Projects Underway

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Developing a SUNY-wide Transliteracy Learning Collaborative to Promote Information and Technology Collaboration

Trudi Jacobson

Project Team
  • Thomas Mackey, Empire State College
  • Mark McBride, Buffalo State
  • Michael Daly, Fulton Montgomery Community College
  • Michele Forte, Empire State College
  • Jenna Hecker, University at Albany
  • Ellen Murphy, Empire State College

University at Albany


Tier Three

Project Abstract:

The proposed Transliteracy Learning Collaborative (TLC) will be a SUNY-wide think tank and incubator for promoting transliteracy and emerging frameworks for information literacy (IL). TLC will transcend boundaries based upon the traditional definition of information literacy and the concept of librarians as the sole interested party. This grant will establish SUNY in the forefront of higher education institutions committed to developing students as lifelong creators of information in all forms. It will address how to infuse transliteracy throughout students’ academic careers, opening dialogues among different educational groups, and exploring issues such as learning analytics, badges, and the semantic web. TLC will solicit participants to serve on 5-6 teams that will address key components of a system-wide transliteracy initiative. This group will promote “systemness” among faculty, librarians, instructional designers, and information technologists throughout SUNY to reinvent the way we teach information and technology literacies as a transliteracy that prepares students for the 21st century.

According to the Transliteracy Research Group, “Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.” TLC will apply a team-based approach, connecting faculty, librarians, instructional designers, and information technologists who teach or provide instruction support in face-toface, blended, and fully online environments. Team members will identify and carry out work that will benefit learners. Work would continue throughout the year, including two face to face meetings.

This will be the first initiative spanning the SUNY system focused on transliteracy as an expansion of information literacy and digital literacy. This community will benefit students, providing them with interactive learning resources to advance information and technology competencies. And it will capitalize upon the wide knowledge of SUNY librarians, faculty, and instructional designers. Within SUNY (FACT2) and the academic library community (SUNYLA), organizations and interest groups already exist whose members can be tapped for this first phase of TLC.

The Association of College & Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Competency Standards (2000) are now dated. New information literacy frameworks are developing that acknowledge the impact of Web 2.0 tools and social media including transliteracy and metaliteracy (Mackey and Jacobson, 2011).

As these emerging literacy frameworks demonstrate, our students are not simply information consumers but information producers in a participatory social media environment. Learners increasingly work collaboratively, creating and sharing digital information, rather than in isolation. Students, faculty, and librarians are all finding their way in this emerging terrain and require an initiative that promotes the development of an innovative and collaborative program that unifies our collective intelligence around these critical literacy issues. SUNY’s Board of Trustees declared their commitment to students’ information management skills through this competency in the General Education program.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, in their publication Developing Research & Communication Skills also stresses the importance of information literacy-related knowledge and skills:
Institutions may need to enhance the information literacy skills of faculty and librarians to ensure that they collaborate in developing a coherent institution-wide program for teaching the information literacy skills that the institution has identified as learning goals.(p. 20)
Institutions that provide higher levels of information literacy instruction benefit from the collaboration of faculty and librarians in jointly developing curricula.(p. 21)

Students come to SUNY with a wide range of preparation and abilities regarding academic research. Educators from NY high schools, including teachers and library media specialists, will be invited join TLC, acknowledging their critical role in the preparation of SUNY’s incoming student body. The co-PIs will consult with the SUNY committee working on the Education Pipeline project, in order to align our initiatives.

As a part of TLC, we will explore open approaches to transliteracy, with a focus on a badge program that would recognize information and technology competencies. This might be a first step in developing a Personal Transliteracy Learning Environment for all SUNY students, which would enable them to use the pooled resources as a way to build their transliteracy skills.

Goals Statement
1. Begin building this SUNY-wide Transliteracy Learning Collaborative
Invite participation through a SUNY-wide call to librarians, faculty, and instructional designers interested in enhancing their teaching through transliteracy Work with BOCES to select secondary school educators to participate Teams would work on pre-identified topics:
- the transition from high school to college
- a learning community focused on exploring transliteracy, a virtual environment in which SUNY students could connect with each other and students worldwide
- initial development of an easily customizable open educational resource, a subject-based template that capitalizes on SUNYConnect electronic resources
- other topics will be developed based on identified needs and the expertise of team members
2. The project manager and co-PIs will Investigate the feasibility, components, and potential utility of a SUNY-wide transliteracy badging system. Survey current trends in badging programs, including the BadgeStack partnership with New York City schools. Identify specific competencies that would comprise transliteracy badges. Identify teaching modalities for badging program. Propose a potential model for earning a badge SUNY-wide Project

Project Outcome:

Robust resources are provided on the website to guide student in understanding of metaliteracy. There is also an Open SUNY Textbook available to assist with Metaliteracy.

Project Outcome Report