Teaching the ACRL Frames Using Credo (Part I)

Posted by Raymond Pun on 11/16/17 11:42 AM

First Year Experience, Information Literacy, library instruction, Credo in Action

20432812466_d085e65602_z.jpgBy Kenya Flash and Raymond Pun

Are you looking for creative ways to teach the ACRL Frames? In this piece, we’ll cover three frames that can be used to dive deeper into the complexities of the research process, and show how Credo can help students put these concepts into action.

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value

Teaching the Frames

Each session should center around how these frames are integral to the learning process, and how they overlap. Acknowledging that “Information has value” allows students to recognize not only that information access is a privilege, but also that some times of information have greater value than others.

The idea that some types of information have more value than others leads into the need to establish the “constructed and contextual authority” of specific materials. You can also explore with students areas in which that authority may have more impact. After establishing the materials utilized are relevant and authoritative, students will synthesize these materials to create a new argument or thought process.

Incorporating Credo to Build Practical Experience

Focusing on topic creation is a great way to begin a brief and effective session. Start with a discussion of what they need for their paper, and then ask whether an open resource like Wikipedia would be useful. Questions of trustworthiness should be asked, after which a comparison with Credo can be accomplished. Emphasizing the benefit of quick, searchable access to the work of verified scholars, and the reputation that this has as compared to Wikipedia, should engage students on authority. Use of Credo’s Topic Pages, key concepts, and Mind Maps can all help students develop the process they will utilize in the course of their work. Students can mind-map or “bedraggle daisy” their way to a research topic, embodying the idea of information creation as a process.

Other ways to explore all three frames include comparisons of different source types that may be present in Credo, discussion of the information life cycle and where within this lifecycle Credo may come into play, and finally, the explanation that some of the references used within the articles in Credo may be foundational to a discipline. Of course, the frames may explored individually and that may provide different outcomes, but the application of the frames this way engages the knowledge creation, utilization, and authority in ways that should inspire inquiry.

Further reading to help integrate the frames into your workshop

The ACRL framework is very adaptable, and works with many of the learning activities we traditionally use. In the next blog post, we will address the rest of the frames.

Don’t miss Ray and Kenya’s upcoming webinar, Teaching Social Justice With Credo, Wednesday, November 29th from 12:00—1:00pm EST!


kenya flash.jpgKenya Flash recently began work as the librarian for Political Science, Global Affairs, and Government Information at Yale University. Previously, she served as the Political Science and Sociology Liaison, as well as Diversity Resident Librarian and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a role she held for two years. Before then, Kenya worked as a Circulation Supervisor at Kings College, as an Adjunct Reference Librarian at Wilkes University, and in several other academic institutions, both in libraries and in residential life/student services. Kenya earned her MLIS from Drexel University, her MA in Political Science from East Stroudsburg University, and her BA in Government and Law from Lafayette College. She has written and presented on a number of topics in librarianship, including uses of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, assessing the needs of graduate students, and diversity and cultural initiatives led by academic libraries.

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