Archive of ‘information literacy’ category

Social Democrats in Disarray

What’s Left?: Social Democrats in Disarray

Alan Johnson Summer 2015

Why has the right, including the populist right, rather than the left, been the main political beneficiary of the anger and bitterness that has roiled Europe since the 2008 financial crash, the eurozone crisis, and the resulting deep recession and brutal austerity? After all, these events surely proved the relevance of the left’s critique of capitalism.

The left is increasingly marginal to political life in Europe despite the fact that, in the words of Owen Jones, an important voice of the British left, “Living standards are falling, public assets are being flogged to private interests, a tiny minority are being enriched at the expense of society and the hard-won gains of working people—social security, rights in the workplace and so on—are being stripped away.” And the radical parties and movements to the left of the social democratic parties have been faring no better. In the brutally honest assessment of the British Marxist Alex Callinicos, “Nearly seven years after the financial crash began, the radical left has not been weaker for decades.”

But the European left’s inability to forcefully meet the crisis is not due to a failure of individual political leaders, but the fact that it has not developed, in theory or practice, a response to the three great waves of change—economic, socio-cultural, and politico-intellectual—that have crashed over it since the late 1970s.

The fruits of this radical transformation of European social democracy into a political force pursuing a slightly kinder and a slightly gentler neoliberalism—which some dub “social neoliberalism”—have been bitter.

While capital is global, mobile, and regnant, organized labor is increasingly deindustrialized, indebted, and precarious; often temporary, part-time, insecure, and, quite frankly, unorganized.

an explosion of inequality, relative poverty, and acquisitive individualism.

The manic, pathological quality of neoliberal consumerism has produced an explosion of personal debt.

the crisis of the European left is also intellectual.


International Conference on Learning Athens Greece

Twenty-fifth International Conference on Learning

2018 Special Focus: Education in a Time of Austerity and Social Turbulence  21–23 June 2018 University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Theme 8: Technologies in Learning

  • Technology and human values: learning through and about technology
  • Crossing the digital divide: access to learning in, and about, the digital world
  • New tools for learning: online digitally mediated learning
  • Virtual worlds, virtual classrooms: interactive, self-paced and autonomous learning
  • Ubiquitous learning: using the affordances of the new mediaDistance learning: reducing the distance

Theme 9: Literacies Learning

  • Defining new literacies
  • Languages of power: literacy’s role in social access
  • Instructional responses to individual differences in literacy learning
  • The visual and the verbal: Multiliteracies and multimodal communications
  • Literacy in learning: language in learning across the subject areas
  • The changing role of libraries in literacies learning
  • Languages education and second language learning
  • Multilingual learning for a multicultural world
  • The arts and design in multimodal learning
  • The computer, internet, and digital media: educational challenges and responses

PROPOSAL: Paper presentation in a Themed Session


Virtual Reality and Gamification in the Educational Process: The Experience from an Academic Library

short description

VR, AR and Mixed Reality, as well as gaming and gamification are proposed as sandbox opportunity to transition from a lecture-type instruction to constructivist-based methods.

long description

The NMC New Horizon Report 2017 predicts a rapid application of Video360 in K12. Millennials are leaving college, Gen Z students are our next patrons. Higher Education needs to meet its new students on “their playground.” A collaboration by a librarian and VR specialist is testing the opportunities to apply 360 degree movies and VR in academic library orientation. The team seeks to bank on the inheriting interest of young patrons toward these technologies and their inextricable part of a rapidly becoming traditional gaming environment. A “low-end,” inexpensive and more mobile Google Cardboard solution was preferred to HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens or comparable hi-end VR, AR and mixed reality products.

The team relies on the constructivist theory of assisting students in building their knowledge in their own pace and on their own terms, rather than being lectured and/or being guided by a librarian during a traditional library orientation tour. Using inexpensive Google Cardboard goggles, students can explore a realistic set up of the actual library and familiarize themselves with its services. Students were polled on the effectiveness of such approach as well as on their inclination to entertain more comprehensive version of library orientation. Based on the lessons from this experiment, the team intends to pursue also a standardized approach to introducing VR to other campus services, thus bringing down further the cost of VR projects on campus. The project is considered a sandbox for academic instruction across campus. The same concept can be applied for [e.g., Chemistry, Physics, Biology) lab tours; for classes, which anticipate preliminary orientation process.

