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Fake News: a workshop for graduate students who teach undergrads

Sample Activities and Approaches

Evaluation in the Classroom

When teaching news evaluation and media literacy, keep the following in mind: 

  • Evaluating sources is not a skill students will be taught in one week or in one course - you're laying the foundation for deeper skills that will be honed over time. 
  • Evaluating news cannot be boiled down to a checklist - it requires critical thinking and research for each and every news piece encountered.  
  • You're teaching students the skills they need to evaluate viewpoints no matter where they find them - e.g. from The Wall Street Journal or from Twitter.
  • You will need to revisit the teaching of these skills throughout the semester. 
  • Evaluating sources may be intuitive to you - that is not always the case for early researchers.

Right / Left / Center: It's worthwhile to take a look at a topic from different sides as an assignment or in class activity. Our only warning is to resist assigning a political or ideological perspective to journalism unless it's explicitly stated by the publication. Doing so undermines journalism's aim to be objective and to present facts to the public. It also encourages students to make claims about publications without the benefit of discussing the evidence for those claims.

Use this publication list as a starting point for discussing publications that proclaim a political perspective.

You can also introduce students to existing features in the New York Times like Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss and Room for Debate, a feature that has experts from multiple perspectives tackling a hot topic.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context is a database we subscribe to that allows you to search for viewpoint essays on a topic.

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