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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Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: Another Look

“A conceptualization of visual proficiency is offered. A survey is described which asked college students (N=358) to identify five photographs, five symbols, and five paintings that are generally recognized to be “famous”. About 27% of all respondents claimed to recognize all the photographs, 23% recognized all the symbols, and 3% recognized all the paintings. About 14% correctly identified all the photographs, 4% correctly identified all the symbols and only 1% correctly identified all the paintings. The findings suggest that today’s college students may be adrift in a sea of images with little ability to see beyond their own generation.”

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Measuring Visual Literacy Ability in Grade Level Pre-Service Teachers

“This descriptive study is preliminary study to investigate the measurement of VL ability across the United States in order to establish a baseline VL ability measure from which to make vital decisions in the purposeful training of visual literacy within teacher preparatory programs and professional development within school districts. This study describes the mean performance levels of 125 participants collected from a randomly stratified national population within five of the six regional accrediting agencies for public higher education. The measures of central tendency and variance for the individual skills within the Avgerinou (2001) VL Index indicate a need for growth, in particular, in the intellectual skills of concrete concepts, defined concepts, and higher order rules. The implications of these findings emphasize the need for more development in critical engagement with visuals especially as it applies to Common Core State Standards assessments, consumer-driven marketing and power roles, and new modes of digital authorship in a media-saturated society.”

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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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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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Picture This, Imagine That: The Literary and Pedagogic Force of Ekphrastic Principles

“My thesis is comprised of two articles, titled “Interpreting Britomart’s Encounters with Art: The Cyclic Nature of Ekphrasis in Spenser’s Faerie Queene III,” and “Picture This, Imagine That: Teaching Visual Literacy in the Disciplines.” To communicate the urgency of the need for students to enrich proficiency at visual literacy, I provide a literature review that narrates the growing need expressed by visual literacy scholars, composition theorists, visualization theorists and specialists, and the library community for an overarching visual literacy framework that provides scaffolding and common language for students.”

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Beyond Habit and Convention: Visual Literacy and the VRC

“Critic John Berger’s ideas about seeing are still relevant. Many are certainly enveloped in the contemporary academic librarian’s definition of visual literacy. As one might expect, visual literacy has particular necessity for the librarian, like me, who works in a Visual Resources Center (VRC). I am very concerned with the habits of seeing among students and instructors… There are several challenges to visual literacy on campus. When these challenges are not met, there is reliance on convention and old habits. These challenges include resource unawareness, discomfort with technology, and information overload. As our VRC evolved from a slide library to a fully equipped digital media center, our ability to answer such challenges transformed.”

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New Media: Engaging and Educating the YouTube Generation

“Today’s undergraduates are clearly comfortable as consumers of technology and new media—purchasing ring tones for their cell phones and tunes for their iPods, text-messaging from handheld devices, scanning and tinkering with photos, keeping up with their Facebook friends and watching viral YouTube videos, sometimes all simultaneously. We share examples of classroom assignments integrated with library support services that engage today’s undergraduates with academic materials in a variety of course context. We discuss how specific arrangements of library learning spaces and alignment of space and staffing can help undergraduate students succeed with new media projects for class assignments.”

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