Following the VR orientation, the traditional students’ library instruction, usually conducted in a room, is replaced by a dynamic gamified library instruction. Students are split in groups of three and conduct a “scavenger hunt”; students use a jQuery-generated Web site on their mobile devices to advance through “hoops” of standard information literacy test. E.g., they need to walk to the Reference Desk, collect specific information and log their findings in the Web site. The idea follows the strong interest in the educational world toward gaming and gamification of the educational process. This library orientation approach applies the three principles for gamification: empowers learners; teaches problem solving and increases understanding.
Similarly to the experience with VR for library orientation, this library instruction process is used as a sandbox and has been successfully replicated by other instructors in their classes.


academic library

literacies learning

digitally mediated learning


Cohort 8 research and write dissertation

When writing your dissertation…

Please have an FAQ-kind of list of the Google Group postings regarding resources and information on research and writing of Chapter 2

digital resource sets available through MnPALS Plus 


[how to] write chapter 2

You were reminded to look at dissertations of your peers from previous cohorts and use their dissertations as a “template”:

You also were reminded to use the documents in Google Drive: e.g.

Please have also materials, which might help you organize our thoughts and expedite your Chapter 2 writing….

Do you agree with (did you use) the following observations:

The purpose of the review of the literature is to prove that no one has studied the gap in the knowledge outlined in Chapter 1. The subjects in the Review of Literature should have been introduced in the Background of the Problem in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 is not a textbook of subject matter loosely related to the subject of the study.  Every research study that is mentioned should in some way bear upon the gap in the knowledge, and each study that is mentioned should end with the comment that the study did not collect data about the specific gap in the knowledge of the study as outlined in Chapter 1.

The review should be laid out in major sections introduced by organizational generalizations. An organizational generalization can be a subheading so long as the last sentence of the previous section introduces the reader to what the next section will contain.  The purpose of this chapter is to cite major conclusions, findings, and methodological issues related to the gap in the knowledge from Chapter 1. It is written for knowledgeable peers from easily retrievable sources of the most recent issue possible.

Empirical literature published within the previous 5 years or less is reviewed to prove no mention of the specific gap in the knowledge that is the subject of the dissertation is in the body of knowledge. Common sense should prevail. Often, to provide a history of the research, it is necessary to cite studies older than 5 years. The object is to acquaint the reader with existing studies relative to the gap in the knowledge and describe who has done the work, when and where the research was completed, and what approaches were used for the methodology, instrumentation, statistical analyses, or all of these subjects.

If very little literature exists, the wise student will write, in effect, a several-paragraph book report by citing the purpose of the study, the methodology, the findings, and the conclusions.  If there is an abundance of studies, cite only the most recent studies.  Firmly establish the need for the study.  Defend the methods and procedures by pointing out other relevant studies that implemented similar methodologies. It should be frequently pointed out to the reader why a particular study did not match the exact purpose of the dissertation.

The Review of Literature ends with a Conclusion that clearly states that, based on the review of the literature, the gap in the knowledge that is the subject of the study has not been studied.  Remember that a “summary” is different from a “conclusion.”  A Summary, the final main section, introduces the next chapter.


Here is the template from a different school (then SCSU) 


When conducting qualitative data, how many people should be interviewed? Is there a minimum or a max

Here is my take on it:

Simple question, not so simple answer.

It depends.

Generally, the number of respondents depends on the type of qualitative inquiry: case study methodology, phenomenological study, ethnographic study, or ethnomethodology. However, a rule of thumb is for scholars to achieve saturation point–that is the point in which no fresh information is uncovered in response to an issue that is of interest to the researcher.

If your qualitative method is designed to meet rigor and trustworthiness, thick, rich data is important. To achieve these principles you would need at least 12 interviews, ensuring your participants are the holders of knowledge in the area you intend to investigate. In grounded theory you could start with 12 and interview more if your data is not rich enough.

