Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy

Taught By Multiple Professors
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed It Presenters gave some actionable steps to identify and fight misinformation. I would like to see more fact-checking resources reviewed & used.
Date published: 2020-11-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Limited Value Disappointing. Much motivational speaker psycho-babble. Blaming "psychologists" for lack of critical thinking is taking the easy way out. Using the term "people" so freely is close to stereotyping. Several websites are mentioned without applying their own rules for validation. Case studies are weak. The choice of the"Trudeau disdain" photo (which was a staged photo-op), may be mystifying to Americans without the context of Trudeau's pro-China, anti-US rants and the conflict of interest that is declared, briefly, in a different lecture. (I agree taking a still from a video is a cheap shot, but as I write this, Trudeau is refusing to meet Trump and Mexico's AMLO about USMCA.) The Emma Gonzalez fake photo is a good choice and analysis of more such photos is needed. The discussion on dating and location of source documents is useful but not fully explored. Use of Google for photo search is worrisome in view of earlier comments about search engine bias. The written checklists are too verbose and vague for quick evaluation, not rigourous enough for detailed analysis. Of some value, but particularly as an exercise of "spot the misinformation in this course".
Date published: 2020-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Information very much needed these days I thought I was fairly well equipped to spot misinformation and outright lies but this course has given me valuable tools to dig deeper. Whether it's photos, articles on the web, or television programs, I can do my own fact checking in a snap. I had no idea these tools even existed! Thanks to the ladies for clear explanations, for the computer challenged as well as the fairly experts. I'm particularly grateful for the reference to DuckDuckGo, because I was aware that google's algorithm returned results that google "thought" would please me, but I never knew what to do about that except to page through endless results. The difference is startling. I've even shared a few of these tricks with my friends on Facebook… hope you don't mind! Short but sweet! I'm loving it!
Date published: 2020-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Important subject and well covered! I loved this course--I've been recommending it to friends and family. Even though I am a librarian, I learned new tips and tricks for verifying information on the internet. Also, the course is helpful in examining my own biases and how I feel about misinformation I receive. So timely!
Date published: 2020-05-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good as far as it went This course is a well-presented thoughtful review of techniques and resources to allow news consumers to avoid accepting internet-acquired news at face value. The presentations could have benefited from editing to reduce unnecessary repetition. The course could have been more valuable if the presenters had also included examples from the traditional newspapers and television news networks that are equally prone to the same techniques used by internet misinformation sites, such as hyperbole, alarmist headlines and teasers, one-sided reporting, and the long-standing practice of burying corrections. The most valuable elements of the course were the worksheets for evaluating articles and science/health news, although I expect that the large majority of Great Courses viewers likely already use similar processes almost out of habit. As a retired physician, I was pleased to find the strongest presentation was the segment on Health and Science Reporting. The Testing Scientific Validity list of items is a good outline to use when viewing or reading such news reports, as typical newspaper and TV reporting commonly falls into these errors. I will recommend this course to friends who forward dubious items to my inbox. It probably does not contain much new information for the consumer who is already life-long learner. I consider this course average for the Great Courses, but it would be a 5-star presentation on network TV.
Date published: 2020-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Informative The course was very informative. It provided quite a few resources available to aid in recognizing and investigating misinformation. It also provided some examples of ways to kick in rational thought when presented with tantalizingly provocative items in the media. I recommend this to anyone who wants to learn why people circulate misinformation and how to spot it.
Date published: 2020-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good info I learned that there is a LOT of bad in fo out there
Date published: 2020-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A vital, timely course with actionable solutions I lead student study groups at my local community college. For four years I have helped students to develop tactics for discerning truth from disinformation in relation to news about science, health, and science agencies. The same channels and methods used by snake oil salesmen to fleece the vulnerable have now been employed by those who wish harm to the democratic process both here and abroad. This course compiles and condenses current materials implemented by IREX in its overseas fight to empower educators and citizens against propaganda and other disinformation campaigns. It is presented in a non-partisan way, so as to not scare off those who most need this course. Get it, use it and share it. I have already upgraded some of my own tactics using the suggestions provided, and intend to implement some of the checklists provided in the course book in the study groups I lead. THANK YOU GREAT COURSES, THANK YOU IREX!
Date published: 2020-01-19
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Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy
Course Trailer
The Misinformation Threat
1: The Misinformation Threat

Democracy depends on a well-informed, discerning electorate, equipped to judge the validity of the information available. In this first lecture, Ms. Susman-Peña and her esteemed colleagues at IREX delve into the concepts of misinformation and disinformation, and explain the critical ways in which falsehoods, slander, prejudice, and bad ideas can threaten American democracy.

