~Literature Review~

Literature Review
A full bibliography including links to the articles, if possible, will follow this literature review.  In an academic paper submitted for publication a professional literature review seeks to succinctly condense the materials that have already been written relating to the author’s thesis.  The author must show how the knowledge he/she has gleaned from these previous works supports their thesis and how their research will add new information to this body of knowledge.  For the purposes of this project, this literature review contains impressions and summaries of each of the articles I have read in preparation for my final paper.  Click here to open this document in PDF format.

Archival Internships: A Guide for Faculty, Supervisors, and Students
by Jeannette A. Bastian and Donna Webber

When I first interviewed Brigette Kamsler, we discussed how she set up her internships, I asked her what resources she used to create “teaching” internships.  This book was her go to source.

Bastian and Webber wrote the book to fill the gap between the increasing number of students seeking internships and the institutions need not only for “literature to assist in planning, offering, managing, or evaluating these experiences,” but also the need to create “internship standards.”  The book is not just an application of two people’s ideas on what they think would work, but “it draws on research conducted by the authors from 2003 to 2005” as well as other studies done by Simmons alumni and the Society of American Archivists around the same time period.

Internships have been set up to transfer knowledge from one person to another and requires that the students apply “knowledge gained in the classroom to real situations.”  The authors state “Knowledge and practice are inseparable.  Internships are not static processes which only formally apply classroom knowledge, but instead help create a holistic learning environment that blends the many aspects of a complex profession.”  In an academic setting where most archival practices are learned only theoretically; learning by doing may seem “at odds with graduate level academia,”  especially considering the seemingly mundane tasks (rehousing, sleeving photographs, making phase boxes) that are required by archivists.  However, these tasks when done in conjunction with that theoretical knowledge leads to greater understanding.

They list the current SAA guidelines on archival internships which states, “practical experience is not an exercise to discover theory and methods empirically; rather it allows students to verify their understanding of archival principles by applying them in real-life situations and to understand how to make adjustments so that archival principles fit archival practice.”  Bastian and Webber summarize,

“If internships are well-defined as learning experiences, have articulated educational goals, are oriented toward specific student learning outcomes, and have strong evaluation components, then archival programs should be regarded as academic equals within their department or school.  But if these elements are not in place, then internships may be seen as vocational training and the archival curriculum itself regarded as quasi-academic and skills-based rather than a full-fledged discipline.”

The book then goes on to discuss how to create and evaluate learning environment that benefit the students.  They give advice to how internships should be structured by the faculty of archival educational programs.  How communication should work, what the site criteria should be, and finding worthwhile site partnerships.  They then advise site supervisors on creating a work environment where interns take on professional responsibilities and on how to select appropriate projects which can be monitored. They also give recommendations on how to communicate with the faculty of the educational institution that is sending students to their facility.  Students do not escape their scope and they give advice on what students should bring to the internship, how to test theory against reality, how to find their mentor, and listing a number of do’s and don’ts for making the most of their internships.  “Creating successful internships involves synthesizing the contributions of all participants including sites, site supervisors, students, academic program, and faculty advisors.” They conclude by listing the SAA Recommended standards and additional best practices that they themselves recommend.  The appendices contain forms for announcements, work plans, internship application and agreement, evaluation forms, student instructions, etc…

“Does Place Affect User Engagement and Understanding? Mobile Learner Perceptions on the Streets of New York”
by Anthony Cocciolo and Debbie Rabina

This paper covers Cocciolo and Rabina’s research project called GeoStoryteller, which helps find new ways of “connecting with new audiences and promoting learning” by developing “multimedia narratives that combined voice with archival photos and [then] deliver them to users’ mobile phones at the places where these events occurred.”  What drew me to this article was the idea of taking the classroom outside, to experience history instead of just taking it in auditorially.  It speaks to the necessity of having real world experience in order to fully learn.  “Despite the importance of place, it is rarely used in the teaching of history and social studies.  When it is used, it is usually only in the abstract geographic sense, such as through a map.”  They note that libraries and cultural heritage programs do not make use of place and rely instead on the use of printed books.  Cocciolo and Rabina hoped that they could “uncover if place-based learning can increase learner engagement and understanding of historical topics.”  They hypothesized that by giving a “meaningful personal connection” to the topic would cause the learners to feel “heightened involvement in the experience.”  I was most interested in this idea of place-based learning because of the correlation I felt it had with Bastian and Webber’s aim for creating internships that allow students to verify what they have learned in the classroom.  The results from their “quantitative content analysis indicate that learners agree or strongly agree that being on physical location increased their interest and understanding of the historical topic.  They feel that “Teachers of history and social students, as well as those working in memory institutions (museums, libraries, and archives), should be encouraged in using place in their teaching and mobile education initiatives.