In IPA the norm tends to be 6 interviews.

You may check the sample size in peer reviewed qualitative publications in your field to find out about popular practice. In all depends on the research problem, choice of specific qualitative approach and theoretical framework, so the answer to your question will vary from few to few dozens.

How many interviews are needed in a qualitative research?

There are different views in literature and no one agreed to the exact number. Here I reviewed some mostly cited references. Based Creswell (2014), it is estimated that 16 participants will provide rich and detailed data. There are a couple of researchers agreed ‎on 10–15 in-depth interviews ‎are ‎sufficient ‎‎ (Guest, Bunce & Johnson 2006; Baker & ‎Edwards 2012).

your methodological choices need to reflect your ontological position and understanding of knowledge production, and that’s also where you can argue a strong case for smaller qualitative studies, as you say. This is not only a problem for certain subjects, I think it’s a problem in certain departments or journals across the board of social science research, as it’s a question of academic culture.

here more serious literature and research (in case you need to cite in Chapter 3)

Sample Size and Saturation in PhD Studies Using Qualitative Interviews

Gaskell, George (2000). Individual and Group Interviewing. In Martin W. Bauer & George Gaskell (Eds.), Qualitative Researching With Text, Image and Sound. A Practical Handbook (pp. 38-56). London: SAGE Publications.

Lieberson, Stanley 1991: “Small N’s and Big Conclusions.” Social Forces 70:307-20. (

Savolainen, Jukka 1994: “The Rationality of Drawing Big Conclusions Based on Small Samples.” Social Forces 72:1217-24. (

Small, M.(2009) ‘How many cases do I need ? On science and the logic of case selection in field-based research’ Ethnography 10(1) 5-38

Williams,M. (2000) ‘Interpretivism and generalisation ‘ Sociology 34(2) 209-224


how to start your writing process

If you are a Pinterest user, you are welcome to just sbuscribe to the board:

otherwise, I am mirroring the information also in the IMS blog: 


APA citing of “unusual” resources


statistical modeling: your guide to Chapter 3

working on your dissertation, namely Chapter 3, you probably are consulting with the materials in this shared folder:

In it, there is a subfolder, called “stats related materials”

where you have several documents from the Graduate school and myself to start building your understanding and vocabulary regarding your quantitative, qualitative or mixed method research.

It has been agreed that before you go to the Statistical Center (Randy Kolb), it is wise to be prepared and understand the terminology as well as the basics of the research methods.

Please have an additional list of materials available through the SCSU library and the Internet. They can help you further with building a robust foundation to lead your research:

In this blog entry, I shared with you:

  1. Books on intro to stat modeling available at the library. I understand the major pain borrowing books from the SCSU library can constitute, but you can use the titles and the authors and see if you can borrow them from your local public library
  2. I also sought and shared with you “visual” explanations of the basics terms and concepts. Once you start looking at those, you should be able to further research (e.g. YouTube) and find suitable sources for your learning style.

I (and the future cohorts) will deeply appreciate if you remember to share those “suitable sources for your learning style” either by sharing in this Google Group thread and/or sharing in the comments section of the blog entry:  Your Facebook group page is also a good place to discuss among ourselves best practices to learn and use research methods for your chapter 3.

search for sources

Google just posted on their Facebook profile a nifty short video on Google Search

Watching the video, you may remember the same #BooleanSearch techniques from our BI (bibliography instruction) session of last semester.

Considering the fact of preponderance of information in 2017: your Chapter 2 is NOT ONLY about finding information regrading your topic.
Your Chapter 2 is about proving your extensive research of the existing literature.

The techniques presented in the short video will arm you with methods to dig deeper and look further.

