Cooke speaks at Cinema and Media Studies, Digital Blackness conferences

Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke is sharing her research on topics related to digital literacy, including pedagogical approaches to using social media in the classroom and identifying and confronting misleading information, with two conference presentations this month.

At the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference—held March 30 through April 3 in Atlanta—Cooke delivered a talk titled, “Feminist Pedagogy in the Online Classroom,” during the workshop “Pedagogy beyond the Podium: Teaching Using Twenty-first-century Technologies.”

Abstract: This talk will address Cooke’s use of feminist pedagogy to create a collaborative learning environment for her online students. As part of this pedagogical stance, Web 2.0 is used as a main technology. Students are expected to contribute to the conversations by bringing their own examples and explaining their relevance to their lives. This can occasionally be challenging as students may be conditioned to be passive listeners and absorbers of content, as opposed to actively reflecting, engaging, and contributing to the learning process. It is important to consider pedagogy before relying on technological tools. Instructors in this environment need training, beyond their content expertise, to make these learning spaces relevant and engaging.

On April 22-23, Cooke will participate in the Digital Blackness Conference sponsored by and held at Rutgers University. During the workshop “Conspiracies, Cyborgs and Culture: Understanding how Blacks use the Internet,” she will deliver a talk titled, “Combatting Cultural Misinformation/Disinformation on the Internet.”

Abstract: The Internet is saturated with information that is of low-to-no quality. Yet, with lightening speed a great deal of this information goes viral without being vetted or confirmed. Much of this information is good and/or positive, but there is another, darker side to this information coin—here is an inordinate amount of misinformation and disinformation (mis/dis) online. Mis/dis is information that is false, and even salacious and malicious enough to be damaging, especially as it pertains to cultural images and messages. If such information is ever retracted, disproved or corrected, the damage has been done and the evidence remains digitally archived for eternity. 

How can Internet users become more competent and intelligent users of information, to the point of becoming culture jammers who critique popular culture in an effort to challenge the status quo and resist dominant cultural practices? An approach to reaching this level of critical media consumption is to impart literacy skills to Internet users. Specifically, information literacy, digital literacy, and cultural literacy would facilitate the average Internet user’s ability to seek, find, and use appropriate information, which in turn would facilitate more thoughtful dialogues and learning.

In addition to her role as assistant professor, Cooke is a faculty affiliate in the Center for Digital Inclusion at GSLIS. Her research interests include human information behavior, particularly in an online context, eLearning, and diversity and social justice in librarianship. She has published articles in journals including JASIST, The Library Quarterly, InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information, Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, Library and Information Science Research, Information Research, and New Review of Academic Librarianship. Cooke also coauthored Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Information Professionals (Chandos Press, 2012).

Named a Mover & Shaker in 2007 by Library Journal and the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award, Cooke is professionally active in ALA, ALISE, ASIS&T, and several other professional library organizations. She holds an MLS degree from Rutgers University, an M.Ed. in adult education from Penn State, and a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers, where she was an ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow.

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