Seeking Social Justice in Information | Graduate Counseling, Leadership and Education Students

Submitted by Margaret Brown-Salazar on January 26th, 2017
Share this on: 
Short Description: 

Created by M. Brown-Salazar Saint Mary's College of CA This lesson was developed to have graduate level students explore social justice issues in information found on the internet. It is based on Dr. Safiya Noble's work: Algorithms of Oppression. Simplified, we asked students to consider that when we seek information, we need to examine the perspective/privilege of the voices/sources of information and identify/understand whose voices are represented and whose voices are missing and how that impacts/influences our understanding. Students were asked to consider issues we uncovered in relationship to themselves personally, as students and also also professional practitioners. We used clips from a lecture by Dr. Noble to stimulate discussion and asked to students to critically examine results of google image searches as an illustration of inequities. Students completed a survey as assessment.

2016 2017 Seeking Social Justice in Information Lesson Plan Master's Level Students.docxDownloaded 644 times32.54 KB
Pre-session HandoutDownloaded 537 times25.63 KB
In Class AssignmentDownloaded 521 times16.76 KB
Learning Outcomes: 

Learning Objectives (include SMC institutional learning outcomes, ACRL Standards, Framework, or others) Students understand that Google is the dominate search engine. Students understand that most internet searchers believe the information they find is trustworthy, accurate, unbiased, credible Students understand that search engine algorithms are based on criteria for increasing advertising and marketing and not criteria to provide the best information available to answer their search query SRIL 1 Students understand that there are influences (social, political, economic, …) that shape social justice issues in information retrieval SRIL 1 Students can articulate a personal or professional practice that they could develop to become more critical consumers of information specifically as it relates to internet search results SRIL 1 SRIL 2 Students can articulate one action they might take to make the issue of social justice in information more apparent to others

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

This was a new unit added to a series of 3 information literacy sessions that graduates students complete in their Research Seminar course. The intention is to extend a lesson plan on using the internet for research to have students consider "the social, political, economic, and corporate systems that have power and influence over information production, dissemination, access, and consumption." (Gregory, L. and Higgins, S. (Eds.) (2013). Information literacy and social justice: Radical professional praxis. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.) .

Assessment or Criteria for Success
(e.g. rubric, guidelines, exemplary sample paper, etc.): 
2016 2017 SeekingSocialJusticeinInformationAssessmentWorksheet.docxDownloaded 428 times15.61 KB
Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

Although I asked students to watch the Noble video before the session - NO ONE did that! As I reconsider, I think it works fine without the pre-session video - I removed it from subsequent instruction sessions. This instruction takes on its own unique life with each group - it is fascinating. I am fortunate to work with faculty who allowed the session to take as long as it took. One session concluded and 15 minutes later students were still in the room talking about it in small groups on their own.

Suggested Citation: 
Brown-Salazar, Margaret. "Seeking Social Justice in Information | Graduate Counseling, Leadership and Education Students." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2017.