Back to school…

I am now returning to this blog after a summer that seemed to go by way too fast. I am now getting back into the swing of things and making plans for the upcoming semester.

I really want to open this blog up to anybody that wants to discuss research, concepts, and intellectual debates that relate to information literacy. I want to hear what you are reading and how it shapes how you think about your information literacy work! Recent research from within the LIS discipline is welcome, but I would also like to welcome commentary and ideas from outside the discipline and profession. Were you reading some weird science fiction novel from the 1970s that made your think about different ways of teaching? Did you finally get around to reading Ulysses and you developed some insights about the nature of experience that you will use at reference desk? Was that stereotypical librarian on television last night reflective of how our students view us? Please share!

On to other matters…

I ran into this discussion over at Barbara Fister’s blog that relates to some of the things that I have thinking about this summer. I would recommend reading the interview and that she links to and the “Writing from Sources, Writing from Sentences” article discussed in the interview.

What this discussion has highlighted for me is how important disciplinary and general academic knowledge is when developing information literacy, research, and writing capabilities. Making sense of the key terms of a debate within a discipline requires a certain degree of experience with those debates. This became especially apparent to me when working on a project looking at the research and writing of undergraduate political science students. I just started Jane June and Richard G. Niemi’s book Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn and they point out that a student in a 200 level biology class would probably never enter the lecture hall or laboratory having heard heated discussions about the scientific method over the dinner table. This familiarity with the key terms of the discourse plays a huge role in just how a student conducts research and makes sense of what they find. This disciplinary knowledge is the only way to really make sense of all of those articles that stare back at you when you conduct a database search. In other words, something that takes a little more time than a 50 minute instruction session.

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