The following is a working draft of a summer 2015 Community Informatics Studio course (LIS490ST) that I will be offering. This is a hybrid class, allowing both on-campus and online students to participate. While this course is offered through the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, we seek graduate students and upper level undergraduates from multiple disciplines, such as education, social work, human and community development, gender & women’s studies, African-American studies, informatics, etc. Sections STG (graduate on-campus), STU (undergraduate on-campus), and STL (graduate online) meet concurrently. On-campus students traveling during the summer can elect to join class online as needed.
Weekly Meeting Time: Wednesday 6:00-8:30pm, May 20-August 5
Course Description: Studio-based learning, which is common in art and architectural education, is an opportunity to bring together the knowledge of students, instructor, in-field professionals, and community to address a real-world question in our profession as described below. Students will develop specific knowledge and skills related to the question for the semester while receiving teacher mentoring, in-field professional modeling, and peer support as an engaged information professional leader.
While not limited to specific student histories, this studio is a special opportunity to apply learning in the field for those who have already taken or are currently taking instruction/engagement/justice-related courses, including but not limited to Instruction (LIS458), Social Justice in the Information Professions (LIS590SJL), Community Informatics (LIS518), Community Engagement (LIS418/LIS490YS), or the equivalent from other disciplines such education, social work, human and community development, informatics, etc.
Pre- and Co-requisites: Junior or senior standing and consent of instructor for undergraduates; consent of instructor for non-LIS graduate students.
- Individual: To advance the development and exercise of student’s leadership role as a professional by combining real-world community informatics project-based research, studio-based learning pedagogy, and student’s rich past experiences and education.
- Team: To promote collaboration and teamwork across different domains of knowledge by having students work as a member of an interdisciplinary team within a studio space and in the field applying a critical interpretive socio-technical framework in collaboration with community partners.
- Community: To prepare students to play a lead role in inclusive partnership development and community engagement on behalf of their community anchor institution by guiding students in a process of racial and cultural awareness, consciousness, and positionality through their engagement with different socio-economic and culturally-based communities.
- Project: To foster their project management skills by affording students the opportunity to engage in multiple phases of a large-scale community project.
Case for Summer 2015:
Overview: For the Summer 2015 design case, teams will partner with one or more organizations to 1) develop and share innovative popular and progressive digital literacy programming; and 2) develop evaluation rubrics using sources such as the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) standards and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) outcomes-based evaluation guidelines. Projects for summer 2015 could focus on teen and/or adult literacy programming. The results of this studio will immediately inform programming at partner sites, but will also be made widely available on http://dl4all.illinois.edu to inform the work of LIS professionals, K-12 educators, and other digital literacy trainers more broadly.
Additional Details: Physical spaces like Fab Labs and Makerspaces along with their associated curriculum, and online resource like Code.org and digitalliteracy.gov, provide rich ports of entry into 21st century skills and digital innovation. Some go further to bring together non-digital and digital technologies to further enrich opportunities. Public and school libraries, community centers, and other community anchors are increasingly utilizing these resources to meet their missions of lifelong learning, enriching and inspiring experiences, and ongoing innovation. However, these curriculum and programs don’t always maximize their potential – they can sometimes be too technology-centric and overly generic.
The engaged librarian is well situated to harness their social knowledge of community values and goals to develop programming wrappers around these more generic digital literacy and innovation activities and curricula. In so doing, they not only can address local interest and issues, but also advance community agency and self-efficacy while challenging exclusionary forces to encourage progress from passive use of technical artifacts to co-creation of innovations-in-use by community, in community, for community.
The case for the 2015 summer Community Informatics Studio will be to develop and share models for contextualized digital literacy and innovation programming that empowers citizens to affect social change. The first few weeks of the semester will use reading/discussion and minimal lecture to explore foundational “digital literacy for all learners” concepts such as demystifying technology, computational & design thinking, inquiry-based and popular education, and the critical interpretive socio-technical framework. But the bulk of the semester will be spent in an action/reflection praxis with in-field public & school librarians, educators, and other community trainers to develop programming for specific community-based initiatives, supported by in-class peer support, instructor mentoring, and critical reflection. That is, the classroom studio will be our office supporting our professional engagement on the class projects.
