Exploring information landscapes and bubbles

By Andy Burkhardt and Alan Carbery


At Champlain College Library, our information literacy programme is not just about teaching students how to search library databases, or find scholarly articles; it’s about engaging students in critical conversations about their information choices as information consumers. This chapter will narrate how we engage first year students in these conversations using multiple methods, tools, and learning objects.

Through the use of mobile phone polling and a TED Talk about filter bubbles, we facilitate student discovery of a wider information landscape. This, in turn, leads to inquiry into corporate and external influences on information as well as a questioning of the implications of personal information choices. Students discover how they both use and are used by information. This leads students to think of their information world in new and thought-provoking ways.

By engaging students in these meaningful and contextualized conversations, we open our students up to transformative learning moments (Mezirow, 1997) that help then rediscover their information selves.



Mezirow, J. (1997) Transformative learning: theory to practice, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, (74), pp. 5-12.

Pariser, E. (2011) Beware online “filter bubbles” [video] http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html [Accessed 25 February 2013].