Learning in public: information literacy and participatory media

Thumbnail Image
Forte, Andrea
Bruckman, Amy S.
Associated Organization(s)
Organizational Unit
Organizational Unit
Supplementary to
This research examines new systems of information production that are made possible by participatory media. Such systems bring about two critical information literacy needs for the general public: to understand new systems in order to assess their products and to become adept participants in the construction of public information spaces. In this dissertation, I address both of these needs and propose a view of information literacy that situates the information literate as both consumer and producer. First, I examine a popular example of a new publishing system, Wikipedia, and present research that explains how the site is organized and maintained. I then turn my attention to the classroom and describe three iterations of design-based research in which I built new wiki tools to support publication activities and information literacy learning in formal educational contexts. I use the rhetorical notion of genre as an analytic lens for studying the use and impact of these new media in schools. Classroom findings suggest that the affordances of a wiki as an open, transparent publishing medium can support groups of writers in building a shared understanding of genre as they struggle with an unfamiliar rhetorical situation. I also demonstrate how writing on a public wiki for a broad audience was a particularly useful writing experience that brought about opportunities for reflection and learning. These opportunities include transforming the value of citation, creating a need to engage deeply with content, and providing both a need and a foundation for assessing information resources.
Date Issued
Resource Type
Resource Subtype
Rights Statement
Rights URI