PCOH 3117
Associate Professor
BA, BEd, MA, PhD
Guiding Literacy Practice: Context Matters

Developing and Implementing a Research Plan at CODE in partnership with UBC and McGill University
Dr. Marlene Asselin, Project Manager and Research Coordinator

The Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) recognizes the need to explain and document their approach to literacy education including their theory of change, and the research base that supports it. Research on reading/literacy has primarily been carried out in high-income countries/contexts, but findings and implications are often equally applied to developing world or low-income contexts. But context matters and through this initiative, the intent is to support research which is clearly situated in the local (and global) context. This means placing a high priority not only on the location of research but also on the need to work collaboratively and in consort with African scholars, researchers, as well as CODE’s long-standing partners.

The first phase (2016-2017) consists of two broad literature reviews on literacy and learning in Africa with reference the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in particular the goals pertaining to education and equality. Results of these reviews will be presented as part of the Pan African Literacy for All Conference in Nigeria in August 2017. The conference provides a venue for in-depth analysis and discussion of the gaps in African-centric literacy and educational research – a discussion from which a plan will emerge identifying research priorities for CODE, and others, to support.

Reading Ethiopia

The collaborative initiative between the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE), CODE Ethiopia, UBC and UPEI responds to the need for improved training of staff in community libraries in rural Ethiopia. The program is designed to address the larger goals of CODE Ethiopia in building a reading culture and supporting literacy and learning for social and economic change. My role has primarily been designer and instructor of training for CODE Ethiopia community librarians. The program builds on existing training in library management, and focuses on the role of the library in supporting literacy and learning for all members of the community. The first phase of training took place in Ethiopia over a period of 18 months. An open source online resource for all the materials and lessons of this training will be available in fall 2014 which can be used either by individuals or groups of librarians.

Ethiopia-Canada Educational Research Collaborative

This project was initiated in response to requests from Ethiopian faculty for support in developing a contemporary research culture in their institutions. We are developing a set of joint research projects between faculty and students at Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar Universities in Ethiopia, and faculty and students in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada. We are attempting to explore broadly the same research questions in both the Ethiopian and Canadian contexts, thus enabling a reciprocal exchange about research methodologies and outcomes across the national contexts. Our initial projects will have two foci: changes in the lives of youth produced by new digital media; and linguistic diversity in local school communities. In both, we are interested in implications of the findings for students’ learning in and out of school.

Implications for Literacy Education of Online Video Sharing Applications (co-investigator with Dr. Teresa Dobson)

This project examines the nature of the content and literacy practices on YouTube to identify implications of online video sharing sites for literacy and literary education.

Confrontations and Negotiations: Research Partnerships between Academics and Donor-based Organizations (co-investigator with Dr. Jon Shapiro)

This project reviews the scope and nature of literacy research undertaken in foundations and donor-based organizations, and the literature that critiques the methodologies used and ideological premises of such research. The project aims to start a conversation in the literacy research community to develop guidelines for participation in non-academic research cultures.

Towards a Pedagogy for Using the Internet to Learn.

This project works with teachers to develop teaching approaches and learning activities that support the particular challenges of learning the academic disciplines with online resources.

Adolescents’ Internet Literacy. Humanities and Social Sciences, UBC

This project observes adolescents’ use of the Internet as do they homework, and examines parent, student and teacher views on internet use for learning the academic disciplines.

Teaching Information Literacy in the Middle Grades

SSHRC Standard Grant This project examines aspects of classroom and school library programs that help students effectively locate, evaluate, organize and communicate information.



Asselin, M. & Doiron, R. (2016). Ethical issues facing researchers working with children in international contexts.  Journal of Childhood Studies, 41 (1), 24 – 35.

Doiron, R. & Asselin, M. (2015). Ethical dilemmas for researchers working in international contexts.  School Libraries Worldwide, 21 (2), 1 -10. 

Asselin, M., Doiron, R., & Abebe, A. (2015). Applying an ecological model for library development to build literacy in rural Ethiopia.  In B. A. Schwartz & D. Oberg (Eds). Global Action on School Library Guidelines (pp. 133 – 153). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GMBH. 

