Developing a Library Fellowship for Privacy Literacy

Vanderbilt students forged a path through the quagmire of digital privacy

At LTI, we’re always interested in cool programs and initiatives academic libraries undertake to promote students’ use of and critical thinking toward technology. Recently, we covered Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi’s I-Know program, which inserted scaffolded digital literacy instruction throughout the undergraduate curriculum. This time, we wanted to draw attention to a library fellowship program at Vanderbilt University designed to lead students to research and create a project related to digital privacy.

Melissa N. Mallon and Andrew Wesolek, two mentors in the fellowship program, describe both the creation of this program and the results in their chapter “Amplifying Student Voices: Developing a Privacy Literacy Conversation,” originally published in Practicing Privacy Literacy in Academic Libraries: Theories, Methods, and Cases (ACRL, 2023) and reprinted here under a CC-BY license. I hope that their work serves as inspiration for similar initiatives and a testament to the creativity and curiosity of undergraduate researchers.

Amplifying Student Voices: Developing a Privacy Literacy Conversation

Introduction and University Background

New online research environments make the discovery and consumption of information easier than ever. However, these environments often threaten privacy and intellectual freedom by relying on surveillance economies and architectures. While students may be tangentially aware of these issues through course discussions, sensationalized news stories, or even sparked by their own interests, rarely do they have a platform to critically investigate, research, and/or discuss these issues. Rather than provide a one-sided library workshop series or lecture related to privacy and surveillance, we wanted to go deeper. We wanted to provide undergraduate students with opportunities to explore the intersection of privacy and intellectual freedom and the surveillance logics that influence online research and communication practices. To accomplish this, we developed an immersive, semester-long library fellowship, which provided the perfect opportunity for undergraduate students to not only develop their privacy literacy but also to synthesize research and contribute to the conversation on privacy and surveillance by producing their own podcasts.

Vanderbilt University is a Carnegie-classified R1 research institution located in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt consists of nearly 14,000 students, roughly equally divided between graduate and undergraduate populations. A highly selective university, Vanderbilt is ranked number fourteen on the US News and World Report’s ranking of national universities. The university prioritizes immersive, transdisciplinary, and residential learning experiences among undergraduates. The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries (Vanderbilt Libraries) at Vanderbilt University is well-positioned to support these efforts through its nine campus and divisional libraries. The libraries partner with faculty and students to encourage the development of informed scholars and engaged citizens through a number of instructional activities, including a Vanderbilt Library Fellows program.

Buchanan Library Fellowship

The Vanderbilt Library Fellows program began in 2012 as a way for students to engage more deeply with library resources. In 2018, a generous endowment by Poppy and Richard Buchanan further developed the fellows program, resulting in the Poppy Pickering Buchanan and Richard D. Buchanan Library Fellows Fund (the Buchanan Library Fellowship). The fellowship provides students with immersive and experiential learning opportunities, allowing them the chance to work closely with librarians and Vanderbilt faculty as they critically explore information from different angles. Fellowships range from creating tactile and digital exhibits using the libraries’ Special Collections to text analysis and GIS projects to exploring the challenges and opportunities of contemporary information environments. The Buchanan Library Fellowship also ties in nicely with several Vanderbilt initiatives, including the University Strategic Plan, with its emphasis on unique, on-campus student experiences and transdisciplinary learning and research. Similarly, the fellowship is one of the primary ways the Vanderbilt Libraries contribute to the Immersion Vanderbilt initiative, which “provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to pursue their passions and cultivate intellectual interests through experiential learning.”[i] Each Buchanan Library Fellowship is taught by “mentors,” often librarians and, many times, faculty, and the fellowships are open to all undergraduate students. Interested students must complete an online application, including a cover letter addressing their interest in the particular fellowship as well as submit a recommendation from a faculty member. Once accepted, fellows are required to attend all “seminar” sessions (usually held weekly over the course of a semester) and to complete a project at the end of the fellowship, which is displayed on the library’s website and shared with other fellows. If they complete these requirements, they earn a stipend, funded by the Buchanan Fellowship Fund.