If you would like to do a decent job exploring all corners of the vast area called Internet, please consider other search engines similar to Google Scholar:

Microsoft Semantic Scholar (Semantic Scholar); Microsoft Academic Search;; Proquest Dialog; Quetzal; arXiv;; (3 min);
More about such search engines in the following blog entries:


Let me know, if more info needed and/or you need help embarking on the “deep” search


tips for writing and proofreading

please have several infographics to help you with your writing habits (organization) and proofreading, posted in the IMS blog:


letter – request copyright permission

Here are several samples on mastering such letter:






Slavenka Drakulic and Yugoslavia

DRAKULIĆ, S. (2017, October 19). Tackling the virus of nationalism. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from
Drakulić, S. (2017, October 10). La gran cronista de los Balcanes: El virus del nacionalismo ha despertado en España. Noticias de Mundo. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from

More from Drakulic:

DRAKULIC, S. (2009). The Generation That Failed. Nation289(16), 16-17.

Slavenka describec what the East Germans called Die Quall der Wahl

When communism fell, Poland had Solidarity and Lech Walesa, Czechoslovakia had Václav Havel, Hungary had Fidesz, Bulgaria had Zhelyu Zhelev—and Yugoslavia had no democratic opposition at all. My note: Little she knew about the Bulgarian Opposition

A few years before the breakup of Yugoslavia, the political landscape was already filled with communists-turnednationalists (like Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman). Nationalism became the only political “alter native” in Yugoslavia, leading us directly to wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Yes, my generation lived too well, and obviously we mistook freedom and democracy for the freedom of shopping in the West. And as in a medieval morality play, we had to pay for that in the three wars to follow: our children fought those wars; they were killed, and their limbs were severed.

Drakulic, S. (2011). Serbia’s War Criminal. Nation292(25), 8.

Slavenka, D. (2008). Seduced by power and vanity. Toronto Star (Canada).


more on history in this IMS blog

Lin Chun China expert

Chun, L. (2017). Discipline and power: knowledge of China in political science. Critical Asian Studies49(4), 501-522. doi:10.1080/14672715.2017.1362321

Lin Chun or ResearchGate:

p. 501 – is political science “softer” than the other soft social sciences?
thus…  political science “may never live up to its lofty ambition of scientific explanation and prediction. Indeed, like other social sciences, it can be no more than a ‘ science in formation’ permanently seeking to surmount obstacles to objectivity.”

p. 502 disciplinary parochialism
the fetishes of pure observation, raw experience, unambiguous rationality, and one-way causality were formative influences in the genesis of the social sciences. the ‘unfortunate positivism” of such impulses, along with the illusion of a value-free science, converged to produce a behavioral revolution in the interwar period Behaviorism was then followed through an epistemological twist, by boldly optimistic leaps to an “end of ideology” and ultimately to a claimed “end of history” itself.

p. 503
early positivism was openly underpinned by an European condescension toward Asians’ “ignorance and prejudice.” Behind similar depictions lay a comprehensive Eurocentric social and political philosophy.
this is illustrated its view of China through the grand narrative of modernization.

p. 504
Robert McNamara famously reiterated that if World War I was a chemist’s war and Word War II a physicist’s, Vietnam “might well have to be considered the social scientists’ war.”

Although China nominally remains a communist state, it has doubtlessly changed color without a color revolution.

p. 505
In the fixed disciplinary eye, “China” is to specific to produce anything generalizable beyond descriptive and self-containing narratives. The area studies approach, in contrast to disciplinary approaches, is all about cultural, historical, and ethnographic specificities.

If first-hand information contradicts theoretical conclusions, redress is sought only at the former end (my note – ha ha ha, such an elegant but scathing criticism of [Western] academia).

The catch [is] that Chinese otherness is in essence not a matter of cultural difference (hence limitations of criticizing Eurocentrism and Orientalism) and does not merely reproduce itself by inertia.
Given a long omitted self-critical rethinking of the discipline’s parochial base, calling for cross-fertilizing alone would be fruitless or even lead only to a one-way colonization of seemingly particularistic histories by an illusive universal science.

