I have been doing some thinking lately about the librarian’s role in digital literacy on campus. We have information literacy pretty well covered. Overall my faculty frequently contact me to provide instruction on research skills in various classes. But I don’t think they have the same reflex action when it comes to digital literacy. I’m starting to realize that I have a larger role to play in this arena as well.
This article discusses faculty and student needs when it comes to digital literacy. Faculty and students can become overwhelmed with the technological tools and options available to them in the classroom and for research projects. Multiple platforms and interfaces prove frustrating when navigating library resources. They often welcome guidance to sort through the onslaught, if the assistance is timely, concise and relevant. I especially liked the sentiment in this article about narrowing the choices for faculty. “Rather than overwhelm faculty by offering 20 examples of social media tools they could integrate into their classes, showcase one really effective use of social media to address a specific challenge.”
The above article highlights the role that faculty development and instructional technologists play in this endeavor. But I’m afraid that that they overlook the critical role that librarians can play in this as well. Librarians are already experienced at determining instructional and research needs to deliver effective information literacy to faculty and students. The ACRL Information Literacy Standards help librarians determine critical areas to cover. Librarians can bring the same process to understand pedagogical problems, present appropriate technological solutions and provide effective instruction on the solutions to digital literacy that they already provide for information literacy.
This potential transliteracy activity requires deeper collaboration among faculty development, information technology and library departments on campus. Each area brings unique skill sets to the table, and none should be overlooked or ignored.
A great example of this collaboration is already developing on my campus. Learning Technology Services, a department within IT, has been very open to inviting me to work with them on various training sessions. This past Spring I participated in the EdTech Day by sharing information about library apps including EBSCO, Ebrary and Zotpad. I also provide workshops on various apps and technologies in conjunction with LTS.
This emerging area certainly has its share of extra work and political challenges. But it is worth the time and energy to collaborate with other areas on campus and to provide needed services to faculty based on librarian experience and expertise within a larger partnership.
What is your experience? Have librarians on your campus collaborated with Learning Technology Services or other IT departments to provide digital literacy to faculty, staff or students? Share your stories.