Several years ago, we collaborated to develop and teach a fellowship with two of our colleagues, Bobby Smiley and Sarah Burriss, focused on the ethics of information, of which privacy and surveillance were integral components. Students responded positively to this fellowship, but we learned that the topic was broad enough, and the research interests of the mentors divergent enough, to warrant several future fellowships on more focused topics, all converging within the general space of the ethics of information. Our aim, then, was to develop a series of fellowships that built upon one another, leveraging student final projects over the course of several semesters to offer a deeper understanding of the ethics of information than one cohort could achieve in a single semester. Due to our research interests, and the positive reaction of the initial ethics of information fellows, we decided to launch a more focused fellowship on privacy and surveillance.

So, in the fall of 2020, we took a deep dive into this space and developed a new Buchanan Library Fellowship, Privacy, Surveillance, and Intellectual Freedom (subsequently shortened to Privacy Fellowship). The Privacy Fellowship’s description advertised an opportunity for students to investigate issues related to the ethical considerations of surveillance and privacy concerns. Our intent was to engage students in a critical interrogation of the role technology plays in information consumption and what our roles are, as participants in this ecosystem, to both question and change current practices.

A total of six undergraduates were accepted to the Privacy Fellowship. The fellows ranged from first years to seniors and represented a diverse set of majors, spanning from Environmental Studies to Spanish to Political Science, Gender Studies, History, Computer Science, and Cognitive Studies. As is typical at Vanderbilt, many students double or sometimes triple major. In the first meeting, we asked fellows what drew them to this fellowship. Responses included passionate dedication to preserving civil liberties to healthy criticality of government surveillance to curiosity of policy regarding cyber security and the criminal justice system. One fellow was interested in the role of social media—specifically, TikTok—on intellectual property, and yet another fellow wanted to explore corporate surveillance of environmental activists on social media. The range of interests and interdisciplinarity of the fellows resulted in robust and engaging conversations throughout the semester. We were particularly pleased when they connected weekly fellowship readings and discussions to their experiences in their other classes. Such connections bore fruit in both our synchronous discussions and asynchronous communications on the fellowship course site. We’ll discuss this more in the following sections.

The Privacy Fellowship

Fellowship Structure

As we developed the content and structure for the Privacy, Surveillance, and Intellectual Freedom Fellowship, we were cognizant of the fact that this is by no means a narrow topic, and we would need to draw some boundaries around what we chose to cover in lectures, readings, and student projects. To help define our scope, we started by brainstorming a series of questions that addressed our own interests and inquiries related to privacy, surveillance, and information ethics. We then narrowed those questions down to a list that would encourage students to consider these same issues from transdisciplinary academic and social lenses, as well as inspire proactivity and action in their own lives. The following guiding questions then helped us develop the content of the Privacy Fellowship:

  • How is surveillance technology operative (and often invisible) in our daily lives, and what opportunities do we have for opting in/out?
  • What are the relationships between privacy, surveillance, and intellectual freedom?
  • What opportunities for resistance and/or change do we see?

We encouraged fellows to consider these questions as we moved through the semester and used them as guideposts as students started brainstorming their final projects. Articulating guiding principles for the fellowship is key for initiating learning transfer, which, according to Thomas, “must be viewed as fundamental to the overall learning process and it is a cornerstone for the success of the total learning experience.”[ii] The guiding questions are also designed to help fellows make explicit connections with the fellowship topic and their lives outside of the classroom. Through the readings and weekly discussions, we intentionally encouraged them to consider the guiding questions both from a macro scale, through their role as citizens of the United States and the world, and from a micro perspective, thinking about their academic experiences and, in particular, their enrollment at an elite private university. By facilitating these connections, we successfully completed the transfer of learning.

