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Research Spotlight: Authentic Student Participation — Information Literacies in Open Pedagogy

Post by Tannis Morgan, researcher, Open Education at BCcampus

The BCcampus Open Education Research Webinar series was a four-part showcase of research on open education featuring colleagues from the B.C. post-secondary sector. It took place between May and August 2020 and aimed to bring attention to important research conducted by B.C. post-secondary educators. The four sessions attracted over 344 registrants from all 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C., as well as from over 60 institutions across Canada and 37 internationally. Additionally, there were a range of participants from the private sector.

The research webinar series kicked off with Erin Fields, UBC liaison and flexible learning librarian, with a session called Authentic Student Participation — Information Literacies in Open Pedagogy.

Erin began her presentation with a deep dive into the confusing landscape of open pedagogy definitions and orientations. Through a thoughtful step-by-step comparison, Erin underlined how open pedagogy and critical information literacy are complementary themes, despite having some unique elements. She proposed that, if critical information literacy and open pedagogy align, then there are ways in which creation activities can be aided by both.

Unique Elements Table

on the left of the table: Open Pedagogy

-Invites students to be active participants and collaborators

-Commitment to creation and openness

-Network technologies for participation**

On the right: Critical Information Literacy

- Focus on using a critcal-pedagogy informed teaching practice to engage with information systems

- Focus on developing a practice of crtical reflection about information systems

-Network technologies for finding**

Erin then shifted gears and spent the second part of her presentation demonstrating how this works in practice through two concrete UBC examples. The first example of FNIS 220: Representation and Indigenous Cultural Practices involved a Wikipedia gap analysis and editing activity to explore the problem of representation in these spaces and how to change this. This activity had students challenging how knowledge is structured, the values that go into its organization, and the role that student agency can play. It was also a moment to critique open systems and citation practices.

The second example came from a course centred on social justice zines, which allowed for a conversation around cultural appropriation and how copyright fails in the area of cultural artifacts. The activity produced some great examples that generated important critical conversation and resulted in a student co-developed structure for using materials in their zines.

These are just two examples Erin shared on ways that open pedagogy and critical information literacy can complement each other and how more active engagement and authentic learning resulted in a holistic learning process. Visit the event page to watch the recording and view the slides.

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