23 min
The Evolution of Media and Misinformation
2: The Evolution of Media and Misinformation

Options for news sources have expanded exponentially in the digital age. Content is at our fingertips from traditional news sources, but anyone can now be a publisher of information on the internet, and computer algorithms are influencing what you see every day. How do we sort the legitimate news from false, misleading, or opinion content? Travel with your instructors through the history of communication technology as you learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

27 min
Misinformation and the Brain
3: Misinformation and the Brain

Humans often fail to critically evaluate the world around us. Take a close look at the machinations of misinformation, and how it can be used in conjunction with our natural cognitive biases to lead us astray. Learn about the role of reality distortion, the “Barnum effect,” selective recall, and confirmation bias in misinformation, and how techniques like “Label to Disable” and “Care before You Share” can help.

24 min
Seeing Through Visual Misinformation
4: Seeing Through Visual Misinformation

Visual images have been selected, edited, reframed—even manipulated—before they reach us, often in ways designed to elicit an emotional response. Explore the impact of reuse and mislabeling, photo selection effect, and deliberate alteration or forgery to affect how we see and feel about an image. Then, employ Label to Disable to diffuse the threat of visual misinformation.

22 min
Countering Fakes and Stereotypes in Media
5: Countering Fakes and Stereotypes in Media

How do fake information and stereotypes combine to produce an especially damaging type of misinformation? Fake information, including fake social media accounts, fake chat messages, and fake reviews, can infiltrate our electronic lives. See how stereotypes can magnify the damage done by fake information, and consider the difficult questions presented by the human tendency toward bias.

28 min
Journalistic Verification Skills
6: Journalistic Verification Skills

Your ability to differentiate between fact and opinion and to judge the quality of media content is vital to a functional democracy. You do not have to go it alone. Learn how the professionals test and verify information, as well as what websites, plug-ins, and tactics can help you determine journalistic integrity and accuracy of information.

27 min
Assessing Science and Health News
7: Assessing Science and Health News

How can we make good decisions about important health and science issues if we cannot trust the news we get about them? Scientific knowledge, by its very nature, is always changing, but using some simple methods described in this segment, you can ascertain the validity of health and science information.

26 min
Technology, Misinformation, and the Future
8: Technology, Misinformation, and the Future

The rise of new technology has led to a simultaneous, exponential increase in misinformation—locally, nationally, and even internationally. Learn how artificial intelligence and augmented reality programs are being used to spread misinformation, and how media literacy, Label to Disable, and Care before You Share can be used to combat its spread.

28 min
Tara Susman-Peña

My goal is to help people of all ages develop healthy habits for engaging with information, online and offline. 


Yale University

About Tara Susman-Peña

Also By This Professor

Mehri Druckman

We work through libraries to train citizens on media literacy skills because people go there already for information and librarians are trusted curators of information.

About Mehri Druckman

Mehri Druckman is a media literacy and training development expert who combines deep knowledge of anti-propaganda programming, effective media support, community engagement, and the application of technology to improve development outcomes with field-tested training methodologies. In 2015, she designed and managed IREX’s innovative Learn to Discern project, a citizen media literacy initiative that reached more than 15,000 Ukrainians. Learn to Discern has since been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wilson Quarterly, The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda, Project Syndicate, Columbia Journalism Review, and in reports by the Center for European Policy Analysis and the Legatum Institute.
A skilled facilitator and trainer accustomed to operating in rapidly changing political and social environments, Ms. Druckman is a leader in IREX’s global efforts to build resilience against misinformation and disinformation. She is also a leader in IREX’s effort to apply global information, communications technology, and new media toward individual and organizational capacity building, community development, public access to information, and citizen engagement.

Also By This Professor

Nina Oduro

My hope is to explain why misinformation has such a powerful influence on the brain, equip people with valuable research tools to trace sources, and deepen understanding of misinformation’s ever-changing nature.

About Nina Oduro

Nina Oduro develops and facilitates training for young leaders, educators, and community organizers. She is currently a lead trainer for IREX’s Learn to Discern U.S. initiative and supports curriculum design and delivery alongside IREX’s partners. Ms. Oduro developed IREX’s first comprehensive training guide, drawing on 50 years of the organization’s experience with training as well as industry best practices. Using the guide to support training-skills development throughout IREX, she built a cadre of expert trainers around the world. She has provided technical training support for various programs.
Ms. Oduro began her career in youth leadership development and training at Columbia University; the Posse Foundation; and the United States Embassy in Accra, Ghana, where she advised and trained young leaders for academic success and positive individual and community impact. As a leading consultant with Microsoft, she developed and facilitated training for U.S.-based educators in K-12 schools that enabled them to effectively leverage technology to achieve positive learning outcomes.

Also By This Professor