Fostering Community and Collaboration

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that at least one of our fellows was remote during the fall 2020 semester, we decided to hold our weekly synchronous sessions via Zoom. We used our university’s Learning Management System (LMS), Brightspace, to post readings and have a “home base” for the fellowship. We provided fellows with a syllabus (see appendix) with readings and videos to provide some structure for our weekly meetings. We selected readings from a diverse pool, from Neil Richard’s Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age[iii] to Focault’s Panopticon.[iv] We also asked students to engage with several virtual privacy projects, including the Data Detox Kit,[v] the Glass Room,[vi] and Digital Shred.[vii]

Since our synchronous meetings were held just once per week and took place virtually, we were committed to creating additional opportunities for fellows to continue conversations and build community outside of our weekly meetings. In online learning environments, and asynchronous courses in particular, where instructors may come across as talking heads and students may be coming from diverse backgrounds and locations, creating a more “humanizing” environment results in more engagement and increased student success.[viii] To facilitate this, we identified several opportunities for fellows to connect asynchronously, outside of our weekly meetings. We share more about this connection shortly.

Bridging Theory to Practice

Building on our goals to humanize the learning environment, we used these opportunities for asynchronous communication to encourage fellows to draw connections between the rather theoretical readings to current events impacting online privacy. In addition to the weekly required readings for the fellowship (see appendix), which tended toward the abstract or more theoretical perspectives, we sought to encourage connections from the theoretical to the practical. By doing so over the course of each week, our hope was that fellows would be prompted to think about the ways in which surveillance technology is operative in their daily lives and then communicate this with their peers.

To this end, in addition to weekly readings in theory, one fellow, on a rotating basis, would select a news article that aligned well with that week’s readings. Articles were selected and distributed to the class five days prior to our weekly meeting, and fellows were expected to discuss the connections between the weekly readings and the selected article both in person and online. To facilitate asynchronous annotation and conversation related to the articles, we relied on the web annotation tool,[ix] After creating a free account with, each fellow was invited to a group consisting of all fellows and mentors. Within this group, fellows could annotate news articles, highlight relevant sections, ask questions, or otherwise draw connections to the readings. This asynchronous annotation created a foundation on which we could develop in-person dialog at each meeting. We were consistently impressed by the connections drawn and the students’ engagement with the platform.

We structured the syllabus to connect seemingly abstract aspects of the logics of surveillance to both lived and easily imagined experiences. For example, most students would not have previous experience with critical theory in general or Foucault in particular prior to joining the fellowship, so we paired Foucault’s Panopticon with an episode of Black Mirror, “Nosedive.” This allowed students to connect how surveillance logics might be operative in their lives through tools—social media in this case—with which they were familiar. Similarly, in a module exploring the quasi-interdependent relationship between data and personhood, we paired critical readings about the quantified self and the role of algorithmically recommended memories, with a lived experience—The Great Hack, which outlined the role of data targeting and manipulation in the 2016 US presidential election.[x]

Additionally, we sought to connect theoretical perspectives to practical privacy-defending practices. Through Alison Macrina at the Library Freedom Project,[xi] we were connected with a local privacy technology expert, Bryan Jones, at the Nashville Public Library. Bryan agreed to guest lecture one session of the fellowship, during which he focused on a digital self-defense toolkit of open source technologies. Bryan introduced fellows to the Privacy Tools Github repository,[xii] walking them through a variety of options and providing insight into the features and drawbacks of a number of the tools. Much of the literature we had read in class might have come across as dire, and so fellows reacted very positively to this wealth of tools that they could employ to enhance their personal online privacy. In addition, the students encouraged the fellowship group, mentors included, to begin using Signal,[xiii] an encrypted messaging platform, for all future fellowship communications.

Final Projects

As per the endowment that established the Buchanan Library Fellowship program, fellows were to build on these readings and discussions in support of a culminating final project that integrated the material that they learned throughout the semester. Initially, the mentors proposed that the fellows manage a privacy fair designed to educate their colleagues on both threats to privacy and tips and tricks for digital self-defense.

This project was to be a continuation of a privacy-focused event held at the Vanderbilt Libraries in March of 2019. This inaugural event took a practical approach, equipping attendees with skills for encrypting online activity. At the 2019 event, Alison Macrina, founding director of the Library Freedom Project, delivered a keynote session exploring the implications of the normalization of online surveillance and the links between privacy and intellectual freedom. Attendees were encouraged to bring their laptops and smartphones to the event in order to participate in a subsequent privacy fair. Here, campus partners staffed tables to walk attendees through installing password managers, using Tor, understanding location data tracking via smartphones, and making use of secured encrypted communication.

