Intersections of Open Educational Resources and Information Literacy

ACRL announces the publication of Intersections of Open Educational Resources and Information Literacy, book number 79 in the Publications in Librarianship series. Edited by Mary Ann Cullen and Elizabeth Dill, the book captures current open education and information literacy theory and practice and providing inspiration for the future. 

Learn more about Intersections of Open Educational Resources and Information Literacy in this excerpt from the Introduction by the editors, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

OER and Information Literacy Intersect

From the planning stages to sifting through the proposals to reading the initial manuscripts and then seeing them in their final form, [creating this book has] been educational and enlightening, frequently even moving. (We laughed, we cried, we were in awe.) We’re very pleased with the range of topics represented and the fact that we’re one of the first edited books with an open peer review at ACRL publishing. The chapters include practical applications, theoretical musings, literature reviews, and case studies—sometimes more than one of those things in one chapter! The process has been stressed with the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of our authors had to withdraw for related reasons, and our thoughts are with them as we hope they are healthy and back on track with their research soon.

Some chapters illustrate how information literacy skills are key when finding, using, adapting, and producing open educational resources. Educators wishing to include OER for their students need to be able to find these resources and use them according to their permissions. When open pedagogical methods are employed, students need to be able to employ information literacy skills as they compile, reuse, and create open resources. In turn, in a world where information changes and is communicated at an increasingly rapid pace, it is important that information be openly available so that all people can access and use the information. Open resources may be used to teach information literacy skills to faculty, staff, and students, either in workshops, for-credit classes, or as part of another class.

The chapters in this book can stand alone as articles, but they also serve together in providing a look at current open education and information literacy theory and practice as well providing inspiration for the future. While we have grouped the chapters into sections by topic, most chapters could easily have fit into two or three different sections as they discuss social justice issues, collaboration, open pedagogy, training, and advocacy.


Mary Ann Cullen: An Open Primer: OER, Open Pedagogy, and Information Literacy

Recognizing that some of our readers may be new to the concepts of open education, open educational resources, open pedagogy, and information literacy, one of our editors created this chapter to introduce these concepts to new readers and to act as a point of reference for those with more experience with some or all of these concepts.

Paul Bond: Information Literacy and Open Education: Parallel Tracks toward a Common Destination

Both open education and information literacy have existed as education reform movements for nearly fifty years. The definitions of each have developed over time as the understandings of the concepts have grown and changed. While they have evolved separately, there has also been overlap and connections between the two. This chapter examines the evolution and connections by analyzing the content of the literature on open education and information literacy. There are opportunities to be found going forward as well in the synergy between the movements.

Lindsey Gumb: OER-Enabled Pedagogy Meets Info Lit: Empowering the Next Generation of Open Scholars

Working through each of the six frames of the ACRL Framework, this chapter presents an analysis of how open pedagogy projects develop information literacy skills. The primary example is a general science class open pedagogy project in which students build and enhance websites initiated by previous students in the course. Gumb discusses how librarians working with class instructors and directly with students can foster students’ lifelong skills as critical consumers, informed creators, and calculated contributors.

Teaching Info Lit with OER

Rosie Liljequist and Charla Strosser: “All the Better to Teach You With”: Integrating Information Literacy, Academic Composition, Fairy Tales, and OER

To address information literacy components that cannot be met in one-shot instructional settings, library faculty partnered with English faculty to create a hybrid course combining a three-credit Intermediate Writing course (ENGL 2010) and a one-credit Information Literacy course, INFO 1010. Each Intermediate Writing class is based around a specific theme of the instructor’s choice—in this case, fairy tales. Instructors replaced the traditional anthology by collaboratively compiling an OER using public domain, openly available, and library resources. Not only did the OER save students money, but it allowed the faculty to customize the resources to the theme of the class; they were also able to easily adapt the OER as different fairy tales were chosen and even as the course evolved to other popular topics. Students were able to apply their developing information literacy skills as they researched and wrote about themes related to the class theme.

