The Basics Revisited: Nontextual approaches to teaching in information studies
Kiersten F. Latham, Tim Gorichanaz, Kiersten F. Latham, Tim Gorichanaz
Education for Information
We humans have myriad modes of communication at our disposal. Even so, in academia we tend to limit ourselves to text, and we've done so for the past few hundred years. We write books, articles, reports and on the whiteboard; we ask students to write research papers, reports and journal reflections. Text, while undeniably useful, can be limiting. As Ferdinand de Saussure noted, writing has at once "usefulness, shortcomings, and dangers" . We would also add that, for most of human existence,
... eople have communicated (quite effectively!) without writing  . Recently, academics have begun exploring non-traditional research outputs, such as visual and performance arts, design work, curation, and more. Many challenges lie ahead for assessing the significance of such works when it comes to academic apparatuses like tenure and promotion, but progress is being made (particularly in Australia; see https://nitro.edu.au). Though the road is uphill for scholarship, teaching beyond text is well within reach for departments, programs and individual instructors. In this special issue of Education for Information, we asked authors to explore the possibilities beyond textbased teaching in information studies education, building on a previous special issue on innovative pedagogies (volume 32, issue 1). With the papers in this issue, we see a return to learning and teaching with many of those tried-and-true methodsstorytelling, drawing, exhibition, kinesthetics and community. This special issue opens with two short works describing teaching practice. In "Storytelling", McDowell discusses storytelling as a form of pedagogy. In particular, she details her MLIS course on Storytelling, which she has developed over the past 11 years. In "Writing without Words", Stoerger illustrates how her information technology students created infographics to express scholarly research and learning. Their work process involved analyzing and synthesizing complex information about a given topic in order to create a unique digital artifact, which could then be used as a portfolio piece.