This Metaliteracy MOOC explores the metaliteracy model originally developed by Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson in Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy. This open learning experience turns theory into practice by exploring emerging technologies to collectively create and distribute information in an open participatory environment. We will interact with global participants and continuously reflect on our learning in this environment. This MOOC has been developed for course sharing between the University at Albany and Empire State College, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and to engage with participants globally. It is also available to use in any way you find helpful or supportive in your own teaching, research, and/or learning journey. This is an open and flexible space that situates participants at the center of all learning activities. We hope to provide a meta perspective on the process of teaching and learning with the connectivist MOOC format.

What is Metaliteracy?

According to the Mackey and Jacobson:

Metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and collaboration in a digital age, providing a comprehensive framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities. It is a unified construct that supports the acquisition, production, and sharing of knowledge in collaborative online communities. Metaliteracy challenges traditional skills-based approaches to information literacy by recognizing related literacy types and incorporating emerging technologies. Standard definitions of information literacy are insufficient for the revolutionary social technologies currently prevalent online (Mackey & Jacobson, Reframing Information as a Metaliteracy, 2011, 62-62)

This framework builds on decades of research and practice in information literacy, while expanding this work to promote a complete reinvention of the term for open social media environments. As part of this model, we identify meaningful connections to related literacies, such as visual literacy, digital literacy, news literacy, and transliteracy. Metaliteracy provides a unified and comprehensive approach to learning that encourages the production and sharing of original and repurposed information in participatory environments. This approach supports metacognitive reflection as an empowering practice for learners.



This word cloud in Wordle is based on the original article Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy, showing the connection to information literacy while moving in new directions.

The Metaliteracy Model


Metaliteracy Model (created by Roger Lipera in Adobe Illustrator)

This visual model shows all of the key elements of metaliteracy in a series of permeable spheres. At the center, information literacy is represented as a metaliteracy, surrounded by a metacognitive component that informs all elements within the framework. Collaboration intersects all of the spheres within this model. We also see some of the original components of information literacy (determine, access, evaluate, understand), mediated by social media, mobile technology, online communities, and Open Educational Resources (OERs). This informs an outer domain that promotes producing and sharing information in participatory environments, supported with the complementary information literacy components of using and incorporating information. This transitional design shows an evolving concept, that moves from information literacy to an overarching and comprehensive metaliteracy.

Advancing Metaliteracy

Considerable activity has taken place since the first article Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy was published, which has further expanded metaliteracy research. Mackey and Jacobson are finishing a new book on the model, entitled Metaliteracy in an Open Age of Social Media for ALA Books, and recently completed a second article “Proposing a Metaliteracy Model to Redefine Information Literacy” for a forthcoming issue of Communications in Information Literacy ( The authors discussed metaliteracy at ACRL 2013 in a presentation entitled “What’s in a Name?: Information Literacy, Metaliteracy, or Transliteracy” and presented two collaborative keynote addresses. At the Southwestern Ohio Conference for Higher Education (SOCHE) Library Conference the keynote examined Reinventing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy for E-Learning and at the New England Library Instruction Group Annual Program at Dartmouth College the theme explored Reimagining Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy: Empowering Learners for Participation, Collaboration, and Reflection

Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative (MLC)

In 2012, metaliteracy was central to an Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) awarded by the State University of New York (SUNY), leading to the development of a Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative (MLC) and the design of expanded metaliteracy learning objectives. Trudi Jacobson was Principal Investigator (PI) for this grant and co-PIs included Tom Mackey, Michele Forte, Mark McBride, Michael Daly, and Jenna Hecker. In addition, Emer O’Keefe joined the group as Project Manager. The metaliteracy learning collaborative established a Metaliteracy blog at, expanded the metaliteracy learning objectives to include four key domains (behavioral, affective, cognitive, and metacognitive), and began work on a badging system as an Open Educational Resource (OER) to support the metaliteracy learning objectives.

The Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative provided a project update in this GoogleHangout:




The Metaliterate Learner


Metaliterate Learner Graphic design by Roger Lipera

As we see in this visual representation of the metaliterate learner, the four domains (metacognitive, cognitive, behavioral, and affective) support a learner-centered metaliteracy framework.  The metaliterate learner is at the center of this approach and all of the learning objectives within each domain prepare the learner to be active in dynamic information environments.  The outer sphere of this visual representation shows the empowering roles played by each individual in this context.  Through metaliteracy the learner is a participant who is an effective communicator and translator of information in multiple formats.  The metaliterate learner is an author of texts, visuals, audio files, and multimedia materials, capable of critical consumption and production of information.  At the same time, metaliteracy empowers the learner to become a teacher by sharing the knowledge gained in various social environments.  This requires independent thinking and teamwork, while playing interrelated roles as collaborator, producer, and publisher of information.  As a result, the metaliterate learner is an informed researcher, proficient in asking good questions and expressing ideas in many forms (oral, text, media) that contribute to informal and formal scholarly conversations. 


Reimagining Information Literacy

Metaliteracy has been a part of the recent conversations to revise the ACRL standard definition of information literacy. Trudi Jacobson is co-chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) task force that is currently reviewing new approaches to the standards, as evident in “Rethinking ACRL’s Information Literacy Standards: The Process Begins”. Th authors hope that metaliteracy will have some influence on the future direction of this task force. The recommendations of the previous task force as noted in “The Charge of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards Review Task Force” (link to: refers to metaliteracy specifically and states: “The task force recognizes the need for unifying relevant literacies, including digital literacy, media literacy, and visual literacy, within the rubric of information literacy.”

Trudi had great success this past year in revising the major-based information literacy General Education requirements at the University at Albany to include metaliteracy objectives.

Global Perspectives

Internationally, UNESCO has been leading efforts to promote media and information literacy (MIL) and Open Educational Resources (OERs) worldwide to bridge the digital divide. As part of this global effort, UNESCO initiated the 2012 OER Paris Declaration ( ) to further support access to information and expand literacy and learning around the world. Metaliteracy is referenced in two papers from a recent UNESCO publication entitled (link to: Relationship of Information Literacy and Media Literacy in Knowledge Societies. In one of the papers, Toni Carbo envisions: “an important role for UNESCO in bringing together both experts and other individuals from different cultures, age groups and disciplines to shape a true Metaliteracy program to improve the quality of life for all” (99).

It is within this context of reimagining access, literacies, and learning at local and global levels that the Metaliteracy MOOC moves forward. This is the ideal modality for expanding the metaliteracy conversation beyond the collaborative teams that have already developed. The Metaliteracy MOOC team looks forward to working with the range of learners who will participate in this MOOC, first, through the course sharing between the University at Albany and Empire State College, and then at another meta level of observation and participation from local communities and around the world. Welcome to participants who may be new to the topic or interested in related issues, such as teaching and learning in MOOCs.

Join us, as active contributors to this open online environment, from wherever you are in this social space.

-Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson