Meet ‘Keynote Insights’ speakers, Margy MacMillan & Tanya Notley

by | Feb 28, 2021 | LARK Symposium 2021 | 0 comments

Information for Learning: 9 April 2021 LARK Onlilne Symposium
Click on image for details

Information, disinformation, and misinformation spread on social media within hours, if not minutes. The first year of the pandemic amplified what was already there as the world intensified its digital life. In the process, questions about the way we engage with avalanches of information and online stories became more pressing than ever. The exposure of young people to the astonishing amount and range of information has become a priority issue.

LARK is delighted to provide an opportunity to discuss these pressing issues with two experts in the fields of information and media. Professor Emerita Margy MacMillan and Dr Tanya Notley bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to consider questions about information and media, and provide some answers. Both have conducted a series of research studies involving children, teenagers and university students, and provided resources to inform educational practice. Keynote Insights at LARK’s symposium will be an opportunity to hear about their insights and engage in a discussion about the issues.

LARK would also like to use the opportunity to congratulate Margy MacMillan and the team working on the Project Information Literacy on the most recent award. ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association) announced yesterday that the IS Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award was granted to ‘Alison J. Head, Barbara Fister, and Margy MacMillan for their report “Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms: Student Experiences with News and Information, and the Need for Change,” published in 2020 by the Project Information Literacy Research Institute’. Congratulations on a well-deserved recognition! 

We can’t wait to hear about our presenters’ insights and comparisons of findings from two continents. 

News and the American college student: Translating research in news literacy into developing student agency

Professor Emerita Margy Macmillan 

Project Information Literacy (PIL) has studied the academic, professional, and personal information practices of American postsecondary students for over a decade. In 2017, we turned our attention to news literacy, surveying nearly 6,000 students from 11 U.S. colleges and universities. Challenging the myth of “apathetic youth”, the overwhelming majority engaged with multiple news sources daily to keep up with the world around them. For them, news was a form of social capital and being able to participate in peer discussions was worth the extra time and effort required to monitor, find, verify (sometimes), and share news with others. There was a marked contrast, however, between the high value students placed on news and the low status many professors accorded it. Students clearly used different sources of news for their academic and personal needs, and their comments revealed a range of news literacy strategies but very little formal instruction. While many faculty may be comfortable discussing the merits of peer-reviewed articles, we suspect fewer are familiar with the construction of news and its audiences.  Building on empirical results from our news study, we wrote up our recent study of COVID news coverage in the U.S. In turning news about the pandemic into a subject of study, we hoped to scaffold teaching a deeper engagement with news across disciplines. Building students’ agency in asking deeper questions about the news is critical to developing more discerning information habits they can apply across their academic and personal lives.

Margy Macmillan is a Professor Emerita at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, and Senior Researcher for Project Information Literacy (PIL). She worked in academic libraries for thirty years, and conducted research in information literacy and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (IL) before joining PIL in 2017, where she has collaborated on three recent studies: ‘How Students Engage with News’ (2018), ‘Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms’ (2020), and ‘Covid-19: The first 100 days of U.S. news coverage’(2020). Working at PIL with a phenomenal multidisciplinary team, has provided the opportunity to participate in projects that span institutions and explore beyond higher education into societal aspects of information literacy. Since 2009, PIL has conducted 12 major studies based on interview and survey data from more than 21,000 students at 93 U.S. colleges and universities. 

Young Australians’ socially-mediated news engagement: exploring the implications for civic engagement

Dr Tanya Notley 

In a series of research projects I have examined the news practices and experiences a young Australian’s aged 8-16 years as well as their aspirations for change. One of the key findings from this research is that young people’s news consumption has become far more socially-mediated – that is, it is obtained more often through someone they know, or through social media. In this talk I argue that young people’s socially-mediated news engagement has contributed to a more expansive understanding of what constitutes news when compared with previous generations, and this is likely to be altering young people’s expectations of news and their trust in news media, while also challenging the historic relationship that has existed between news consumption and civic engagement. I argue that we need to stop assuming that young people’s news practices will change when they become adults and rather than telling young people what news sources they should rely on, educators can focus on supporting young people to critically analyse and engage with whatever news they encounter, regardless of the context. By meeting young people where they are at, media and information literacy education can be used to expand the civic engagement benefits and opportunities that are provided by their socially-mediated news engagement.

Tanya Notley is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a member of the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Tanya is currently a researcher on a number of media literacy and digital inclusion projects and she has published widely on these topics. In 2017-2020 she led the Advancing the News Media Literacy of Young Australians project. She also has extensive industry experience working in the areas of media literacy, human rights and social justice and she continues to collaborate with organisations working to address these needs. Tanya is the Deputy Chair of the Australian Media Literacy Alliance (AMLA).

Dr Suzana Sukovic for the Organising Committee


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent posts