By the end of the semester, students will be expected to have assisted in the delivery and evaluation of a digital literacy/innovation program and/or design of a learning space that they have helped to develop, and to generalize and document the work to share with other in-field professionals. Projects can come from a wide range of 21st century literacy, digital manufacturing, digital media production, and data analytics initiatives, and can incorporate existing curriculum in support of their program development. The intent is to harness foundational “digital literacy for all learners” concepts to create contextualized programming wrappers around existing curricula, adding new curriculum only where there are gaps. From this, we will work to advance a generalized model to inform other in-field professionals regarding how they can similarly create programming.
This is a hybrid class, allowing both on-campus and online students to participate. The instructor has contacts with several adult and teen initiatives in the Champaign/Urbana area associated with public and school libraries, the University of Illinois Extension and 4-H, and teen centers. In at least one case, there is an opportunity to work closely with teens to co-design not only programming but the space itself. But students are also welcome to consult with the instructor on opportunities they might have with libraries and community centers with which they are already engaged to serve as a project site for the course. This is especially important for online students, given the more limited number of contacts the instructor can provide nationally/internationally.
Course Structure Overview: Studio-based learning (SBL) is rooted in the apprentice model of learning in which students studied with master designers or artists to learn their craft. The pedagogy emphasis is on “learning to be a professional” as opposed to “learning knowledge needed to be a professional.” SBL is also closely related to John Dewey’s inquiry-based approach to learning.
Using SBL methods, this course will bring together students, instructors, professionals from related fields, and community members in a collaborative environment to address a real-world problem or “case.” Project work will be very much student-led, with the instructors and outside experts serving as mentors and professional role models. Students will be asked to work individually and in teams in a working environment meant to closely mirror a professional workspace.
Readings, class discussions, and pre-recorded lectures during the first few weeks of class will provide students with background knowledge and information related to the case for the semester to inform creation of an initial plan. The remainder of the semester will primarily emphasize “learning through doing”, with the majority of class time being dedicated to peer support and instructor mentoring to inform project development.
Doing project work will require more than the limited time available during class, and students should expect to spend time each week working individually or together as a team outside of class. In this way, as implemented the studio brings together the best of class lab and class discussion formats with a group practicum/service-learning experience. In some cases, this will include travel to partner sites as necessary to collaborate and conduct interviews with stakeholders and collect information needed to create a viable proposal/implementation in response to the needs of the case.
Using a Critical Friends approach, critiques will be incorporated into class meetings at regular intervals throughout the semester. Some of these will be informal or “desk critiques” while others will be more formal presentations of progress, culminating in the final presentation of project(s) and critique on the last day of class. Project work will be posted on appropriate course-related sites throughout the semester, and the final documentation will be posted on http://dl4all.illinois.edu.
The overall flow of the course is represented by our adaptation* of Brocato’s** SBL design path proposal, highlighting the role that readings, discussion, and community engagement play in our studio design process.
* Wolske, M., Rhinesmith, C., and Kumar, B. (2014) “Community Informatics Studio: Designing Experiential Learning to Support Teaching, Research, and Practice.” Journal of Education in Library and Information Science, 55(2).
** Brocato (2009) Studio based learning: Proposing, critiquing, iterating our way to person-centeredness for better classroom management. Theory Into Practice, 48, 138-146.
Required Readings: We will use extensive readings from the following required books in addition to occasional articles and online readings.
- Dewey, John. Experience and Education. Paperback. 1938. Macmillan. 1997 edition:
ISBN-10: 0684838281; ISBN-13: 978-0684838281
- Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K., and Caspari, Ann K. Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. 2007. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN-13: 978-1-59158-435-3
- Kincheloe, Joe. Critical Consructivism. 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0820476162; ISBN-10:
- Eubanks, Virginia. Digital Dead End. Hardback. 2011. MIT Press. ISBN-10: 026201498X; ISBN-13: 978-0262014984
Assignments and Methods of Assessment: Students will be graded on a 90% (A), 80% (B), 70% (C), 60% (D) scale. Graded assignments and the overall percentage for each category of assignments are listed below.
Professional Journal (40% of grade): Each week students should spend about an hour writing down their reflections on the in-class discussions and in-field experiences from the past week. These will be posted to the Professional Journal forum. Students should also periodically comment on the reflections of other students to affirm and expand upon lessons learned. In all posts, students will be expected to develop their capacity to bring into dialog: 1) personal histories, field experiences and knowledge; 2) the insights of authors from this and other classes; and 3) lessons learned from in-field professionals and community members. Overall, in lieu of more classroom contact hours, students will be expected to use professional journal entries and open discussion forum to extend dialog on in-field experiences, readings, and project ideas.
