Metaliteracy: Empowering Yourself in a Connected World
This course prepares learners to empower themselves through metaliteracy in a connected world. Metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and self-reflection to consume, create, and share information with others. Participants will learn how to critically navigate, evaluate and produce information in open, online, and social media settings. This course features videos, readings, discussions, and learning activities that promote metaliteracy competencies. Participants will become active and collaborative digital citizens who locate and evaluate information in 21st century social environments, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), while making contributions to these spaces as self-reflective and empowered metaliterate learners. Metaliteracy is an empowering idea because it encourages individuals to be active and self-reflective participants in today’s expanding information environments. This approach is relevant to anyone who wants to be an informed consumer of digital information and active contributor to social settings mediated by technology. It is invaluable to learners in a variety of fields and disciplines that involve evaluating and managing information. Metaliteracy is also relevant to anyone in the workplace who wants to improve the ability to search, evaluate, produce, and distribute information. This approach supports college students who want to expand their critical thinking capabilities through research, writing, and adaptation to emerging technologies. It is also relevant to anyone taking a MOOC or pursuing social learning opportunities because it empowers users to be active and engaged digital citizens. Syllabus Your Role as a Metaliterate Learner This first week explains what metaliteracy is and what it means to be a metaliterate learner in today’s collaborative information environment. The course materials in this section describe the concept and why it is important to learners who want to make the most out of their active involvement in social networking, social media, and online communities, as well as any context that includes social interaction. We discuss the need to work collaboratively in social environments and what it means to be a self-reflective learner. This first module prepares learners to think about their roles as critical thinkers and collaborative digital citizens capable of effectively navigating, creating, and sharing relevant information. We will also discuss how emerging technologies impact this process of discovery and participation. Becoming a Digital Citizen: Creating and Sharing a Social Identity This week explores the complex concept of social identity in the online environment. Content investigates the multi-faceted aspects of our online identities, and the important connected concept of personal privacy. Learners will not only research and analyze their own online persona, but they will also consider the social identity or identities of others. Metaliteracy promotes the production and distribution of digital information, while thinking critically about how we interact with others and present ourselves online. Becoming a Digital Citizen: Understanding Intellectual Property This week explores intellectual property. It will challenge you to look critically at what you understand about intellectual property, and the basics of copyright and open access. Since metaliteracy encourages the creation of new information and repurposing of open content, we need to examine the ethical dimension of this work. Doing so will prepare you to expand your role as a digital citizen in changing information environments. Becoming a Digital Citizen: Ethical Use of Information This week explores information ethics. Content includes the following topics, all of which are connected to a broad understanding of information ethics, including information use, and ethically remixing and sharing content. The module challenges you to look critically at what you understand about how you currently use, share, remix, and distribute information. Understanding How Information is Packaged and Shared Today’s dynamic social media environment features a wide range of formats that define how information is packaged and shared. Metaliteracy challenges us to think about how the presentation of information in multiple formats impacts our understanding of the content conveyed. Searching for information in print and text formats has given way to navigating and interacting with a variety of sources in social media, social networking, and multimedia. Today’s presentation of information includes open resources and user-generated information via blogs, microblogs, and snippets of information in status updates and user reviews. The authority of information in these spaces is not always easily understood and requires a critical perspective that makes sense out of so many sources, without discounting the value of multiple perspectives now available. Creating Information This week we will transition from information consumers to information producers. Whether or not you consider yourself a publisher, you have likely created and shared information online. If you have ever written a blog post, communicated on a social network, or commented on a web article, you have published information. In this module we will explore the different ways in which we share, communicate, and create new information, both as individuals and in collaborative environments. You will have the opportunity to explore your own unique voice and the ways in which you can share your ideas and perspectives with a potentially worldwide audience. Participating as a Global Contributor In this week, you’ll learn to see yourself as a participant in a global information community and you will consider the importance of how messages are sent and received by different audiences. You’ll also become aware of the challenges of practicing inclusiveness in the design and content of the information you create. Activities will include exploring the impact of messages sent by different news sites around the world and finding ways to accommodate audiences whose experiences may be different from your own. Create and Curate In this module, you will focus on an aspect of information creation not previously considered in this course: information curation. Rather than simply collecting resources for your own use when you are interested in a topic, you have the ability to curate content, creating a value-added product that might aid others in their search for information. Consider Pinterest, as an example, where people create boards on various topics. You will learn about content curation, and then put what you have learned into practice. Metacognitive Reflection What kind of learner are you? If you don’t get something right the first time, do you get down on yourself for failing, or do you embrace it as an opportunity for growth? When you post a status update on Facebook or other social media site, are you reflecting on daily activities in a new way? How might status updates and other online postings provide us with a means to reflect and share? This week you will examine your unique learning behaviors and discover how to be more aware of your own thought processes. You will consider how metacognitive practices (or thinking about your own thinking) can help you to better manage and navigate all of the information that you engage with on a daily basis. The content presented this week will bring you one step closer to being a metaliterate learner. Empowered Learning: From Learner to Teacher This last module asks you to reflect upon what you have learned in your journey to empower yourself as a metaliterate individual. You have been engaging with the information environment in both familiar and new ways over these past ten weeks. You have also been reflecting about this engagement, which has provided you with additional learning opportunities. The course materials in this section ask you to reflect specifically on the roles you play as an empowered metaliterate learner, transferring intellectual creations to new formats, translating information for new audiences, and effectively teaching others. We discuss why dexterity in these roles is important, and the impact you can have upon others through your recognition of the positive power they engender. This last module provides a culminating opportunity to gauge your progress, and to determine where you want to travel next as an informed digital citizen.
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