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11 Inclusion of Media Literacy Into the Content of the Course “Principles of Person’s Information Culture”: Problems and ...

11 Inclusion of Media Literacy Into the Content of the Course “Principles of Person’s Information Culture”: Problems and ...

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Information Culture and Information Literacy


A need to adapt training materials according to age peculiarities of


• Difficulty of selecting the media texts suitable for teaching students of

all ages. First, the media information is characterized by the rapid

aging, loss of novelty, and relevance. Secondly, the media texts should

be interesting, attractive, and understandable for students. Third, the

media texts should be free from negative information. The selection

of media texts (search, analysis, selection) for the case studies is characterized as important and needs time consumption.

There is also another problem. This is the danger of substitution of

UNESCO and IFLA ideas about the integration of MIL into a single unit

by any one of these components.

The analysis of Russian curricula shows that there are numerous

attempts in media education to reduce all of it to the history of media

or to specific areas of media (musical journalism, news journalism,

school TV).

Similarly, within the information training titled “Fundamentals of

Information Culture,” it gives some highly specialized information

(“History of book,” “The famous libraries of the world,” “The history of

libraries,” “Computer literacy”).

As a result, instead of forming the MIL, “young journalist,” “young

reporter,” “small broadcaster,” “little librarian,” and “young programmer”

are taught.

Such an approach is possible as a means of exploring the future profession as a way of vocational guidance for schoolchildren. However, it

should not replace the idea of the common increase of media information literacy of young citizens. The purpose of training the media information literacy and basic person’s information culture is radically

different from vocational guidance purposes. In the UNESCO program

on media information literacy for teachers of media education, the

media competence is consistently linked with the development of critical thinking and the development of civil responsibility of a person

using the MIL for the realization of their rights and freedoms. The aim

of the UNESCO and IFLA initiatives is to prepare people for life in the

information society in conditions of large volumes of diverse and contradictory information that requires critical analysis. As a result, people

should be able to use a variety of sources and channels of information in

the personal, professional, and social life in accordance with legal and

ethical standards.


Pathways into Information Literacy and Communities of Practice

The conducted studies and experiments allow one to outline the prospects for the integration of MIL in the structure of information culture

of schoolchildren:

1. Further development of the theoretical bases of integration media

components and person’s information culture and interdisciplinary

research in the fields of library science, information science, journalism, philology, and media education are necessary.

2. Solving the problem of the improvement of media information literacy and information culture of the population requires the establishment of a dialogue between representatives of different professions:

teachers, librarians, journalists, managers in the field of education and

culture, and IT specialists.

3. Programs and curricula for librarians and teachers in the format of

“training the trainers of media information literacy and information

culture” should be developed.


The globalization of informatization, the big growth of the scope of

information, rapid changes of social and industrial technologies, and

information society development made it necessary to provide special

information training and information education for people. From the

simple concepts of “computer literacy,” “digital literacy,” and “information literacy” appeared more complex concepts such as “media information literacy,” “transliteracy,” and “multimedia literacy.” In Russia, such an

integrative concept is “person’s information culture.” It integrates such

individual spheres such as reading culture, bibliographic literacy, bibliographic culture, library and bibliographic knowledge and skills, computer

literacy, ICT literacy, internet literacy, digital literacy, and information


The similarity of the concepts of information literacy and person’s

information culture is that they aim to develop a person’s ability to

receive, evaluate, and use the information provided in any form and

through a variety of means and technologies. However, the concept of

person’s information culture is broader than the concept of information

literacy. Besides the abilities to receive, evaluate, and use the information,

it contains information outlook and motivation.

The concept of information culture allows the inclusion of a person’s

information training in the sphere of culture. It makes possible to provide

Information Culture and Information Literacy


a synthesis and integrity of the traditional book (library) and the new

(computer) information culture to avoid a confrontation of two contrasting cultures in the information society: technocratic and humanitarian. It

demands the necessity to train people to behave in the new electronic

information environment and develop innovative information technologies without cancelation of their predecessors: books and libraries. Thus,

the Internet did not abolish the traditional library, and the personal computer would not prevent people from independent thinking and critically

analyzing the obtained information.

Formation of an information culture of the people is inextricably

linked to their information security. Human security on the Internet is in

some way not a technological problem but a pedagogical or humanitarian

problem. The best mechanisms against negative content on the internet

are the intellectual and moral inner mechanisms of a person.

Today in Russia, information culture is researched by specialists from

different areas of knowledge: pedagogy, psychology, library science, information science, philosophy, culturology, sociology, law, economics, and

management. The information culture research has multidisciplinary features and a variety of different methodological approaches. Educational

activities in the fields of information culture and information literacy in

Russia are held by educational institutions and libraries. Accordingly, they

are engaged in by the representatives of different professions: teachers,

college and university professors, and librarians. The existing curricula on

the information culture and information literacy, which are being implemented at schools, colleges, universities, and libraries, are more effective

in people’s motivation to work with a positive content, with critical evaluation of the information rather than a system of prohibited and

unwanted content and technical filters of information.

The formation of information literacy, information culture, and media

literacy in Russia, as in other countries around the world, has been conducted independently in parallel for many years. The proposed

UNESCO curriculum on MIL for teachers, on one hand, opened a new

path to information education, and on the other hand, it has created the

need to find a mechanism of whole integration of diverse information

and skills and find ways to adapt the content of the programs to the realities of a particular country or region. The adaptation requires that training through this curriculum must be based on national information and

media resources, examples, and practical exercises that are as close as possible to the conditions of life in a particular country or region.


Pathways into Information Literacy and Communities of Practice

Solving these problems requires a transdisciplinary approach and new

interdisciplinary knowledge, which are known to the scientists and specialists from different fields. It is necessary to unite the efforts of scientists

and experts in different fields (teachers, librarians, psychologists, media

educators, IT specialists, and possibly other specialists) around the world.

