Keepin It Real: Tips and Strategies for Evaluating Fake News

Submitted by Elisa Acosta on January 25th, 2017
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Short Description: 

In an effort to provide students with an open space to learn about and discuss recent national concerns over “fake news,” the library offered four sessions of the workshop “Keepin’ It Real: Tips & Strategies for Evaluating Fake News” during a campus-wide Inauguration Teach-In on Friday, January 20, 2017. During this session, students had the opportunity to talk about how misleading news sources (encompassing misinformation, disinformation, click-bait, propaganda, etc.) have affected their views on civil discourse, specifically relating to the recent U.S. presidential election. By the end of the session, we hope students became more confident in their ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability of news reports, whether they come via print, television or the internet.

Lesson Plan Downloaded 2479 times612.04 KB
Activity #1Downloaded 2302 times143.59 KB
PowerPointDownloaded 1976 times496.98 KB
Handout / Activity #2Downloaded 2189 times185.37 KB
Handout / Activity #2Downloaded 1594 times126.82 KB
Activity #2 Answer Key / Additional Instructions Downloaded 2262 times15.7 KB
Learning Outcomes: 

• Students will practice techniques for evaluating the credibility of news stories.
• Students will reflect upon their reactions to stories and practice identifying and distinguishing between their emotional responses and logical analyses of the items.
• Students will learn the value of information and sources from multiple perspectives.
• Students will become credible, trustworthy publishers in the digital age (sharing news).

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

The campus-wide breakout sessions were from 11:00-12:30pm (1.5 hours). Faculty were encouraged to cancel classes 8am-12:30pm so that students could watch the Inauguration together and attend one breakout session.

• Inauguration Day Teach-in website:

The library decided to offer four 45-minute break out sessions. Approximately 90 students attended. Several staff members and faculty attended also.

• Library Breakout Session Description:

Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 

Activity #2 could be spun off into a reflective assignment for students to critically examine their own news media consumption and information behaviors.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

We had too much material for a 45-minute workshop. Perhaps 60-90 minutes is more realistic. Set aside more time for student discussion. As time marches on, choose a more timely "Fake News" story for Activity #1.

Suggested Citation: 
Acosta, Elisa. "Keepin It Real: Tips and Strategies for Evaluating Fake News." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2017.