This inaugural event was both well attended and well received by the Vanderbilt community. However, the organizers noted that while participation was strong among faculty and staff, few students were present. With this in mind, we designed the initial final project for our Privacy Fellowship along similar lines as the inaugural privacy fair. It was to feature a keynote speaker and a series of staffed tables to assist attendees in installing privacy-protecting software. The Buchanan Fellows, though, were charged with leading this event to make it by students and for students. Our hope was that our core group of fellows could better communicate privacy threats and solutions to their peers, thus continuing the conversation within the Vanderbilt student population.

Unfortunately, due to the persistence of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this privacy fair was not to be. We did still, though, want to harness student voices as we remained firm in the belief that the fellows themselves were best able to communicate privacy threats to their peers. As a result, we worked with them to launch a podcast series in which they were to speak to their peers, as peers, about issues they explored in the Privacy Fellowship.


This revised podcast project also afforded us the opportunity to work with the fellows to develop additional digital literacy and technology skills. As these podcasts would rely on the use of existing media, such as background music and sound effects, the mentors worked with fellows to develop additional digital literacy skills focused on better understanding online intellectual property regimes. In one session of the fellowship, for example, we engaged fellows in discussions to better understand the ways in which copyright is operative in online environments, where “free to read” is the norm. This included brief instruction on the essentials of understanding copyright as well as creative commons licenses and where to find and how to use open digital content.

For the technical aspects of the podcast project, we spent one session delving into how to record and edit podcasts. To help us plan the session, we consulted with our colleagues in the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching; the executive director, Derek Bruff, is very active in student-produced podcasts on campus and provided some helpful pedagogical suggestions. Likewise, our colleague Rhett McDaniel, a fantastic media producer, shared some handouts and editing guides that we added to our fellowship Brightspace site. Since all students were remote, we encouraged them to use Zoom to record their podcasts and then use Audacity to edit the audio. One or two fellows had prior experience creating podcasts for other classes, so they served as peer mentors. We also held several open “work times” where they could meet virtually to collaboratively edit and ask us questions. In addition to the five- to seven-minute podcast each group produced, we also required them to submit a transcript for accessibility purposes and a list of resources consulted and used.

We encouraged the fellows to choose the topics on which they wanted to address in their podcasts. We firmly believe that this type of personalization is an effective way to allow students to align their projects with their own interests and prior experiences.[xiv] However, as Kucirkova, Gerard, and Linn note, this type of personalization can also cause difficulties, particularly when trying to balance customization of learning for individual students at the possible expense of the group.[xv] This can also cause issues with equity and student agency. We did find that leaving the topic selection fully up to our fellows resulted in us having to guide students to narrow their topics, much like helping students winnow down a research paper topic, and that some students’ preferences didn’t necessarily mesh with those of their peers. To counteract this, while we required each fellow to collaboratively produce and edit at least one podcast for their final project, we also encouraged them to explore additional topics solo, should they have the time and interest. This allowed students the agency to explore topics fully aligned with their experiences and interests. To help fellows narrow down their topics to a manageable size that could be covered in the shorter (five- to seven-minute) podcast, we engaged them in a process of brainstorming conversations during our weekly meetings, facilitated by collaborative work on a Google Doc.

