Designing Experiential Learning to Support Teaching, Research, and Practice
Affiliations
• Senior Research Scientist, Center for Digital
Inclusion, GSLIS at UIUC
• Action Research Illinois
Teaching, Research, and Practice
• Engaged scholarship/boundary spanning,
community inquiry, digital justice, equipping
collaborative information & learning spaces
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Affiliations
• Doctoral Student & Research Scholar,
Center for Digital Inclusion, GSLIS at UIUC
• Adjunct Research Fellow, New America Foundation
Teaching, Research, and Practice
• Digital justice, community media & technology
infrastructures, and U.S. communication policy
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To open a conversation about how the Community
Informatics Studio can be understood as a model
of experiential learning to support LIS teaching,
research and practice
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Public libraries as community engagement leaders:
• IMLS & American Library Association: “The Promise
of Libraries Transforming Communities” (IMLS,
2012)
• IMLS & MacArthur Foundation: “Learning Labs”
(IMLS, 2011)
• Knight Foundation: “Information Needs of
Communities in a Democracy” (2009)
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1. Introduce theoretical frameworks from
community informatics, studio-based learning,
and service learning literature.
2. Present three “Community Informatics Studio”
case studies
1. Discuss how the CI Studio can prepare students to
advance LIS-led community engagement projects
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• “Using technology to support community
development goals” (Stoecker, 2004)
• “A sustainable approach to community enrichment
that integrates participatory design of information
technology resources, popular education, and assetbased development to enhance citizen empowerment
and quality of life.” (Campbell & Eubanks, 2004)
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(Bishop, Bruce, & Jeong, 2009)
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• Learning to be a professional using
master/apprentice model (Lackney, 1999)
• Students’ “purposes” + current environment +
teacher as guide = current learning (Dewey, 1938)
• Iterative design process through desk critiques
• Working within studio space provides important
modeling of professional practice
• Integral pedagogy in architecture and fine and
applied arts.
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• Day 1 – Introduce design problem/case
• Early classes use readings and discussion to
ground and prepare students to work in field
• Field visits with community partners and
model sites inform design
• Instructor and outside experts ask students to
defend design choices through desk critiques
during scheduled sessions and informal
conversations
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Summer 2010: [Re]designing Public Computing
Centers (PCCs) to better serve as collaborative
information and learning spaces
Summer 2011: Advancing the role of PCCs as
community media newsrooms to address the
disparity in effective use of information
technologies in low-income communities
Fall 2012: Using “Popular Technology” (Eubanks,
2011) to develop meaningful digital media literacy
trainings with communities
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Besides the specific design project accomplished
with the community, each semester students
created documents providing additional
information for community members
2010: http://www.prairienet.org/op/labdesign/
2011: http://www.prairienet.org/op/journalism/
2012: http://www.prairienet.org/op/dmliteracy/
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How can the “Community Informatics Studio” be
understood as a model of experiential learning to
support LIS teaching, research, and practice?
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Research Question: How does SBL compare to
other forms of classroom learning?
Theories: Community Inquiry (Dewey, 1939; Bishop,
Bruce, & Jeong, 2009); Studio as Physical Space
(Lackney, 1999; Brocato, 2009)
Methods: Pre-/post-tests, class observations,
discussions with students, interviews with instructor
& teaching assistants
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• Studio course set up as master/apprentice model
• Initial lectures for background quickly give way to
hands-on doing
• Instructor’s “active guide” role, rather than passive
sage, made a difference for students
• Project-based approach fostered experiential
learning environment (Kolb, 1984; Dewey, 1938)
• Clients and class jointly owned the projects
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Research Question: How important was the goal of
equipping a community media newsroom to foster
citizen journalism and community media?
Theories: Community Media (Howley, 2009), Citizen
Journalism (Gillmor, 2006), and Digital Storytelling
(Lundby, 2009)
Methods: Interviews with students, instructors, and
community members
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Course Structure
• Course was too short
• Too much time in the classroom
Course Content
• Shortage of community engagement literature
• Citizen journalism framework too limiting
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Training of community members
• Lesson plans need to be flexible & adaptable
• The combination of digital & media literacy is key
• More writing & print newsletter projects are needed
Community Engagement
• Include families as a key target audience
• Mentoring process can be effective with youth
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“This was one of my favorite GSLIS classes. I’m not just saying
that. It was because, well, I really enjoyed [instructor’s]
teaching style because it’s very inclusive. I’ve never had
another class like that here at GSLIS. Most classes here are not
like that. They are quite the opposite. It’s a lot of feeding you
facts and figures and processes and assignments that require
regurgitation of those things, which is like a very traditional
way of teaching. But I think [instructor’s] was the most
experiential of any approach that I had while I was here. I
mean you learn way too much from it—which is almost a
problem [laughing].” – Student
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“I learned a whole lot from this. I had a lot of personal
growth, you know when you’re dealing with the
community, community media, and just listening to
their conversations. For our part, I think our success
was at Dorsey Homes.” –LIS 490 ST Instructor
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“I think with all the different programs, a lot of those kids will
be kids that go to college. And they will think that I lived in the
projects and look where I am now. Look where I am now. I
think that is so important because I think when they see a U of
I student, they think, ‘Where are you from and you come way
down here to go to school?’ I just think that for those kids, and
even these seniors when they see these college kids
coming, it’s an opportunity for them to think, ‘I want
to do this when I go to school. I want to get involved
because it’s a great opportunity.” – Community member
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Recommendations
• Select readings that better prepare students for
community engagement projects
• Prepare students to help organizations develop & build
capacity to use digital media
• Provide students with opportunities to engage in “icebreaker” & “trust-building” activities to help
strengthen relationships with community partners
• Create opportunities for youth to visit University
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Research Question: How can studio-based learning
(SBL) – informed by perspectives from community
informatics – prepare students to advance LIS-led
community engagement?