Johannnes- Stranger, E., Asselin, M. & Doiron, R. (2015). New perspectives on community library development in Africa. New Library World, 11 (1/2), 79 – 93.

Asselin, M. & Doiron, R. (2014). Bringing books and literacy to children in remote communities. Paper presented at the International Association of Childhood Education Summit on Global Childhood, April 14 – 16, 2014, Vancouver BC.

Asselin, M. & Doiron, R. (2013).  Linking literacy and libraries in global communities.  London, UK: Ashgate.: www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409452843

Asselin, M., Shapiro, J. & Doiron, R. (2013). Ethical issues and responsibilities in conducting literacy research with children in the developing world. Paper presented at the European Reading Conference, Jonkoping, Sweden, July 6 – 10, 2013.

Asselin, M. (2013). Successes and challenges for publishing and distributing mother tongue materials in Ethiopia. Paper presented at the International Association for Improvement of Mother Tongue Teaching. Paris, June 10 – 13, 2013.

Asselin, M. (2012). Books building communities. Interview at UBC Faculty of Education, Down the Hall. Available from:http://downthehall.libsyn.com/webpage/2012/11 (This interview explains the context and goals of CODE Ethiopia’s community library development and local language book publication initiative which aims to improve literacy in rural communities.)

Asselin, M., Doiron, R. & Kassam, Y. (2012). Evaluation of CODE Ethiopia Partnership Programs 2007 – 2012.  Available at:http://www.codecan.org/sites/default/files/CODE-Ethiopia%20Assessment%20April%2018%202012.pdf

Asselin, M., Doiron, R. & Shapiro, J. (2011). Challenges and Responsibilities Facing Canadian Literacy Researchers Working in Global Communities. Language and Literacy: A Canadian Educational E-journal, 13 (2), 80 – 97.

Asselin, M., Teferra, T., Williams, G., Pletz, J., Filipenko, M. & Dobson, T. (2011). Young Children’s Perceptions of Everyday Literacies: A Collaborative Research Project in Ethiopia and Canada. Paper presented at the 7th Pan African Reading Conference, Botswana, July 11 – 14.

Asselin, M. (2011). Internationalism as Leadership in IASL Research: Accomplishments and Directions. School Libraries Worldwide, 17(2), 13 – 24.

Doiron, R., & Asselin, M. (2011). Confronting the ‘crisis of significance’ in 21st century school libraries. A paper presented at the International Association for School Librarianship conference, August 8, 2011, Kingston, Jamaica.

Filipenko, M., Lee, E. & Asselin, M. (2011). Sharing the chalk: Teaching reading strategies proficient readers use worldwide. Workshop presented at the 7th Pan African Reading Conference, Botswana, July 11 – 14.

Dobson, T., Asselin, M. & Miller, J. (2011). The Ethiopia-Canada Education Research Collaborative: Possibilities for and Barriers to Digital Technology Implementation. Proceedings of the 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, INTED 2011, Valencia, Spain, March 7 – 11, 2011.

Doiron, R. & Asselin, M. (2011). Exploring a New Learning Landscape in Tertiary Education. New Library World 112: 5/6.

Doiron, R. & Asselin, M. (August 2010). Building a Culture for Reading in a Multicultural, Multilingual World. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International Federation for Library Associations, Gotenburg, Sweden, August 7 – 11.http://www.ifla.org/files/hq/papers/ifla76/133-dioron-en.pdf

Asselin, M. & Moayeri, M. (2011). The Participatory Classroom: Web 2.0 in the Classroom. Literacy Learning: The Middle Years. 19, (2), i – vii.

Asselin, M., Dobson, T., Meyers, E., Teixiera, C. & Ham, L. (2011). Learning from YouTube: An Analysis of Information Literacy in User Discourse. Proceedings from iConference 2011, February 8-11, 2011, Seattle, WA, USA.

Asselin, M. & Moayeri, M. (2010). Examining adolescent internet literacy practices: An exploration of research methods. Journal of Theory and Practice in Education, 6(2), 191-210.

