed by the experiences of three Eastern Kentucky University reference and instruction librarians, covers the basic functionality of Google Apps such as Google Drive (including Google Docs, Google Forms and Google Spreadsheets), Google Groups, Google Hangouts, etc., and some possibilities and advantages for creatively employing these apps to enhance face-to-face and online library instruction, as well as to aid in assessment.

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Visual Literacy Across the Disciplines

Visual literacy is a crucial skill for today’s university students and faculty. Thus, it is essential for academic librarians to have an understanding of basic issues surrounding use and discovery of images. This chapter defines visual literacy, explores potential visual needs across subject disciplines, discusses search strategies for images, describes potential roles
for academic librarians related to visual literacy, discusses ethical concerns regarding images, lists visual literacy competencies and selected resources on visual literacy, and indicates where to locate images.

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Transfer: Learning In and Through the Academic Museum

Academic art museums have been developing and using pedagogic approaches that support learning in the museum for many years. As with many teaching and learning practices, these have shifted from curator-centered lecturing to visitor-centered active learning techniques. Concern for how learning in the art museum can leverage learning outside of the museum (what we here refer to as learning through the museum) is a more recent consideration taken up by museum directors, curators, university teaching and learning centers, and individual faculty members.

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Reception of ‘Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education’ (ERIC, 2011) in the Polish Education System

In the paper the author describes the cultural and technological context of the visual literacy, coming from the specifics of the developing image culture and shaping of the information society. It shows the results of the pilot research on the Polish students in the scope of specific visual competences. The reference material for the research tasks prepared for‘”The legitimacy of visual literacy in the process of education” project was the visual literacy set (Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, Chicago 2011) developed in academic and educational environments in the USA (The Association of College and Research Libraries, ACRL).

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Crafting Knowledge with (Digital) Visual Media in Archaeology

Visual producers have a deep and inseparable relationship with the institutionalisation and development of archaeological practice. Their role in articulating concepts, circulating knowledge, refining interpretations, and publicising sites, finds and features – indeed demarcating those sites/finds/features in the first instance – is hardly a point for contention today.

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The Poster Session as a Vehicle for Teaching the Scholarly Communication Process

“This chapter will examine the role of the librarian in teaching the scholarly communication process, outline the relationship between a library and a formal undergraduate research program, detail how the poster session operates, and look ahead to how libraries can support expanding undergraduate research programs.”

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The Neoliberal Library

“Information literacy, from its emergence to its recent formulation, has and continues to uncritically adopt and reproduce neoliberalism within a closed discursive system that works to deny alternative conceptions of library pedagogy and instruction. The knowledge produced by librarianship and information literacy discursive practices is an enactment of power that naturalizes and authorizes neoliberalism and constrains the questioning of inequalities. Library instruction and pedagogy specifically and librarianship more generally need to begin promoting an awareness of the fields’ embeddedness within a neoliberal political and economic context, and engaging critically with that context.”

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Information Literacy Training in Higher Education as an Introduction to Lifelong Learning. The Needs of the Curriculum Reform

“The article discusses the need to modify the curricula of ICT in higher education. Contemporary university students seem to function well in the world of new technology, however, they have problems when working with information, including the identification of information needs, the selection of search tools adequate to the task and evaluating information found on the Internet. The curriculum of ICT at universities very often focuses only on narrow technical aspects. There is a necessity to introduce a broad perspective covering the organization, planning and implementation of individual learning in a digital information environment. It is a very important part of the development of the information culture of the young generation and lifelong learning process.”

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Art and Art History

“Because of the iterative nature of art history between observation and investigation, the library becomes part of the research process as a matter of course. The value of the library collections may not be as obvious to the studio art student, especially given that the web provides an abundance of opportunities to find visual materials for inspiration and social networks to gather information. Through effective library instruction that responds to their unique needs, we can help both populations become successful researchers and benefit from all the library can offer.”

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