Visual Literacy Synthesized: A Content Analysis of Syllabi to Build a Better Visual Literacy Course

This paper implements a content analysis approach to examine syllabi of existing visual literacy
and media literacy courses for themes that meet best
practices as established by the ACRL standards. These
themes have then been combined into a syllabus template representative of a course that will meet the
commonly accepted needs of contemporary students
in higher education. The template includes recommended readings and assignments.

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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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Visual Literacy and Education: Seeing the World Meets Critical Thinking

The abundance and complexity of information now being delivered visually demands that we become visually literate, as well as verbally literate. We need to understand better a process we have taken for granted. In an age increasingly dominated by images – a media culture, it becomes imperative to develop an understanding of how our visual processing system works; how visual cognition is shaped by social, political, and cultural conditioning; and how visual messages are created to elicit specific responses. One of the chief goals of visual literacy education is to encourage critical analysis of visual communication by developing tools that help us understand and manage this complex activity. “Seeing” needs to become an actively conscious, not a passive activity for us. This thesis illustrates the importance of critical visual literacy, provides an historical overview of the visual literacy movement, and suggests a foundational approach to teaching the basics of visual literacy.

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Visual Literacy (VL) in Teacher Preparation: Measurement to Direction

An abridgment of the dissertation Measuring Visual Literacy Ability in Graduate Level Pre-Service Teachers by Teresa A. Farrell, this quantitative descriptive study was designed to establish a baseline of VL ability within this population using a national pool of graduate level students enrolled in teacher preparation programs. Avgerinou’s (2007) VL Index (modified to an online format) was the instrument used to measure VL ability. Results of this study indicate there may be a need for purposeful VL instruction in teacher preparation programs to better equip teachers in K-12 to be visually literate.

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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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Using Photography to Foster Intergenerational Understanding

This study examines how a visual art academic experience might help to reduce anxiety about interactions with the elderly, mitigate fears over aging, encourage more interactions with older people and improve visual literacy skills. University students in an introductory digital photography course interpreted conversations with residents of a local nursing home with visual images. An analysis of critique discussions and student images reveals the project’s capacity for building empathy and visual literacy. This academic experience might help to mitigate students’ fears over aging while establishing intergenerational communication.

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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 Literacy Skills in a One-Shot Session

Just as one-shot information literacy sessions can be implemented in college classes to improve students’ research capabilities, similarly-styled sessions on image research can increase their visual literacy skills. The desired outcome of teaching an instructional session is to provide students with the tools and confidence they need to effectively use high-quality visual materials in their undergraduate years and beyond.

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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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Stories of Service-Learning: Guidelines for Increasing Student Engagement with Digital Storytelling

This article describes a project at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Libraries in which two library staff members–a librarian and a media specialist–collaborated with a Communication Studies professor to provide assistance for two sections of an Intercultural Communication class in the creation of digital stories. As part of the course requirements, students performed service hours with community organizations and then created digital stories as a way to reflect upon and share their experiences. The project provided students with an opportunity not only to create and reflect but also to acquire digital media and visual literacy skills that may be helpful to them in future coursework and employment. In this article, the authors will describe how the digital storytelling project was designed and executed at UNR and provide guidelines for executing digital media projects to increase student engagement and to support a variety of learning objectives.

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Some Visual Literacy Initiatives in Academic Institutions: A Literature Review from 1999 to the Present

The ubiquitousness of images in the digital era highlights the importance of individuals’ visual communication skills in the 21st Century. We conducted a literature review of visual literacy initiatives in academic institutions to illustrate best practices for imparting these skills in students. The literature review identified five categories of visual literacy educational strategies in academic institutions including: the availability of instructional scaffolds, faculty’s creation of activities and assignments aimed at increasing students’ abilities to interpret and create visual images, lectures and readings that promoted visual design principles, the development of programs and courses centered on visual communication, and research initiatives that sought to identify and improve individuals’ skills in communicating visually. The latter two strategies remained especially popular in institutions outside of the United States. All of the efforts served to focus attention to the importance of visual literacy competencies in higher education.

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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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Librarians and Graphic Design: Preparation, Roles, and Desired Support

Librarians often become de facto graphic designers for their libraries, taking responsibility for designing signage, handouts, brochures, web pages, and many other promotional, instructional, and wayfinding documents. However, the majority of librarians with graphic design responsibilities are not trained as graphic designers. This exploratory research study surveyed librarians to determine their graphic design training and preparation for their assumed design duties as well as the support and training they desire. Results from this study can be used by library administrators when providing support for librarians with graphic design duties.

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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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Imagining a Constructionist Game-based Pedagogical Model: Using Tabletop Role-playing Game Creation to Enhance Literature Education in High School English Classes

In today’s K-12 educational environment with the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS), improving student literacy as a foundational skill to obtain success in all other subject areas is one of the most important goals. Unfortunately, many literature curricula suffer from a lack of innovative pedagogy despite the introduction of various educational technologies meant to aid student learning. This study focused on developing a new game-based constructionist pedagogical model for literature education using tabletop role-playing game creation. Using Shulman’s (1987) Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) that eventually evolved into Mishra and Kohler’s (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) as the main theoretical framework, this design-based research showed how tabletop role-playing game creation as a constructionist pedagogical strategy successfully helped high school students to receive the benefits of high quality literature education.

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Illustrations of Iconic Women in Children’s Book Biographies

The purpose of this study is to examine the illustrations of iconic women in children’s book biographies published in the United States. Part I will discuss the history of juvenile children’s book biographies and identify the gradual growth of illustrated biographies and the emergence of children’s picture book biographies pertaining to women throughout the twentieth century. Part II will present research on the history of four iconic individuals and representations of them in art as a foundation. There will be a discussion of past and contemporary depictions of four iconic women: Joan of Arc, Pocahontas, Harriet Tubman, and Josephine Baker, by various children’s book illustrators in different time periods. This will allow for the comparison and contrast of different approaches of illustration for these women. Through in-depth research and interviews the visual representation of a historical female figure in children’s books will be explored.

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Exploring Relationships Between Thinking Style and Sex, Age, Academic Major, Occupation, and Levels of Arts Engagement Among Professionals Working in Museums

With evidence that arts engagement and nonlinear thinking style both utilize insight, intuition, and emotion in the decision making process, the literature has driven an investigation of the relationship between levels of arts engagement and thinking style preference. This nonexperimental correlational study (N = 101) explored (a) the prevalence of linear, nonlinear, or balanced linear/nonlinear thinking style of professionals working in museums. (b) Whether thinking style has a relationship with (i) age; (ii) sex; (iii) academic major; (iv) occupation; (v) levels of arts engagement. Two theoretical frameworks underpinned this study: (a) new literacies and (b) cognitive styles.

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Developing Visual Literacy: Historical and Manipulated Photography in the Social Studies Classroom

The importance of visual literacy development is demonstrated using social studies examples from an innovative, collaborative arts program. Discussion of the Visual Thinking Strategies approach, connections to the Common Core State Standards, prompts for higher-order critical thinking, and the application of historical and social science ideas in the classroom are presented.

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