Tutor profile: Courtney D.
Subject: Library and Information Science
If you could change one of the frames from the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, which would choose, and how would you change it?
The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education all but replaced the ALA's Standards and Competencies for Information Literacy at the end of the last decade. While some academic librarians hold to the more concrete predecessor, there is overwhelming evidence that the Framework has won the day. Unfortunately, there are certain flaws in this abstract guide to information literacy. For instance, the frame 'Authority is Constructed and Contextual' wants the learner to consider how, where, and when non-professionals/ academics could serve as an authoritative voice. Unless these learners have a solid grounding in any critical studies, they may struggle to conceptualize the concept of 'constructed', or they may simply see this phrase as a free pass to alternative facts. If authority is constructed, who constructs it? And who gave that individual the authority to decide that authority is constructed? The idea of social constructs does make sense, as does the importance of context; however, when most college students are only sporadically exposed to information literacy instruction, and the concepts are not only abstract but difficult to assess, they are free to interpret them. After all, they could be an authority.
How, where, and when does learning occur?
Learning begins with cognition. In his 'Essays' Francis Bacon writes of a child's natural curiosity indicating that many of the most intelligent individuals learn primarily through exploration and independent inquiry. While some may reject the lessons available to them, learning continues over the course of a life, whether one chooses to learn from their environment or remain stagnant in their thoughts, views, and actions, they continually gain self-awareness of their own likes and dislikes. Additionally, Hegel suggests in his 'History of Philosophy' that in early human history, even infants were left to care for themselves. This difficult concept stands counter to more common lessons of community and tradition at the fore of human learning.
Identify at least one reason writer's should not begin an essay or presentation with a polar (or yes/ no) question or statement.
Writer's should not begin essays with polar questions or statements for two key reasons. First, this strategy is sophomoric, and overused, but also weak. Second, polar openings are not only weak, they potentially backfire. For example, if an essay begins "Everybody knows strawberry jam is superior to grape jam," the writer has just excluded, and therefore lost the interest and support for any reader that prefers grape jam. Similarly, beginning an essay with a question, such as "Wouldn't you agree that the world would be a better place if everyone had access to quality healthcare?", isolates those readers who do not hold a favorable view of universal healthcare.