Metaliteracy and the Participatory Role of Learners in Today’s Social Information Environment

Promoting thoughtful consumption and responsible production of information, particularly in digital spaces, is a critical element of GenEd courses at Temple University. For this fall’s GenEd Faculty Assembly, we are thrilled to host, in partnership with Temple University Libraries, nationally recognized experts on information literacy and metaliteracy, Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey.

While this workshop will be oriented toward faculty teaching in the GenEd program, all Temple faculty members, librarians, students and administrators are welcome to attend! To register, click here

When: Monday, August 21, 2017, noon-3:30
Where: SERC 108A/B

12:00-12:45: Lunch
12:45-2:00: Plenary – Metaliteracy and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education
2:00-3:30: Workshop – Applying metaliteracy and the ACRL framework in the context of Temple’s curriculum

For more information, please contact Dana Dawson, Associate Director, GenEd at or 215 204 6248.


Detailed Description

Metaliteracy and the Participatory Role of Learners in Today’s Social Information Environment

Participating effectively in today’s social information environment requires abilities and dispositions that encompass and extend beyond those required to engage in academic research. The open, participatory nature of social media requires learners to take on diverse roles, from critical consumer to informed producer and responsible sharer of information in dynamic and sometimes uncertain spaces. This collaborative and connected world also provides opportunities for learners to expand their roles as communicator, researcher, and teacher.  In order to connect fully and successfully in this sphere, our students must understand and accept their potential contributions and responsibilities when consuming and creating information in an environment that is similarly fractured and divisive. They need to adapt to ever-changing technologies and must be prepared to ask critical questions about the information they encounter from formal and informal sources. General Education, in particular, is key to how we prepare students for this ever-shifting and dynamic socially connected world.

Jacobson and Mackey originated the concept of metaliteracy in 2011, when the accepted definition of information literacy was showing its age. At the time, information literacy was defined narrowly as a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (

Metaliteracy reinvented information literacy by:

  • recognizing the impact of our collaborative, mobile, social media-infused information environment;
  • highlighting the metacognitive and affective components inherent in full engagement;
  • emphasizing student agency;
  • focusing on commonalities shared by varied literacies;
  • emphasizing the need for collaboration and participation in creating new knowledge; and
  • foregrounding the changes and impacts of technology on our relationship to information and to each other.

This keynote presentation and workshop will introduce metaliteracy, explore its particular importance in our contemporary information environment, and discuss how it relates to the recent Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education developed by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). There will be opportunities to reflect on its value for your students in General Education and beyond. Further, we will work with your librarians to facilitate breakout opportunities after the keynote presentation, to envision concrete ways to introduce metaliterate elements into your teaching.

Trudi E. Jacobson, M.LS., M.A. and Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D. have been working together for over twenty years and originated the metaliteracy framework to emphasize the metacognitive learner as producer and participant in dynamic information environments. They co-authored the first article to define this model with Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy (2011) and followed that piece with their book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014).  This team co-authored the essay Proposing a Metaliteracy Model to Redefine Information Literacy (2013) and co-edited their most recent book for ALA/Neal-Schuman entitled Metaliteracy in Practice (2016).

Feel free to reach out to our presenters at:



Trudi Jacobson, M.L.S., M.A., is the Head of the Information Literacy Department at the University at Albany, and holds the rank of Distinguished Librarian. She has been deeply involved with information literacy throughout her career, and thrives on finding new and engaging ways to teach students, both within courses and through less formal means. She co-chaired the Association of College & Research Libraries Task Force that created the Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education. Trudi is a member of the Editorial Board of Communications in Information Literacy. She freelances as the acquisitions editor for Rowman & Littlefield’s Innovations in Information Literacy series.  Trudi was the 2009 recipient of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award.


Twitter: @PBKTrudi


Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D. is Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Professor at SUNY Empire State College. He currently oversees all of the undergraduate and graduate programs at the college, including the School for Undergraduate Studies, School for Graduate Studies, School of Nursing, the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, and International Programs. His research interests are focused on the collaborative development of metaliteracy as an empowering model for teaching and learning. Tom is a member of the editorial team for Open Praxis, the open access peer-reviewed academic journal about open, distance and flexible education that is published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). He is also a member of the Advisory Board for Progressio: South African Journal for Open and Distance Learning Practice.


Twitter: @TomMackey