Visual Literacy Practices in Higher Education: What, Why, and How?

The nature of today’s communication is overwhelmingly visual. Images, as modes of communication, play a dominant role in our daily activities and are especially prominent in the lives of young people. Today’s students were born in image-saturated environments, the era of internet, digital technologies and touchscreens. Their communication practices are mediated visually, including photo and video creation and sharing, video chatting, and the visual language of emoticons, GIFs, and emojis. However, the moment students enter university classrooms, they are thrown into almost a completely textual world. Such highly textual context may cause an alienation from the course material and content. In consequence, contemporary millennial and post-millennial generations, although usually technologically savvy, are often visually illiterate.

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Visual Literacy in Preservice Teachers: A Case Study in Biology

In this study, we explore the competence of preservice teachers (n = 161) in labelling and creating new cross-sectional human diagrams, based on anatomy knowledge depicted in longitudinal sections. Using educational standards to assess visual literacy and ad hoc open questions, results indicate limited skills for both tasks. However, their competence is particularly poor creating diagrams, where shortcomings were observed not only in visual literacy but in content knowledge. We discuss the misconceptions detected during these assessments.

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Visual Literacy in Practice: Use of Images in Students, Academic Work

Digital technology has changed the way in which students utilize visual materials in academic work and has increased the importance of visual literacy skills. This paper reports the findings of a research project examining undergraduate and graduate students’ visual literacy skills and use of images in the context of academic work. The study explored types of visual resources used, the role that images play in academic papers and presentations, and the ways students select, evaluate, and process images. The findings of the study indicate that students lack skills in selecting, evaluating, and using images. Students use a range of visual resources in their presentations but rarely use images in papers.

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Visual Literacies in a US Undergraduate Writing Course: A Case Study of Transmediation

This interpretive case study examines how undergraduate students enact visual literacies, focusing on transmediation from visual-embedded research papers into multimodal brochures, in an entry-level college writing course at a large research university in the U.S. Data sources included students’ artifacts, interview transcripts, and field notes.

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Using Visual Materials to Teach Information Literacy Outside the Arts Curriculum

Students in non-arts disciplines generally are not taught to read and interpret visual images in the same way that those in the arts are taught. As a result, students in non-arts disciplines are often uncertain how to incorporate visual primary sources into their research. Using several of the frames outlined in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as an overarching structure, as well as the pedagogical model outlined in TeachArchives.org that focuses on active learning techniques, the authors outline their instructional techniques for teaching students to work with, and even interrogate, visual resources in a non-arts-based classroom.

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Understanding Corruption through Freehand Drawings: A Case Study of Undergraduate Business Students’ Visual Learning in the Classroom

Interest in the role of visual literacy within education has grown significantly over the last 50 years. Many scholars maintain that living in an image-rich culture in the twenty-first century requires preparing visually literate graduates who are capable of a critical reading and understanding of visual texts, as well as constructing images through critical thinking. However, nowadays, discussion about visual learning and development of visual literacy competencies of students studying business and management remains quite limited. This paper presents a case study of a visual learning activity introduced to 1st year undergraduate students which are often referred to as ‘digital natives’. This activity aims to develop students’ visual critical thinking about a complex social phenomenon of corruption through their engagement with a non-digital activity such as freehand drawing.

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Tomes/Consume This! Engaging Patron Expertise through Artists’ Books

This article presents one way that librarians, archivists, and educators can create new knowledge by connecting communities with rare material culture. The authors share how they engaged critically reflective practices while gathering descriptions of rare Mexican artists’ books at community-engaged outreach events. The books took on new meanings once they were removed from the context of the archives, and were centered within diverse communities.

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Teaching Students to Critically Read Digital Images: A Visual Literacy Approach Using the DIG Method

This innovative teaching idea, the Digital Image Guide (DIG) Method, addresses the pressing need to develop visual pedagogies in the university classroom by providing a technique for students to use to critically read digital images. This article also introduces the concept of shallow and deep images. It then explains the difference between the two types of images and how to use the DIG Method to dig deeper in order to understand deep images. By utilizing the DIG Method, students can learn to analyze, interpret, evaluate and comprehend images found on social media sites and around the web, increasing their visual literacy skills in the process.

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Social Media and New Visual Literacies: Proposal Based on an Innovative Teaching Project

Social networks and collaboration make it possible to offer new metacognitive horizons for comprehension of theories in a group of students considered digitally native. This study discusses the applicability of different forms of visualisation used as a constructivist learning technique on social networks.

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Representing Gender: Visual Literacy Instruction in the Academic Library

Contemporary society is dominated by visual communication, yet visual literacy is a learned skill that requires training. Gender issues, particularly the subjects of gender diversity and power struggles, are deeply pertinent to today’s visual culture. The critical consumption of information has long been taught in libraries, though instruction has typically prioritized text-based sources. However, visual literacy instruction has the capacity to provoke critical inquiry into issues of gender, race, social class, and ethnicity. As institutions that promote social justice, libraries can help improve diversity and inclusion in their communities through teaching visual literacy skills at all levels. Critical visual literacy instruction can also help academic libraries advance student scholarship, which can only be achieved if they are literate in all forms of knowledge production.

