Sunday, 8 May 2011

You wait years for a book on literacies in the university and now two are about to come along at once

Routledge are currently anticipating proposals for 2 edited books focusing on literacy/literacies in the university. One is our own proposal for a book based on the LIDU seminars 'Literacy in the Digital University', edited by Mary Lea and myself (Open University), which we glossed thus:

These accounts draw on recent and on-going research which addresses some of the key educational issues associated with the spread of digital technologies into teaching and learning within colleges and universities, and at the borders of these institutions with contexts of work or informal learning. Issues such as the disruption of conventional academic knowledge practices by those of the 'social web'; the challenge to the authority of teachers and 'experts' posed by the immense resource of the internet; the opening up of practices of 'scholarship' to practitioners and work-based learners; threats to trust and the confidence of learners arising from 'crowd' behaviour online, etc.

The other will be called 'Embedding academic literacies in university courses: research, concepts and case studies', edited by Cathy Gunn and Lorraine Stefani (Auckland University), which they describe so:
A book of research, concepts and case studies featuring the use of interactive technologies to embed academic literacies into university courses. ‘Academic literacies’ is a term used to describe the attributes listed in graduate profiles, e.g. critical, reflective and relational thinking, information literacy, reflective writing, critical reasoning and problem solving. English for non-native speakers is added to this list in many institutions.
These two descriptions nicely illustrate some of the differences between 'social' and 'cognitive' perspectives on literacy, and critical and instrumental perspectives on learning technologies.
Hopefully the publisher will see them as complementary and allow both collections to come to fruition and get published, and the discerning audience for such books will dig into their pockets and buy both in huge quantities.

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