In-Field Program Delivery (30% of grade): Each student will participate in at least 15 hours of digital literacy programming during the semester. This programming should be related to the semester project of the student’s design team.
Final Project Paper (20% of grade): Students will write and present their model for contextualized, empowering digital literacy programming as part of a end-of-semester juried presentation to be held the last day of class. The paper will be posted to http://dl4all.illinois.edu as a part of our ongoing documentation of digital literacy programming. Because this course is offered as a capstone that innovatively applies the disciplinary knowledge learned in other courses, the grading of the final paper is not based on the successful application of a single skill (for instance, successfully building a database or a networked computer lab). Indeed despite all best efforts by students, instructor, and community partners, some projects face insurmountable obstacles or prove unworkable. But if effective community-based research and participatory design and evaluation strategies are used, this does not detract from the valuable progressive education for all participants that results from the experience. Therefore, the grade for the final project paper will be based on the quality of the theoretical framework supporting the guiding question and project design, the caliber of description of the methods and results, and the depth of critical reflection on its execution and impact within the community as considered within the grounding theoretical framework.
Instructor Evaluation (10% of grade): The instructor will evaluate student attendance, active participation, and overall progress throughout the course of the semester. The following rubric will be used to assign a score at the end of the semester.
- 10 = Student has been an active participant in class discussions based on assigned readings and lived experiences and is demonstrating an increasing grasp of the key concepts covered in class.
- 8 = Student has been an active participant in some of the class discussions based on assigned readings and lived experiences and is demonstrating some gains in grasping key concepts covered in class.
- 6 = Student is occasionally active in class and is demonstrating some learning, but it is clear they are not performing to their full capabilities
- 4 = Student has missed several classes and/or is not always active when attending class
- 2 = Student has been absent frequently and/or rarely is active in class
- 0 = Student has consistently missed class during the rated period
Attendance and Participation Policy: Students are expected to attend all class sessions except in case of emergency. If you have an emergency, communicate with the instructor as early as possible to prevent negatively impacting your grade. Unless otherwise negotiated with the instructor, students with an excused absence will still be expected to complete professional journal entries.
It is expected that students will participate actively in the class activities and discussions in a professional manner, showing respect for differing ideas and a willingness and ability to defend their ideas by referring to relevant readings.
Library Resources: http://www.library.illinois.edu/lsx/; firstname.lastname@example.org; 217-333-3804
Academic Integrity: Students should review and follow the University policy on academic integrity, available online at: http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/article1_part4_1-402.html . When you submit an assignment, you are certifying that the work is your own, or that of your project group, and that all use of other people’s material is used in accordance to fair use and copyright policies and is properly referenced.
Statement of Inclusion: The following is adopted from the Chancellor’s Commitment Statement (http://www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu/chancellordivstmtswf.html#ValuStmt):
As the state’s premier public university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s core mission is to serve the interests of the diverse people of the state of Illinois and beyond. The institution thus values inclusion and a pluralistic learning and research environment, one which we respect the varied perspectives and lived experiences of a diverse community and global workforce. We support diversity of worldviews, histories, and cultural knowledge across a range of social groups including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, abilities, economic class, religion, and their intersections.
As applied to LIS490ST, technology is broadly defined as a socio-technical system that includes the physical component, its design, its application, and the training on and use in community. The class recognizes that technology as applied in society is not socially or culturally neutral. Every technology instance reflects the cultural and societal history, norms, and values of those who participated in its design and implementation and equally reflects the absence of the cultural and societal history, norms, and values of those who did not participate in its design and implementation. Further, the adoption of technology will have unique positive and negative impacts within each community. However, considered, participatory adaptation of technology has the potential to help make its adoption more inclusive. The readings and in-class discussion are meant to help each of us take a more considered approach to the adaptation and adoption of technology in community. Difference is a critical resource in this process, and every student is asked to complete readings in advance of class and to bring their insights to the discussion to inform us on the issues as expressed in the statement of inclusion.
To obtain accessibility-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603 (V/TTY), or e-mail a message to email@example.com.