Asselin, M. & Moayeri, M. (2010). New tools for new literacies research: An exploration of usability testing software. International Journal of Research and Method in Education33(1), 41-53.

Asselin, M.& Doiron, R. (2009). Libraries for education in Ethiopia. Reading Today, 26(5), 22.

Asselin, M.& Doiron, R. (2009). Supporting literacy in Ethiopia through libraries and reading rooms. Bookmark, 49 (III), 1 – 4.

Asselin, M. & Doiron, R. (2009). Reconnaissance and reflection: Foundations for collaborative international research with Canada and Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 2009 Research Forum of the International Association of School Librarianship, Padua, Italy.

Asselin, M. & Doiron, R. (Eds.) (2008). School Libraries Worldwide, 14(2). Editors of themed issue, New learners, new literacies, new libraries.

Asselin, M. & Moayeri, M. (2008). Toward a pedagogy for using the internet to learn: An examination of adolescent internet literacies and teachers, parents, and students’ recommendations for educational change. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship.

Asselin, M. & Lam, V. (2007). Learning to learn: An examination of instructional support during a grade 9 research project . Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education (4), 1-18.

Asselin, M., Early, M., & Filipenko, M. (2006). Accountability, assessment, and the literacies of information and communication technologies.Canadian Journal of Education, 29(1), 670-689.

Doiron, R. & Asselin, M. (Eds.) (2005). Literacy, libraries and learning: Using books and online resources to promote reading, writing and research. Toronto, ON: Pembroke.

Asselin, M. (2005). Redefining the school library’s role in literacy teaching and learning. In R. Doiron & M. Asselin (Eds.), Literacy, libraries and learning: Using books and online resources to promote reading, writing and research (pp. 9-19). Toronto, ON: Pembroke.

Henri, J. & Asselin, M. (Eds.) (2005). Leadership issues in the Information literate school community. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Asselin, M. (2005). Preparing preservice teachers as members of the information literate community. In J. Henri & M. Asselin (Eds.),Leadership issues in the information literate school community (pp. 187-202). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Asselin, M. (2005). Teaching information literacy in the information age: An examination of trends in the middle grades. School Libraries Worldwide, 11(1), 17-36.

Asselin, Marlene, Dreher, M J. (2004). New literacies for the new information age: Conceptions, instruction, and teacher preparation.National Reading Conference Yearbook (pp. 115-129) National Reading Conference.

Asselin, M., Branch, J., & Oberg, D. (Eds.) (2003). Achieving information literacy: Standards for school library programs in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Library Association.

Asselin, M.& Doiron, R. (2003). An analysis of the inclusion of school library programs and services in the preparation of preservice teachers in Canadian universities. Behavioral and Socal Sciences Librarian, 22(1), 19-33.

Scott, J.A. Jamieson, D., & Asselin, M. (2003). Casting a broad net to catch vocabulary instruction. Elementary School Journal, 103(3), 269-286.

Asselin, M. & Lee, E. (2002). I wish someone had taught me: Information literacy in a teacher education program. Teacher Librarian, 30(2), 10 – 17.

Asselin, M. & Froese, V. (2002). Reading in Canada with a focus on British Columbia. In C. Papanastasiou & V. Froese (Eds.), Reading literacy: History, curriculum, and research. Cypress, Greece: Cypress University Press, 11-41.

Asselin, M. (2001). Grade 6 research process instruction: An observation study. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, XLVII(2), 123-140.

Asselin, M. (2000). Poised for change: Effects of a teacher education project on preservice teachers’ knowledge of the school library program and role of the teacher-librarian. School Libraries Worldwide, 6(2), 72-87.

Asselin, M. (2000). Confronting assumptions: Preservice teachers’ beliefs about reading and literature. Reading Psychology, 21(1), 31-57.

Asselin, M. (1999). Independent reading in the classroom: Starting points for partnerships with teachers. School Libraries in Canada, 18(3), 5-9.

Asselin, M. (1999). Planting the seeds of instructional partnerships: An exploratory study of preservice teachers learning to teach with teacher-librarians. In J. Henri & K. Bonanno (Eds.), The information literate school community. Wagga Wagga, Australia: Centre for Information Studies, 157-172..