Eventually, the fellows self-sorted into three groups of two, deciding to record podcasts on the following areas: activism and surveillance, surveillance capitalism and corporations (a two-parter), and historical progression of privacy and philosophy (also a two-parter), which explored the philosophical evolution of privacy through the lens of Facebook’s development and analyzed the definition of privacy in relation to technological innovations and ethical controversies, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Twitter’s handling of the 2014 Ferguson Black Lives Matter Protest, and more. One fellow did end up producing an additional solo podcast, focusing on the legal applications of privacy, which investigated the history and development of federal statutes governing digital information, providing a foundational understanding of relevant law. Perhaps not surprisingly, this fellow was a senior and pre-law. We combined the fellows’ edited podcasts along with their supplementary materials and a description of the fellowship onto a publicly available research guide.[xvi]

Reflections and Conclusions

Fellow Reflections

In addition to their final projects, Buchanan Fellows are also asked to provide statements reflecting on their experience throughout the semester; these statements are used in donor reports and as advertising for the Buchanan Library Fellowship program. Our privacy fellows provided statements that were representative of their engagement in the fellowship; it was gratifying to see that they felt as happy and passionate about their experience as we did.[xvii]

As mentioned, one of the major goals of the Buchanan Library Fellowship program is to foster a connection between undergraduates and the library. Happily, our Privacy Fellowship seemed to accomplish this. In their reflection, a first-year student noted, “I learned so much about privacy and surveillance and the impacts it has on our lives. I hope to continue to engage with the library and staff in different ways, especially since Andrew and Melissa were so nice and imparted so much knowledge to us, and the book recommendations especially were so helpful!” One of the best things about this takeaway is that this fellow now associates the library with privacy advocacy and will hopefully make continued associations between the work we do and the conversation on privacy.

Fellows also made connections to the interests and passions they initially brought into the fellowship. As a nice “closing the loop” statement to the comments made at our very first meeting, one fellow, an environmental studies major, explained how the privacy fellowship helped them meet their academic and professional goals:

The Privacy Fellowship not only allowed myself [sic] to immerse myself in the literature of privacy and surveillance, but served as the basis for an independent study that allowed me to explore this topic within my area of interest: environmental sociology. In the fellowship we delved into contemporary examples of surveillance structures in action through discussion of current events, documentaries, and examination of a weekly newspaper article that each student was able to choose. By exploring these tangents, we were able to debate topics such as algorithmic bias, the benefits and downfalls of surveillance, and how to be proactive in our own online security.

It was also interesting to see that some fellows commented on the community and collaboration we worked hard to foster, despite the pandemic circumstances we were all living in. According to one fellow, “Our class discussions were always fruitful and would often lead us down paths that weren’t originally planned for the day’s seminar.” Yet another reflected on how the readings and discussions contributed to their understanding of the fellowship content: “I am profoundly appreciative of my experience as a Buchanan fellow. The fellowship offered me the opportunity to engage with content of intellectual interest which falls outside of my major. It enabled me to pursue in-depth research on the exceedingly relevant and widely applicable topic of data privacy and surveillance. I am incredibly thankful for our project mentors, Andy and Melissa, who provided invaluable individualized guidance which facilitated my exploration and discovery of the political significance of intellectual freedom.”

Since this was the first semester to include the podcasts, we also wanted to get a sense of how satisfied the fellows were with this final project. One summed up their experience with the podcasts: “As the semester drew to a close, I crafted a podcast with a classmate, one which surveyed privacy through its philosophical underpinnings. Immersing myself in the theories of Kant and Locke, while simultaneously studying entities like Facebook and Google, sure made this Fellowship one exciting ride!” This same fellow went on to say, “The Buchanan Library Fellowship combines the very best of a Vanderbilt education: immersion and discussion. By analyzing a variety of texts—historical, philosophical, economic—I was able to gain an interdisciplinary understanding of privacy in the digital age.” This kind of enthusiasm is everything we would hope for in providing these undergraduate fellowship opportunities. We were gratified to hear from our fellows even several semesters after offering the Privacy Fellowship, asking us to serve as references for their job searches and letting us know how they have explored the topics we discussed in other ways throughout their academic career, including as a launch point for an Immersion Vanderbilt project.

Mentor Reflections

Along with the fellows, we, the mentors, learned a great deal over the course of this semester. First, we learned that at least some undergraduates really care about privacy! It is often assumed that younger generations, saturated in social media and raised in increasingly surveilled environments, do not care about privacy concerns. However, our fellows were clearly passionate about these issues and their positive outlook buoyed the admittedly occasionally pessimistic view of the future of privacy held by the mentors.