p. 506
political culture, once a key concept of political science’s hope for unified theorization, has turned out to be no answer
Long after its heyday, modernization theory – now with its new face of globalization – remains a primary signifier and legitimating benchmark. To those, who use it to gauge developments since 1945, private property and liberal democracy are permanent, unquestioned norms that are to be globally homogenized.
Moreover, since modernity is assumed to be a liberal capitalists condition, the revolutionary nationalism of an oppressed people remaking itself into a new historical subject noncompliant with capitalism cannot be modernizational.

p. 507
Political scientists and historical sociologists… saw the communist in power as formidable modernizers, but distinguished the Maoist model from the Stalinist in economic management and campaign politics.
Their analyses showed how organic connections between top-down mobilization and bottom-up participation cultivated in an active citizenry and high intensity politics. My note: I disagree here with the author, since such statement can be arbitrary from a historical point of view; indeed, for a short period of time, such “organic connection” can produce positive results, but once calcitrated (as it is in China for the past 6-7 decades), it turns stagnant.

p. 510
the state’s altered support base is essentially a matter of class power, involving both adaptive cultivation of new economic elites and iron-fist approaches to protest and dissent. By the same weight of historical logic, the party’s internal decay, loss of its founding ideological vision and commitment, and collusion with capital will do more than any outside force ever could do to destroy the regime.
That the Party stays in power is not primarily because the country’s economy continues to grow, but is more attributable to a residual social reliance on its credentials and organizational capacities accumulated in earlier revolutionary and socialist struggles. This historical promise has so far worked to the extent that cracks within the leadership are more or less held in check, resentment against local wrongs are insulated from central intentions, and social policies in one way or another respond to common outcries, consultative deliberations, and pressure groups.

p. 511
The word “madness” has indeed been freely employed to describe nations and societies judged inept at modern reason, as found in contemporary academic publications on epi- sodes of the PRC history.
My note: I agree with this – the deconstructionalists: (Jaques Derrida, Tzvetan Todorov) linguistically prove the inability of Western cultures to understand and explain other cultures. In this case, Lin Chun is right; just because western political scientist cannot comprehend foreign complex societal problems and/or juxtaposing them to their own “schemes,” prompts the same western researchers to announce them as “mad.”

p. 513aa
This is the best and worst of times for the globalization of knowledge. In one scenario, an eventual completion of the political science parameters can now seal both knowledge, sophisticatedly canalized, and ideology, universally uncontested – even if the two are never separable in the foundation of political science. In another scenario, causes and effects no longer rule out atypical polities, but the differences are presented as culturally incompatible. In either case, the trick remains to let anormalies make the norms validate preexist- ing disciplinary sanctions.

p. 514
Overcoming outmoded rigidities will nurture a robust scholarship committed to universally resonant theories.

more on China in this IMS blog

digital resource sets available through MnPALS Plus

digital resource sets available through MnPALS Plus

Two sets of open access, free digital resources that may be of interest to students and faculty have been added to SCSU’s online catalog (MnPALS Plus).

Open Textbook Library (a project of the University of Minnesota)
(appears in Collection drop-down menu as “Univ of Mn Open Textbook Library”)
“Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.”
For more information, see

Ebooks Minnesota
“Ebooks Minnesota is an online ebook collection for all Minnesotans. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects for readers of all ages, and features content from our state’s independent publishers, including some of our best literature and nonfiction.”
For more information, see

These resources are included in any search done in the online catalog. To view or search one of these collections specifically, go the the Advanced Search in MnPALS Plus and select the desired collection from the Collection dropdown. Users can add search terms, or just click “Find” without entering any search terms to see the entire collection.


information literacy Latin America, Spain, Portugal

Uribe-Tirado, A., Pinto, M., & Machin-Mastromatteo, J. (2017). Developing information literacy programs: Best practices from Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Information Development, 33, 543–549.


SPED library instruction

Library instruction Information Literacy Digital Literacy

Michael Pickle November 15, 4-4:50PM for SPED 204

50 min : 

5 min to introduce and make a connection

Plan 1. Introduction to the library (for library novices: Virtual Reality library orientation and gamified library instruction ) 

15 min for a Virtual Reality tours of the Library + quiz on how well they learned the library:

Play a scavenger hunt IN THE LIBRARY:

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