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Implementing the ACRL Framework: Framework responses

Internal MacPhaidin Library guide on how we will implement the ACRL Frameworks for the MacPhaidin Library.


  • Start to talk about frames as information literacy concept; faculty able to then move these into more detail about their specific discipline/subdiscipline.
  • If old standards described the progression from beginning learners to more advanced learners very clearly and these frames are missing that progression in their "knowledge practices" lists, while that's a concern, could we use that as a way to create our own progression by mapping the knowledge practices to beginning/intermediate/advanced and conveying that a full understanding of a framework cannot be captured in a single session.
  • Get faculty members involved in the template and rubric design process as we start to put together ideas for how we're going to programmatically implement the frames.


  • Can the frameworks be broken down into class levels? Things that are appropriate for first-year classes, second year, etc. (This might also involve mapping knowledge practices to different course types in the general ed program.)
  • Could we do some backwards design by taking existing assignments and identifying how it addresses the different frameworks and then use that as a thinking exercise to develop future potential assignments?
  • Are there faculty who'd be willing to sit down with us when designing a new class and use the frameworks as part of their process of designing the course?
  • Is this going to be reported to some kind of accreditation society?


  • Students don't feel they have expertise; for some of these threshold concepts, they need to feel like they're part of the discipline.
  • Reading a lot about doing these as one-shots; they seem to have come back into vogue as part of this, but concern is that this might make for even worse one-shots than the old standards because they are so advanced and "fuzzy," these are big ideas that have a lot of aspects to them. These frames are much more specific and nuanced and challenging which makes them harder to teach in a one-shot.
  • Old standards described the progression from beginning learners to more advanced learners very clearly; these frames are missing that progression in their "knowledge practices" lists.


I would like to stay away from one shots if possible.

"Challenge list"

Threshold concepts:
These seem like very difficult concepts to address and to teach to students from different disciplinary fields. IE History threshold concepts are very different from Biology, etc. The concept of Threshold concepts themselves are not widely accepted. Do we know enough about threshold concepts to "get the students over them"? 

Students need to be in the right place developmentally and in their coursework, so there's a lot that needs to be in place for them to get over the threshold. It's very difficult for us to impose that on them, and in a sense that's not our job, but rather the job of the faculty member for the course. 

Our role would be to get them to the place where they're potentially ready for the threshold concept and then faculty have to bring them over that threshold. Challenge is how to plan for/collaborate to achieve this.

Threshold Concepts vs Frames:
We need to decide where our focus is. Frames are more information literacy focused, threshold concepts are more discipline specific.

Standards vs Frameworks:
Because we didn't map our instruction program to the standards, we're starting from scratch in a way with the frameworks; this has benefits in that we're not tied to an existing way of mapping things/faculty don't have a set understanding of these concepts, but we're also in some ways skipping a step.

Student behaviors:
Getting students to realize, for instance, that searching is an iterative process and that it IS a process, is difficult. Students get married to the first thing they find, and to the first searches they do, and even when it doesn't work out they tend to struggle with those terms and ideas rather than adapting/modifying their ideas. How best to express and model the practice of iterative research is still a challenge.

Lead time:
Many of these types of programs and activities require more advance planning than a "standard" database instruction lecture; our culture has been very open to last-minute class bookings. Once challenge may be balancing the need for lead time in order to successfully implement the frames with faculty's reliance on the ability to make last minute reservations. Do we want to have that conversation?

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