Fake News and Media Literacy: Lessons and Criteria to Use in Class

Help with research

How to Escape Your Political Bubble For a Clearer View (link)
Amanda Hess | New York Times
-recommended by Dale Larsen, Marriott Library

Read the New York Times Article

Then try:

PolitEcho -Chrome browser download to analyze your news feed

PBS NewsHour, "Do You Live in a Bubble?" Quick Quiz


Escape Your Bubble, Chrome browser download that helps even out the content of your facebook feed (you get to customize at the outset). (Note: Dale has tried this -it works and provides compelling insight!)


-More resources in the article, but the ones listed above would be a good conversation starter for a flipped classroom scenario (news feeds) or an in class discussion (quick quiz).



PADRE: Find the Worst Thing Possible
Information Literacy Criteria Active Learning Class Exercise
-Dale Larsen, Marriott Library


Sometimes finding the most scholarly source is a tad dry as an exercise -this active-learning exercise pits teams of classmates against each other in a race towards the bottom!

  1. Discuss the PADRE criteria* (or other criteria will work too) and what each moment means (examples here)
  2. Break the students into groups of 3 to 4 members per team
  3. Students are instructed to use their laptops or lab computers to:
    1. find anything related to the topic of (climate change, fake news, etc. -it is good to have them all on the same topic, and the more divisive the topic, the better)
    2. Make sure that what they find fails as many of the PADRE criteria as possible
    3. Give students about 5ish minutes to 'research'.  (note: sometimes teams miss the point and go straight to satire sites like The Onion. It is worthwhile stating that only sites that appear to take themselves seriously will be allowed).
    4. Have students e-mail their team entries into the instructor
  4. Review results live on screen (this is a bit of a nail biter for some topics -but usually students haven't sent anything  off topic -I wouldn't try this in a high school class, though.)
    1. It is helpful to have a whiteboard with a grid of teams and each criteria and go through each entry on screen in front of class while inviting qualitative feedback from the team and non-team members.


Outcomes -it is a fun icebreaker to get students to know each other, but also a great way to start the discussion of half-baked research and why we aspire to greater research and communication standards.


*PADRE basics (much more at Dale's PADRE development site here)

The basic premise of PADRE is that the burden of responsibility for any information consumption falls squarely on the shoulders of the consumer.  But these theoretical notions are burdensome by themselves, so the main exercise is to introduce an information filter;

What's the Purpose (to inform, to persuade, to sell?)

Who is the Authority (long experienced, well schooled, anonymous?)

What is the Date (and is that relevant?)

Who is the Editor (who does the author represent or speak on behalf of? The American Medical Association? No one?)

Relevance -all of these feed into the 'Why are you seeking information?'  When do you reach the idea that what you've got is good enough?


Recommended Resources

How Journalists Verify Online Information
Criteria Sheet from Media Literacy Council
-recommended by Mark England, Marriott Library

Fake or Real? How to Self-Check The News And Get The Facts
Criteria & Guidelines from National Public Radio
-recommended by Dr. Natasha Seegert, Department of Communication

A standby in library information literacy teaching for a generation -with the added bonus that it is fun to say in front of a class
-recommended by Daureen Nesdil, Marriott Library

Evaluating information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning
Stanford study examining college student's ability to analyze online resources. Recommendations and future study are also excellent.

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Dale Larsen

I love to help with your research: from just seeing the assignment, to wrapping up with citation management -drop me a line or come by 1726C on the first floor of the Marriott Library

Send me an e-mail -I'd love to hear from you!
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