James H. Cason and Nora B. Rackley: Library-Led OER Creation: Case Study of a Collaborative Information Literacy Project

This chapter describes the process of librarians and English faculty collaborating to create an OER information literacy textbook that guides students through the research process. From the selection of topics to considerations of project management, Creative Commons licensing, accessibility, hosting platforms, and accessibility to a description of each chapter in the final text, this chapter serves as a practical resource for others wishing to collaborating with subject faculty to advance the field of OER creation and publishing.

Roger Gillis: Open GLAM as OER: Digital Cultural Heritage and the Intersections of Primary Source Literacy and Information Literacy

Many cultural heritage organizations, including galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM), are adopting open licensing policies for their digital collections, an approach known as Open GLAM. Open access allows these resources to be shared with broad audiences while open licensing permits these resources to be used as OER. This chapter examines the use of Open GLAM resources as OER and explores how the use of Open GLAM resources as OER connects with information literacy and, more specifically, primary source literacy. It also examines considerations for cultural heritage organizations that adapt Open GLAM policies and approaches. Students using Open GLAM collections must develop skills to search these resources, understand related copyright issues, and consider the ethics of using culturally sensitive materials.

Librarian Support of Open Pedagogy/OER

Mandi Goodsett: Supporting Open Pedagogy with Information Literacy Instruction for Multimodal Composition Projects

This chapter opens with a discussion of open pedagogy (OP) and ways librarians can support OP projects—particularly, multimodal projects that go beyond mere text. An English faculty member collaborated with librarians to create an OP multimodal project in which students used digital media to engage rhetorically with a specific online community to which they belonged. The librarians created a multimodal composition research guide that included content about digital identity, copyright, and source evaluation. Library instruction sessions provided lessons in Creative Commons licensing and how to find and attribute CC-licensed sources.

Christina Riehman-Murphy: Situated Learning and Open Pedagogy: Pathways for Undergraduate Students’ Emerging Information Literacies

Undergraduate students worked closely with the lead faculty member and faculty librarians to transcribe a seventeenth-century family recipe manuscript from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Dromio transcription portal. Guided by open educational practices and situated learning, students engaged in authentic inquiry, contributions to public knowledge, legitimate participation in scholarly communities of practice, and the emergence of multiple sophisticated information literacies.

Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen: The Open Shark Tank: A Case Study of Business Research Methods II

In a twist on Shark Tank, the television show in which hopeful inventors pitch their ideas to potential investors, the “Open Shark Tank” project for a business class invited students to assess each other’s business proposals in the form of hypothetically funding the project (or not). This project evolved from what was originally an information literacy course; as both a librarian and adjunct business faculty, the author recognizes that business students were learning information literacy concepts that aligned with the ACRL Framework. While changes to the class also included an OER textbook, the author ascribes the improved grades and engagement to open pedagogical practices.

Vanessa Arce and Rena Grossman: Students Speak: Animating Stories about the Value of Information

An OER marketing initiative at Hostos Community College evolved into an open pedagogy project for students in an animation course. As students began working on animations for the project, the need for an information literacy component became evident, particularly information about copyright and licensing. The chapter describes project phases and the various opportunities we found to discuss the value of information with students, as both users and creators, as well as challenges and lessons learned. The authors discuss their partnership with the Media Design program and proposed plans to create an information literacy program tailored to the needs of future media design students.

Social Justice/Untold Stories

Kathy Swart: Critical Librarianship and Open Education: A Solution to Information Injustice

In this moving chapter, the author uses the example of a US-backed coup in Brazil as evidence of how the “winner” is the predominant voice in the historical canon and how persistent that voice may be. Often misrepresented as a “revolution,” the coup and similar events in Latin American history form the subject of open pedagogy assignments that correct the record, bringing in under-represented voices and alternatives to mistold stories. By incorporating a critical approach to academic authority, instructors can guide students to dig deeper and recognize that they have the power to effect change, whether it be a Slideshare presentation of artists from marginalized groups, creating or correcting Wikipedia entries, requesting corrections of faulty information, or engaging in real-world activism.

