In thinking about how open pedagogy relates to different theoretical frameworks, I picked critical information literacy because it’s something I want to know more about. In addition to reading the Critical Information Literacy article, I also looked over Putting Critical Information Literacy into Context: How and Why Librarians Adopt Critical Practices in their Teaching and The Practice and Promise of Critical Information Literacy: Academic Librarians’ Involvement in Critical Library Instruction.
Drabinski and Tewell define critical information literacy as “a theory and practice that considers the sociopolitical dimensions of information and production of knowledge, and critiques the ways in which systems of power shape the creation, distribution, and reception of information.” In practice, this means working to make systems more open and transparent, and empowering students to have their places within those systems. That aligns well with Woodward’s view of open pedagogy:
Open is a purposeful path towards connection and community. Open pedagogy could be considered as a blend of strategies, technologies, and networked communities that make the process and products of education more transparent, understandable, and available to all the people involved.
Open has many meanings and nuances. In education one sense is open to participation. I see the concept of students as producers reflected in CIL, as a way for “students to recognize and resist dominant modes of information production, dissemination, and use.” Giving students a meaningful role in information production, dissemination and use by having them contribute to public knowledge and teach each other gives them some inside understanding and experience of the systems of information. Drabinski and Tewell note “the intensifying corporatization of higher education,” which represents an opposite force, closing education with copyrights, terms of service, and proprietary code and environments.
Open also has a sense of opening borders and boundaries. This is reflected in the idea of “expanding the literacies addressed in the library classroom to include visual literacies, media literacies, and metaliteracies,” opening up the understanding of information literacy beyond a focus on undergraduate research papers.
Open has a sense of freedom too. The “systems of power” that CIL critiques limit our freedoms and exercise control over what and how we can learn. That idea of control, who has it and what it’s for, has been part of information literacy discussions from the very beginning. I did a presentation on this for the OER20 conference. The Barbara Fister quote in Putting Critical Information Literacy into Context: How and Why Librarians Adopt Critical Practices in their Teaching resonates with me:
In these days of mass surveillance and the massive transfer of public goods into private hands, citizens need to know much more about how information works. They need to understand the moral, economic, and political context of knowledge. They need to know how to create their own, so that they make the world a better, more just place.
This extends beyond education to life and society, so maybe it’s a good thing that open pedagogy is an expansive concept. The common goal of learner empowerment connects well with critical info lit though.