Moreover, the podcast series was initially developed as a contingency due to the persistence of the pandemic. However, we were so impressed with the time, energy, and thoughtfulness fellows gave their podcasts that we wanted to build on the momentum they developed. As a result, this podcast project served as the foundation for an ongoing podcast series featuring student voices exploring issues at the intersection of information, media, and society.[xviii] Subsequent fellowships led by the mentors and our collaborator Bobby Smiley, feature podcasts as final projects. Learning from this fellowship, we built additional time in subsequent curricula to help fellows refine their audio-production skills and better understand intellectual property in online environments.

Student engagement with also exceeded our expectations. We built this component into future fellowships as a valuable tool in connecting theory to practice. During the Privacy Fellowship, we had occasional concerns that using as a communication tool might lead to tangential conversations that fellows might find uninteresting. However, as confirmed by their reflections, the flexibility in discussion topics led to a more personalized learning experience and deeper connections to the fellows’ own disciplinary backgrounds. We did have some reservations about the privacy policies of the platform, but these did not outweigh the benefits of conversation it helped to generate.

We also remain firmly committed to the essentiality of diverse student backgrounds and disciplinary perspectives for this and subsequent Buchanan Fellowships. Issues around privacy, surveillance, and intellectual freedom are transdisciplinary in nature and can be explored much more richly with a diversity of disciplinary perspectives present. The diversity of perspectives on these issues allowed for the growth of peer mentoring within the fellowship in addition to prompting the mentors to think about these issues from new perspectives. Additionally, the range of grade levels enhanced this diversity, adding to the peer-mentoring opportunities and fostering the development of a community of student-scholars that extended beyond the fellowship.

Not all aspects of the fellowship exceeded our expectations, however. This was the first fellowship we mentored in which we encouraged fellows to create podcasts. Upon completion of them, however, we noticed that the production quality was not quite as polished as we had anticipated. Granted, the podcasts were offered as a final project as a contingency plan due to the persistent pandemic, but we did learn that future fellowships should include additional time and instruction devoted to the technical aspects of podcast production. In future fellowships we offered, we carved out time for this instruction toward the beginning of the semester to give students the space to experiment and ask questions as the semester progressed. This resulted in podcasts with higher production values.

We also want to be intentional in recognizing our privilege in this opportunity; we are fortunate to work at a prestigious institution with a healthy endowment. While this financial support admittedly does not always make its way to the library, we are grateful for families like the Buchanans that see the value in experiential learning and undergraduate research, and, even more importantly, see the value of these initiatives as directly connected to academic libraries. However, a library need not have a similarly funded fellowship structure to take advantage of the lessons we learned through this case study. Librarians can apply different aspects of our Privacy Fellowship to their own institutional contexts, particularly with a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box. We recommend connecting with student advocacy groups and other student-led organizations to align the topics covered with their goals and activities. For example, any student group that centers on privacy, ethics, or freedom of information might be willing to host a special workshop or discussion group, housed in the library. The different modules we covered within our fellowship (see appendix) can also be packaged into individual lessons that can either be delivered in a workshop format, through select course curriculum (look for relevant courses in computer sciences, political science, sociology, and/or communication studies), or via asynchronous modules that can either be self-paced or embedded into courses. Similarly, the podcast project might be replicated through a library contest or similar incentive-based structure for undergraduates. Regardless of the campus environment and institutional context, the projects and content in this Privacy Fellowship are extremely transferable and relevant for students of all types.

The Buchanan Library Fellowship focusing on Privacy, Surveillance, and Intellectual Freedom was a rewarding experience for both fellows and mentors. We all had much to learn from each other and created connections that have extended well beyond the semester in which the fellowship occurred. Fellows carried the conversation forward among their peers through the podcasts, future independent studies, and campus activism work, while mentors were reinvigorated by the enthusiasm of the fellows. Privacy advocacy can be a challenge, but working directly with undergraduates to develop and share the conversation proved both fruitful and inspiring.