Theories: Addams (1902), Dewey (1938), Freire
(1970/1993), Eubanks (2011), (Stoecker, 2013)
Methods: Student journals & desk-critiques;
interviews with students, instructors, & community;
observations
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Based on our experience teaching:
Challenges
• Institutional system that’s not setup to readily
support community based research
• The blurring of teaching, research, and practice
Benefits
• Helping students to develop meaningful LIS-led
community engagement projects
• Difference as a resource; liberating knowledge;
shared ownership
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• Three different sets of research questions,
theoretical frameworks & methodologies
- Questions driven by funding sources
- Research led by different researchers
• Discovered core research question over time
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We believe that to fully capitalize on studiobased learning to advance LIS-led
Community Engagement, the following
Community Informatics values are key:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Sustainable Approach to Community Enrichment
Asset-Based Perspective
Popular Education & Participatory Design
Difference is a Resource
Teach, Research, & Practice with Community
Building Healthy Communities
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How can the Community Informatics Studio can be
understood as a model of experiential learning to
support LIS teaching, research and practice?
• Studio pedagogy resonates strongly with students
because it is rooted in experiential learning
• Studio pedagogy invites students into research on
current topics in LIS through the design problem
• Studio pedagogy compliments the rich tradition of
practical field experience commonly found in LIS
education
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Addams, J. (1902). Democracy and social ethics. New York, NY: Macmillan
Co., 1902.
Barker, R. G. (1968). Ecological psychology: Concepts and methods for
studying the environment of human behavior. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford
University Press.
Bishop, A., Bruce, C., & Jeong, S. (2009). Beyond service learning. In (Eds.)
Service learning: Linking library education and practice. Chicago, IL:
American Library Association.
Brocato, K. (2009). Studio based learning: Proposing, critiquing, iterating our
way to person-centeredness for better classroom management. Theory Into
Practice, 48, 138-146.
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Campbell, N. D. & Eubanks, V. (2004). Community informatics as a pathway
to social change. Available at http://www.brillomag.net/COPC/CI/
Canter, D.V. & Craik, K.H. (1981). Environmental psychology. Journal of
Environmental Psychology 1, 1-11.
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. (1999). Participatory design
history. Retrieved from
http://cpsr.org/prevsite/conferences/pdc98/history.html/
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: The Macmillan
company.
Eubanks, V. (2011). Digital dead end: Fighting for social justice in the
information age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
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Freire, P. (1970/1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum.
Gillmor, D. (2006). We the media: Grassroots journalism by the people, for
the people. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly.
Hamilton, D. K.. & Watkins, D. H. (2009). Evidence-based design for multiple
building types. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Institute of Museum and Library Services (2012). IMLS awards ala grant to
advance library-led community engagement. Retrieved from
http://www.imls.gov/imls_awards_ala_grant_to_advance_libraryled_community_engagement.aspx
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Institute of Museum and Library Services. (2012). Learning labs in libraries
and museums. Retrieved from http://www.knightcomm.org/read-thereport-and-comment/
The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a
Democracy (2009). Informing communities: Sustaining democracy in the
digital age. Retrieved from http://www.knightcomm.org/read-the-reportand-comment/
Lackney, J. A. (1999). A history of the studio-based learning model. Retrieved
online from
http://www.edi.msstate.edu/work/pdf/history_studio_based_learning.pdf
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning
and development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
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Lundby, K. (Ed.) (2009). Digital storytelling, mediatized stories: Selfrepresentations in new media. New York, NY: P. Lang.
Nussbaumer, L. L. (2009). Evidence-based design for interior designers. New
York, NY: Fairchild Books.
Reardon, K. (2000). An experiential approach to creating an effective
community-university partnership: The east st. louis action research
project. Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, 5(1),
pp. 59-74.
Rogers, E.M. (2005). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed). New York, NY: Free
Press.
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Stoecker, R. (2005). Is community informatics good for community? Journal of
Community Informatics, 1(3). Retrieved from http://www.cijournal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/183/129
Stoecker, R. (2013). Research methods for community change: A project-based
approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
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Contact
• Martin Wolske: [email protected]
• Colin Rhinesmith: [email protected]
Presentation URL
http://go.illinois.edu/cistudio_alise13
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