Resources

7 Things You Should Know About Visual Literacy

Educause

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative recently released “7 Things You Should Know About Visual Literacy.” As usual, the brief is a jargon-free overview of the topic as it relates to teaching and learning. It’s worth reading, and provides fodder for conversations with colleagues and faculty. If you’re short on time, here are the high points from each of the “7 Things:”

  1. What is it?
    “Visual literacy is the ability to recognize and critically appreciate meaning in visual content and to use visual elements to create effective communication.”
  2. How does it work?
    “Visualizations often provide better ways to tell a story
    or understand data.”
  3. Who’s doing it?
    “…some colleges and universities are making visual literacy coursework part of general education requirements.”
  4. Why is it significant?
    “…visuals are increasingly used as an adjunct to—and in some cases, a substitute for—text.”
  5. What are the downsides?
    “Those who promote visual literacy in higher education
    may struggle against a viewpoint that text should be the primary modality for scholarly communication.”
  6. Where is it going?
    “…visual content will move seamlessly across a variety of mobile platforms…”
  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?
    “These tools offer students and faculty the opportunity to make new discoveries and find new ways to present complex data.”

 

Visual Literacy for the Sciences

Amanda H. Brown, Barbara Losoff, and Deborah R. Hollis shared ways to incorporate visual literacy instruction into science classes in a recent article that they wrote for portal: Libraries and the Academy: “Science Instruction Through the Visual Arts in Special Collections.” The authors demonstrated how to creatively use scientific images from Special Collections to teach skills related to defining and articulating the need for images (Visual Literacy Standard 1) and interpreting and analyzing images (Visual Literacy Standard 3).

Carterette Series Webinar

GLA

On October 3, 2013, Nicole E. Brown delivered an invited professional development program entitled “Leveraging Visual Literacy for Communication” as part of the Georgia Library Association’s Carterette Series Webinars, which highlight trends, innovation, and best practices in libraries.

The presentation shares techniques for using images in libraries, with a focus on pedagogical considerations. Visual learning objects illustrate how images can frame instruction sessions by capturing learners’ attention and preparing them to delve into conceptual content.

A screencast of the full webinar is available here.

Visual Literacy Array

Here is a new visualization of concepts in the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

Visual Literacy Array based on ACRL's Visual Literacy Standards

Visual Literacy Array based on ACRL’s Visual Literacy Standards by D. Hattwig, K. Bussert, and A. Medaille

Copyright 2013 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This image first appeared in PORTAL: LIBRARIES AND THE ACADEMY, Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2013, p. 75.

New article on the Visual Literacy Standards in portal: Libraries and the Academy

A new article on the Visual Literacy Standards is now available in the January 2013 issue of portal: Libraries and the Academy.

Abstract
Visual literacy is essential for 21st century learners. Across the higher education curriculum, students are being asked to use and produce images and visual media in their academic work, and they must be prepared to do so. The Association of College and Research Libraries has published the Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, which, for the first time, outline specific visual literacy learning outcomes. These Standards present new opportunities for libraries to expand their role in student learning through standards-based teaching and assessment, and to contribute to campus-wide collaborative efforts to develop students’ skills and critical thinking with regard to visual materials.

Hattwig, D., Bussert, K., Medaille, A., & Burgess, J. (2013). Visual literacy standards in higher education: New opportunities for libraries and student learning. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 13(1), 61-89.

Visual Literacy Standards published by ACRL

We are pleased to announce publication of the new Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (pdf)by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL).

The Visual Literacy Standards include:

  • an introduction to and definition of visual literacy
  • a brief discussion of visual literacy and higher education
  • a brief discussion of visual literacy and information literacy
  • suggestions for implementing the Standards
  • key sources and bibliography
  • 7 standards, 24 performance indicators, and 90 learning outcomes

The Visual Literacy Standards provide, for the first time, a common framework for visual literacy learning in higher education. The learning outcomes included in the Standards provide new opportunities for visual literacy teaching and assessment, and support efforts to develop measurable improvements in student visual literacy.

The Standards were developed over a period of 19 months, informed by current literature, shaped by input from multiple communities and organizations, reviewed by individuals from over 50 institutions, and approved by 3 ACRL committees and the ACRL Board of Directors. For a history of the Standards development process, please see the Standards project blog.

The Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education are a project of the ACRL Image Resources Interest Group, and were authored by the Visual Literacy Task Force – Denise Hattwig (chair), Joanna Burgess, Kaila Bussert, and Ann Medaille.