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Sunday, October 14 • 1:30pm - 3:30pm
#s2c: Unpacking the Algorithms That Shape Our UX: Algorithmic Awareness as a Form of Information Literacy

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Unpacking the Algorithms That Shape Our UX: Algorithmic Awareness as a Form of Information Literacy
Julian Kaptanian, Jason Clark, Tyler Bass
Montana State University, United States of America
Why does The Lion King keep showing up in my Netflix recommended section? Why are cute cat videos popping up more and more in my Facebook News Feed? Why does Amazon recommend I order kitty litter and toys at the same time for a prompt two-day experience? We, and our patrons, routinely engage in systems that predict, recommend, and speculate about our interests based on the digital fingerprint we provide with our link clicks and “likes”, but we all struggle understanding how and why those systems work as they do. Part of this struggle is recognizing how our technological experiences are increasingly mediated by algorithms - the code and computational processes embedded into our software. Recent work by scholars, such as Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, has shown how algorithms exhibit implicit racial or sexist biases and reify societal prejudices. Moreover, the technical nature of algorithms and the lack of transparency surrounding them can be a challenge for novices.

The goal of this workshop is to create more informed instructors with a better understanding of internet feedback loops who can bring awareness of the implications of complex formulas guiding our technological world. Our Montana State University team, with grant funding from the IMLS, has conducted research in order to develop a white paper, a web-based teaching tool, and a standard curriculum to support the teaching of "Algorithmic Awareness": an understanding around the rules that govern our software and shape our digital experiences.

During the workshop, we will be teaching participants first principles around algorithms and their definitions, how to identify common algorithms in software experiences, and the implications of algorithms in shaping our world. This workshop will address three primary learning outcomes, allowing participants to: comfortably define algorithms while drawing upon common online interactions to support their personalized instruction; learn how Algorithmic Awareness as a concept fits into the ACRL Framework and can be promoted as a form of digital literacy; design a local instruction plan for teaching about algorithms at their institutions. Additionally, individuals may reuse grant deliverables (which will be released as Open Educational Resources) as learning modules and have a chance to ask about pedagogical uses for these modules.

The goal of the session will be to create actionable steps for teaching about algorithms in their own information literacy instruction. The target audience are professionals such as librarians or professors who can subsequently act as a resource to teach students about the implications of algorithms in hopes of a more transparent relationship with technological experiences. However, any participant with an interest in learning how algorithms mediate aspects of our digital experiences and an interest in understanding the invisible rules and processes embedded in our software will find value in the workshop and our discussions. The technology needs are a computer and projector to demonstrate our web search teaching tool and work through session exercises via the screen.

This workshop is part of Learn@DLF (our brand new pre-conference workshop day). Learn more and register for this session: https://forum2018.diglib.org/learnatdlf/

Sunday October 14, 2018 1:30pm - 3:30pm PDT
Marche 3