Yolanda Bergstrom-Lynch, Mary Mahoney, and Joelle Thomas: Doing Away with the “Curricular Black Box”: Empowering Students as OER Creators to Challenge Information Privilege

This chapter explores the intersections between critical information literacy, OER-enabled pedagogy, and information privilege. The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education emphasizes the intersections between information access, (critical) information literacy, and openness by promoting knowledge practices and dispositions that help students to see themselves as “contributors to the information marketplace,” to “recognize that unlikely voices can be authoritative,” and to “examine their own information privilege.” This chapter provides academic librarians with evidence-based strategies for using critical information literacy practices to build awareness of information privilege and to think through the role of OER and open pedagogy in empowering students to work toward reducing disparities in information access; examples include one-shot instruction sessions, a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, and student-created podcasts.

Student Advocacy

Andrea Scott and Jen Hughes: Developing Student OER Leaders: Student Advocacy and Outreach through Open Pedagogy

Salt Lake Community College employed student interns as OER advocates. As part of their responsibilities, the interns assisted in creating an OER training guide, an open pedagogy project that incorporated understanding, and applying information literacy skills. This chapter includes a discussion of some of the broader issues related to successes, disappointments, measures of success, and assessment efforts to discuss the efficacy and implementation of such a program, including high turnover and the need for metrics to measure the success of the internship.

Ariela McCaffrey: Fostering OER Student Champions Through Hiring Practices and Collaborative Projects

Connecticut College hired a student assistant to participate in an OER grant initiative, write articles about OER for the campus newspaper and departmental blogs, and communicate with stakeholders about the benefits of OER to the college community. Additionally, the student assistant and the OER program coordinator collaboratively wrote an openly licensed research primer for first-year students. The chapter includes practical advice for hiring, training, and managing such a student advocate as well as the creation of marketing materials and the research primer.

Spreading the Love: Training Future Advocates and Practitioners

Amanda C. Larson: Framing Open Education Within the Library

This chapter explores explicit connections between the six frames of the ACRL Framework and the work librarians do to support faculty interested in adopting, adapting, and authoring OER. These connections can work as touchstones that open education librarians can leverage with their subject librarian colleagues to generate buy-in for open education and open educational resources.

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz and Elvis Bakaitis: Breaking Open: Defining a Student-Centered Pedagogy

Librarians at the Graduate Center at CUNY (City University of New York) used state OER funding to create an Open Pedagogy Fellowship for graduate students who were teaching as adjuncts in undergraduate classes. Following a competitive application process, the fellows accepted into the program were introduced to open resources and strategies for innovative pedagogy at an intensive four-day OER boot camp and an end-of-year symposium. The fellows were challenged to implement “open” in their field of study, supported by librarians and educational technologists on the creation of course sites, and charged to migrate their syllabi to OER. Toronto-based scholar Clelia Rodríguez served as inspiration and symposium keynote speaker for the program, which was a response to decolonial and critical pedagogies, race/diversity in the New York City educational system, and inclusivity as it pertains to scholarship.

Jessica O’Reilly, Marnie Seal, and Mel Young: Collaborating to Support Learner Empowerment through Information Literacy, OER, and OEP

This chapter describes three successful models of collaboration between library personnel and campus partners in support of open educational practices. The first case describes the rich conversations and heightened learner engagement that resulted from incorporating explicit discussions of students’ intellectual property rights and open licensing options within basic library instruction. The second example illustrates the important role that library staff can play in advocating for and supporting the inclusion of marginalized voices and decolonial educational practices by critically examining the biases that operate within existing evaluative models, assisting faculty and students to evaluate non-traditional sources in ways that prioritize information literacy as well as social justice. The final example describes the vital role that library staff can play in assisting faculty, students, and institutions broadly to further develop the digital literacies necessary for making critical and informed choices related to educational technologies and digital platforms.