Only the representatives of the various sciences and fields of knowledge

will be able to create scientifically based recommendations on how to

teach the basics of information culture and MIL. Therefore, the complexity and scale of the problem require a coordinated action, not only on the

national level but on the international level as well.


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Toward a Community of

Epistemological Practice: A Case

Study of Adult Returners to

Higher Education

A. Anderson and B. Johnston

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom


It is a truism that higher education should engage learners in developing

both subject knowledge and a capacity for critical thinking, which can be

deployed for economic advancement and intelligent citizenship. As the

Internet and online communications have become essential features of

study and everyday life, the availability of information to further these

objectives has become more obvious to all. It has become equally obvious

that the information-rich 21st century is a highly socialized world of connectivity through social media and easy access to the World Wide Web

(WWW). However, it is becoming evident to increasing numbers of people in higher education and beyond that in order to mine the information

resources of the world, it is essential for learners to develop much more

sophisticated information literacy (IL). How this might be achieved is one

of our themes in this chapter, with particular emphasis on the socialization of information processes.

In this chapter, we consider these issues from the perspective of

research in adult learning and aim to make a useful contribution to the

literature of information in higher education. We believe that our

approach, which examines the experiences of adult returners, the nature

of critical thinking, and epistemological development, will also contribute

to illuminating the notion of CofP. To this end, we will consider the

value of the notion of CofP, particularly as it might relate to learners

entering higher education, and even more specifically, as it might relate

to adult returners entering higher education.

Pathways into Information Literacy and Communities of Practice. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-100673-3.00008-3

© 2017 A. Anderson and B. Johnston. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



Pathways into Information Literacy and Communities of Practice

The chapter is structured in four broad sections, as follows:

• Adult returners—overview

• Our case study—adult returners in context

• IL and CofPs

• Epistemological development—a proposal

We proceed from the data identified in our case study in relation to

IL, study patterns, epistemological beliefs, and social engagement. We

then survey and discuss our case study from the perspective of the literatures on IL and on CofP. We then advance our proposals for a specific

community of epistemological practice.



Recent years have witnessed a considerable growth in the numbers of

adult returner students within higher education (HEFCE, 2005; King,

2004; SFC, 2004). A body of research literature has emerged examining

this particular group of learners (e.g., O’Donnell & Tobell, 2007;

Richardson, 1994; Tennant, 2006). There are a number of issues that are

worthy of detailed study in connection with adult returners, e.g., broad

accounts of preentry, transition, and identity (McKendry, 2012/13); the

experience of women returners (Clarke, 2001); joining the discourse

community (O’Boyle, 2014, 2015); issues of learner identity (Brine &

Waller, 2004; O’Donnell & Tobell, 2007; Waller, 2005a, 2005b); affective

issues related to learning (George, Cowan, Hewitt, & Cannell, 2004);

academic issues related to the effectiveness of their skills and strategies as

learners (Richardson, 1994); and broader issues concerning why they

decide to participate in education, what factors encourage success, and

what factors encourage drop-out (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999).

There is broad agreement within the literature about the ideal characteristics of the lifelong learner: he is someone who is in a process of continuous change and development, always discovering newness in himself

(Rogers, 1983); is capable of retrieving, selecting, discriminating, and evaluating the appropriateness of information; is capable of contributing effectively to society and achieving personal fulfillment (the Dearing Report:

National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, 1997); has resilience, confidence, and motivation (Waller, 2005a); has the ability to think

for oneself and ask good questions (Kuhn & Park, 2005); and is capable of

rigorous self-reflection (Schon, 1983). Much higher and adult education

Toward a Community of Epistemological Practice


research, scholarship, and pedagogy can be seen as investigating how best

to understand and develop such characteristics amongst students.

A strand of scholarship in higher education has explored student transitions using the construct of engagement (Krause, Kerri-Lee & Coates,

H., 2008). They associate engagement with the constructivist view that

learning is best understood in terms of students constructing their own

knowledge using all of their intellectual capacities and taking advantage of

the resources provided by the university. In effect, students are engaged in

becoming members of the university learning community, and this process can take a variety of forms. Johnston (2010) has discussed the engagement and transition constructs in the context of the first-year experience

and provides a fuller account of the relevant scholarship.

Transition and engagement can be characterized as constructs developed within HE scholarship to describe social and academic development,

with a particular focus on recruiting learners to the customs, habits, and

ways of thinking that operate within HE institutions. This strand of scholarship emphasizes the importance of social aspects of transition and also the

development of appropriate academic practices such as application to study

and critical thinking. This scholarship illustrates some aspects of CofPs

ideas, in particular the importance of the social aspect of education, and

should be borne in mind when discussing CofP in relation to HE transitions in order to provide valuable theoretical context to the discussion.

Some adult returners gain access to university via further education

college courses. In addition, there also exist a number of access to higher

education courses that have been created by universities to cater specifically for this group of learners (Waller, 2005b). This chapter looks specifically at adult returners who are on a university-taught access course.

O’Donnell and Tobell (2007) undertook a qualitative interview study

of part-time adult returner students on a course designed to assist mature

students returning to full-time undergraduate academic study after a

period of employment away from full-time education. They were interested in how such access students make the transition into higher education and how their individual, changing identities and sense of belonging

mediated their experiences as they went about their learning. O’Donnell

and Tobell conceptualize the students’ reported experiences and reflections through the theoretical lens of the theory of CofPs (Lave & Wenger,

1991; Wenger, 1998), a theory that we will discuss in more detail.

However, a central claim of the theory is that new members of a community initially operate at its periphery, undertaking simpler tasks, but in

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