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Reading the World – Teaching Visual Analysis in Higher Education

This article provides a practical guide for teaching visual analysis to university students. By adapting Serafini’s curricular and pedagogical framework for teaching multimodal representations to incorporate self-reflection, I evince how visual analysis can be taught in a writing course and similar introductory courses.

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Past, Present, and Future: Mapping the Research in Visual Literacy

The multi-disciplinarity of visual literacy has become even more pronounced in an age of digital information. What shared questions do we ask in our research, where does our work intersect and how do those intersections define the field of visual literacy? Through an analysis of the articles published in the Journal of Visual Literacy from its inception in 1981 through 2017, this article aims to identify the research topics and questions that tie together the diverse disciplines in which visual literacy research takes place and to suggest areas for future research. Mapping the questions that drive our research can help us better define the field, better articulate the value of our scholarship and better share our work with those in the communities in which we teach and practice.

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Collecting Virtual and Augmented Reality in the Twenty-First Century Library

In this paper, we discuss possible pedagogical applications for virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), within a humanities/social sciences curriculum, articulating a critical need for academic libraries to collect and curate 3D objects. We contend that building infrastructure is critical to keep pace with innovative pedagogies and scholarship. We offer theoretical avenues for libraries to build a repository 3D object files to be used in VR and AR tools and sketch some anticipated challenges. To build an infrastructure to support VR/AR collections, we have collaborated with College of Liberal Arts to pilot a program in which Libraries and CLA faculty work together to bring VR/AR into liberal arts curricula.

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A Didactic Innovation Project in Higher Education through a Visual and Academic Literacy Competence-based Program

This research paper describes the application of a didactic innovation project in Higher Education. We present the theoretical foundation of the project. Thanks to the evolution of the Web and the potential of image to disseminate and generate knowledge, visual materials have had an increasingly powerful projection in Education, especially for the development of new methods, media and didactic materials in Higher Education. As a result of researchers interested in it, Visual Literacy has emerged as an academic field developing research and didactic effectiveness of the image, and digital competences and academic literacy as instruments to be integrated into curriculum of higher education for its excellence. We analyse the didactic innovation project by presenting how we integrated a Visual and Academic Literacy competence-based program into a course at the Carlos III University of Madrid.

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What Does It Mean to be Visually literate? Examination of Visual Literacy Definitions in a Context of Higher Education

Competency in visual literacy (VL) is crucial for effective visual communication, and thus for living and working in a visually saturated environment. However, VL across disciplines is still marginalized in higher education curricula. This tendency is partly caused by the lack of knowledge and agreement on what it means to be visually literate. This study juxtaposes and evaluates 11 VL definitions, selected as the most relevant for higher education practitioners and coined from 1969 (the first one) to 2013 (the most recent one).

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Visual Literacy, News Literacy, and the Fight Against Misinformation

This column explores the ways in which the new generation of librarians can position themselves at the front lines of the misinformation and “fake news” crisis by incorporating visual literacy and news literacy into information literacy lessons.

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Visual Intelligence Education as an Innovative Interdisciplinary Approach for Advancing Communication and Collaboration skills in Nursing Practice

Recognizing the relationship of keen observation to communication, critical thinking, and leadership in evidence-based literature, educators have expanded the use of art museums to augment visual intelligence skills. The purpose of this pilot intervention was to evaluate an innovative, interdisciplinary approach for integrating visual intelligence skills into an advanced communications and collaboration course. Collaborating with museum educators, the intervention for doctoral students was conducted at the National Gallery of Art. The aims were to explore and evaluate observation skills, use of intentional language in communication, impact of visual intelligence on perception, and role of visual intelligence with empathy.

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Use of Video in Philanthropic and Nonprofit Studies Programs

The effectiveness of using video content for teaching and learning has mixed reviews, but some potential positive outcomes include students improving their creativity, experiencing higher levels of interaction, increasing self-efficacy, and engaging in meaningful reflection. This exploratory study examined how higher education instructors in philanthropic and nonprofit studies programs in the United States use video in their courses

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The Role of Infographics for the Development of Skills for Cognitive Modeling in Education

Contemporary culture is a visual culture. Visual images become the predominant form of communication. Students should be visually literate and be able to read and use visual language, to decode, interpret and evaluate visual messages successfully, and, last but not least, to encode and compose meaningful visual communication. The combination of modeling with other methods in scientific knowledge increases its potential as a cognitive method. Infographics can play a significant role in the process as tool or target according to the age and cognitive abilities of the students.

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