  1. “Immersion Vanderbilt,” Vanderbilt University, accessed August 29, 2022,
  2. Earl Thomas, “Thoughtful Planning Fosters Learning Transfer,” Adult Learning 18, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 5.
  3. Neil M. Richards, Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
  4. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Random House, 1979).
  5. “Data Detox Kit,” Tactical Tech, accessed August 29, 2022,
  6. “The Glass Room,” Tactical Tech, accessed August 29, 2022,
  7. Alexandria Chisholm and Sarah Hartman-Caverly, “Digital Shred: Privacy Literacy Toolkit,” accessed August 29, 2022,
  8. Michelle Pacansky-Brock, Michael Smedshammer, and Kim Vincent-Layton, “Humanizing Online Teaching to Equitize Higher Education,” Current Issues in Education 21, no. 2 (2020).
  9., accessed August 29, 2022,
  10. Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, The Great Hack, 2019,
  11. Alison Macrina, “Library Freedom Project, accessed August 29, 2022,
  12. “Privacy Tools: Software Alternatives and Encryption,” Privacy Tools, accessed August 29, 2022,
  13. “Signal,” accessed August 29, 2022,
  14. Natalia Kucirkova, Libby Gerard, and Marcia C. Linn, “Designing Personalised Instruction: A Research and Design Framework,” British Journal of Educational Technology 52, no. 5 (2021): 1839–61,
  15. Kucirkova, Gerard, and Linn, “Designing Personalised Instruction.”
  16. Student podcasts and accompanying materials are available at
  17. Student comments are taken from their end of semester reflection statements and purposefully left anonymous.
  18. Information, Media, & Society guide,


Chisholm, Alexandria, and Sarah Hartman-Caverly. “Digital Shred: Privacy Literacy Toolkit.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Random House, 1979. Accessed August 29, 2022.

Igo, Sarah E. The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018.

Lupton, Deborah. The Quantified Self: A Sociology of Self-Tracking. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016.

Monahan, Torin, and David Murakami Wood. Surveillance Studies: A Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Kucirkova, Natalia, Libby Gerard, and Marcia C. Linn. “Designing Personalised Instruction: A Research and Design Framework.” British Journal of Educational Technology 52, no. 5 (2021): 1839–61.

Macrina, Alison. “Library Freedom Project.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

Noujaim, Jehane, and Karim Amer. The Great Hack. 2019.

Pacansky-Brock, Michelle, Michael Smedshammer, and Kim Vincent-Layton. “Humanizing Online Teaching to Equitize Higher Education.” Current Issues in Education 21, no. 2 (2020).

Privacy Tools. “Privacy Tools: Software Alternatives and Encryption.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

Richards, Neil M. Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Signal. Accessed August 29, 2022.

Simanowski, Roberto. Waste: A New Media Primer. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2018.

Tactical Tech. “Data Detox Kit.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

———. “The Glass Room.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

Thomas, Earl. “Thoughtful Planning Fosters Learning Transfer.” Adult Learning 18, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 4–8.

Waldman, Ari Ezra. Privacy as Trust: Information Privacy for an Information Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Vanderbilt University. “Immersion Vanderbilt.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

About the authors

Melissa N. Mallon, MLIS, is associate university librarian for teaching and learning at Vanderbilt University. Mallon has published, presented, and taught professional development courses in the areas of online learning, instructional design, and the impact of information and digital literacies on student learning. Her books include Partners in Teaching & Learning: Coordinating a Successful Academic Library Instruction Program; The Pivotal Role of Academic Librarians in Digital Learning; and the co-edited volumes, The Grounded Instruction Librarian: Participating in the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning and (forthcoming) Exploring Inclusive & Equitable Pedagogies: Creating Space for All Learners.

Andrew Wesolek serves as the director of Digital Scholarship and Communications (DiSC) at Vanderbilt University. The DiSC Office supports students and researchers in the areas of scholarly communication, copyright, GIS, research computing, and data analysis and visualization. Wesolek’s research and professional interests focus on library support for new forms of open scholarship and infrastructure, with a critical examination of the implications of this emerging scholarly communication environment. His books include Making Institutional Repositories Work and OER: A Field Guide for Academic Librarians.