Situating student learning in rich contexts: a Constructionist approach to digital archives education by Anthony Cocciolo

I chose to look at another paper by Anthony Cocciolo because his teaching style mirrors what I believe is one of the best way to teach students the how behind their theory.  I have been unable to take one of his classes, but I sought out this internship under Brigette Kamsler because I felt that the way she styles her projects for interns most closely mirrors Cocciolo’s approach to teaching archive methodology to his graduate students.  “To address the potential pitfalls of lecture-based instruction, a host of teaching methods have been developed to engage students more actively in the learning process…Lectures–when used in these contexts–are short in duration and used to clarify the problems at hand, rather than merely transmitting knowledge.”  Cocciolo uses a constructionism based method of teaching.  “Constructionism places the learner in the role of designer.  It emphasizes the importance of having a tangible artifact that learners can bring with them to discuss with fellow learners and pertinent others in their social networks.”  The materials that the students create as a result of this teaching method cause them to more readily identify with those materials and retain the knowledge they used in its creation.

“For example, disparate artifacts such as pieces of metadata, digitized and un-digitized materials, content management system source code, metadata schemas, or visual designs become units that the learner can arrange and re-arrange.  Understanding how each of these elements works, and assembling them into a coherent whole inspires a sense of “know how.”  These real artifacts become objects in the mind, and new connections are formed by working with them.”

There must be a social aspect to all of this, “learners construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are “actively engaged in creating something that is meaningful to themselves or others  around them.”   Cocciolo then discusses situated learning, which “implies that students should see their development as personally enriching and of value to the individuals with whom they are collaborating and the communities they are serving.”  In order to do this it must be made clear to the students that “their work was needed and would be appreciated by a community of users.” Brigette encouraged me to write blog posts about my collection and then advertise the completed finding aids on Twitter and Facebook.  She then talked to me about the statistics of who was viewing the collection finding aids that I had just created, by doing so I felt that I was contributing something worthwhile to the institution and to their users.  This method does not require lack of experience on the part of the student or even a previous interest in the topic.  Those students with previous experience they came away with increased confidence and those with no previous interest became “engaged in the purpose by engaging with the digitized content, collaborative teamwork, physically immersive site visits, and discussions with stakeholders from the partner institutions.”  In conclusion Cocciolo points out that the “constructionist pedagogical approach, where  students solve authentic problems in a meaningful context and produce tangible artifacts, holds great promise for library science education.  It points to the efficacy of learner-centered instruction and the production of artifacts as a way of engaging students.  It also suggests a new role for instructors creating environments where meaningful activities can occur.”  It is important to note that, “Constructionism should not be confused with constructivism, a related learning theory that describes more generally how learners construct new knowledge from their experiences (Dewey, 1910). Using constructionism as a theoretical model, the class was structured around the design of a tangible artifact.”

Knowledge = Information in Context: on the Importance of Semantic Contextualisation in Europeana by Stefan Gradman

While this article is mostly about the semantic web and in particular the interactive and broad website Europeana, I felt that their definition of knowledge was helpful in contextualizing the type of knowledge that most students are trying to gain from internships and what institutions should be trying to impart to those students.

Knowledge can be defined by a DIKW-Hierarchy (abbreviating the terms Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom.)  “The continuum starts with data…small portions of ‘givens’ that have no inherent structure or necessary relationship between them.  Data exist at different levels of aggregation and abstraction…”  When patterns emerge or start to be recognized among all these different ‘givens’ and start to become meaningful, this is when data is transformed into information.  Information transforms into knowledge once it “has been made part of a specific context and is useful in this context.  This new forming knowledge can be based on “social relations (information as part of a group of people’s apprehension of the world, information present in the memory of a person) or semantically based (information related to contextual information via shared properties and thus becoming part of a semantic class of information.”  Knowledge can then build on itself, with each bit of knowledge leading to different conclusions and more knowledge.  Wisdom is much more complicated to achieve.  Wisdom more verb like, it requires action!  Wisdom requires the person to make ethical  socially considerate judgment calls and complex decisions based on their knowledge base.  It is “an interpersonal phenomenon, requiring exercise of intuition, communication, and trust.”  So how do we go from making new connections or creating knowledge to thinking or wisdom? The authors of the paper believe that the Europeana website is one of the ways that can happen, but I think on a more basic level this can be achieved through creating learning experiences for students.

Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation
by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger

I mainly focused on the last chapter of their book, “Situating Learning in Communities of Practice.”  Situated learning “emphasized the relational interdependency of agent and world, activity, meaning, cognition, learning, and knowing.  [It] also claims that learning, thinking, and knowing are relations among people engaged in activity in, with, and arising from the socially and culturally structured world.”  She gives a number of examples regarding apprenticeships, it is in these relationships that knowledge and skill develop.  “investigations of situated learning focus attention on ways in which the increasing participation of newcomers in ongoing practice shapes their gradual transformation into oldtimers.  Newcomers furnished with comprehensive goals, an initial view of the whole, improvising…these are characteristic of communities of practice that re-produce themselves successfully.”

“Developing Motivation and Cognitive Learning Strategies Through an Undergraduate Learning Community”
by Candice R. Stefanou and Jill D. Salisbury-Glennon

Even though this paper was focused on undergraduate learning it is still applicable to the topic.  The authors focused their study as a response to the need to reform undergraduate curriculum and learning communities have been one of the changes that has been suggested.  “Unlike a more traditional approach to instruction, learning communities foster the social construction of knowledge, cooperative learning, active learning, an emphasis on the integration and synthesis of diverse student perspectives, as well as student-student, student-staff, and staff-staff collaboration.”  The quality of student learning in the collaborative learning communities was better, students remarked that they “not only learn more, [they] learn better.”  “Learning environments that emphasize active participation and responsibility on the part of the learner are likely to foster a motivational orientation toward deep-level cognitive processing, persistence an effort.”  I feel this should be our goal not only when developing internship programs, but as students these are the sort of experiences we should seek out.   The results of their studies showed that “students were not only able to maintain the level of their learning strategies, but also to increase their use of them despite the competing demands for their time and attention…” The results suggest that learning communities can affect motivation and continued use of those learning strategies gained by participating in integrated courses and collaborative learning.

“Communities of practice for blended learning: Toward an integrated model for LIS education” by Joyce Yukawa

This paper was directed mostly at trying to create better learning environments for those LIS students who are taking graduate classes online.  While vastly different from internships which should be the perfect environment for communities of practice, the idea Yukawa suggests for improving online classes is to create communities of practice for online students, thus validating the need to learn by experience.

“Social constructivist approaches such as communities of practice stress that learning is not merely knowledge acquisition but more fundamentally a process of identity formation and empowerment through participation in learning communities.  New concepts, models, and theories are constructed from a base of previous experiences and worldviews.  Styles, discourses, and patterns of practice emerge through mutual participation.”  “Learners interact with the physical and social world to actively create rather than passively receive knowledge.”

For online students their learning environment is inhibited by available bandwidth and the dependence on text based learning.  “Whatever the medium of communication, learning should emphasize meaningful activities that engage students and support deep learning through reflection, inquiry, analysis, and synthesis, within a process that is active, constructive, collaborative, complex, contextual, and conversational.” While the specifics of designing a collaborative learning community for online users differs from what is necessary for library or archival internships the basic structure is similar to what was posited by Bastian and Webber and many of the other readings.  Yukawa encouraged students to find personal meaning in the course and commit to collaborative learning.  She strove to build an atmosphere of trust and being authentic in her communication, by sharing her own commitment to the goals and values of the course and encouraged the students to do the same. Group activities, problem solving, workshops, online discussion forums, face-to-face simulations, “guest speakers, informational interviews, and observations exposed students to real world practices, while multimedia presentations…provided vicarious experiences.”

Bibliography

  • Bastian, Jeannette A., and Donna Webber. Archival Internships: A Guide for Faculty, Supervisors, and Students. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2008. Print.
  • Cocciolo, Anthony and Debbie Rabina. (2012) “Does place affect user engagement and understanding? Mobile learner perceptions on the streets of New York.” Journal of Documentation, 69(1). (Date online 23/9/2012). Downloaded on: 10-24-2012 (This is an EarlyCite pre-publication article. To view the article please view Anthony Cocciolo’s publication web page.)
  • Cocciolo, Anthony. (2011) “Situating student learning in rich contexts: a Constructionist approach to digital archives education.” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 6(3).  Downloaded on 10-24-2012. (This article is also available to view on Cocciolo’s publication web page.)
  • Gradman, Stefan. “Knowledge = Information in Context: on the Importance of Semantic Contextualisation in Europeana.” April 2010. Downloaded on 10-24-2012. http://pro.europeana.eu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=cb417911-1ee0-473b-8840-bd7c6e9c93ae&groupId=10602
  • Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print. (Particular use of Chapter 4: Situated Learning in Communities of Practice.)
  • Stefanou, Candice R. and Jill D. Salisbury-Glennon. (2002) “Developing motivation and cognitive learning strategies through an undergraduate learning community.” Learning Environments Research. 5, 77-97
  • Yukawa, J. (2010). “Communities of practice for blended learning: Toward an integrated model for LIS education.”  Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 51(2), 54-75.
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