Written Assignment #3: How to read the general media
Note: there are four parts in this assignment. Each part starts with a set of readings and concludes with a writing exercise in which you will create a post on the discussion board (in Blackboard). Hint: before starting at the top, skim through the document all the way to the end; make sure to note what you’ll have to do in each section.
Follow the instructions closely.
a. To appreciate why it’s important for you, a 21st century college student, to work on becoming more digitally literate, read this excerpt from Ventimiglia and Pullman’s (2016) article, “From Written to Digital: The New Literacy.”
b. To further appreciate why it’s important for any 21st century citizen to become more digitally literate, read Silverman and Singer-Vine’s (2016) article, “Most Americans Who See Fake News Believe It, New Survey Says.”
c. Read Wineburg’s (2016) overview of the Stanford Digital Literacy study. d. Test yourself on both the first set of example items and the second set of
example items from the Stanford Digital Literacy study. Make sure you read through all the examples of students’ correct and incorrect answers (and why their answers were correct versus incorrect).
e. Read the following documents, each of which explains several steps for improving digital literacy. Make a list of all the steps. (You should have more than 20 steps on your list.) Although it might feel as though these documents re- mention some of the same steps, overlap and repetition are always helpful for learning, and each document explains some steps that the other articles don’t.
1. Inskeep’s (2016) article, “A Finder’s Guide to Facts” 2. Green’s (2017) article, “The Honest Truth about Fake News … and How
Not to Fall for It“ 3. Davis’s (2016) article, “Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and
Get the Facts“ 4. The International Federation of Librarian Associations’ (no date)
Infographic 5. Facebook’s (no date) list of “Tips to Spot False News“
Part I: Digital Literacy
Go to the Discussion Board, Assignment #3, Part 1 on Blackboard. To make a new post, click on “Create Thread.” In the subject box, put “first initial_last name”, for example, “D_Johnson”. Make a new post of at least 200 words in which you discuss the following:
1. Which three steps for improving digital literacy were you the most familiar with before reading these documents?
2. Which three steps were you the least familiar with before reading these documents?
3. Which three errors that students made in the Stanford Digital Literacy study (illustrated in either the first or the second set of example items, or both) surprised you the least – and why did those five errors surprise you the least?
To understand both writers’ financial motivations to produce false digital information and readers’ psychological tendencies to believe and promote false digital information, read
1. Pogue’s (2017) article, “The Ultimate Cure for the Fake News Epidemic Will Be More Skeptical Readers,”
2. Borel’s (2017) article, “Fact-Checking Won’t Save Us from Fake News,” 3. Engelhaupt (2016) article, “You’ve Probably Been Tricked by Fake
News and Don’t Know It,” 4. BBC Trending’s (2017) article, “The Rise of Left-Wing, Anti-Trump Fake
News,” and 5. the abstract of Bessi and Ferrara’s (2016) empirical study, “Social Bots
Distort the 2016 Presidential Election Online Discussion.”
Go to the Discussion Board, Writing Assignment #3, Part 2. Make a new post in which you
6. list, from the articles you read, the three exact quotes that intrigued you the most about WRITERS’ financial motivation to produce false digital information;
7. list, from the articles you read, the three exact quotes that intrigued you the most about READERS’ psychological tendencies to believe and promote false digital information; and
Part II: Fake News
8. discuss, in at least 100 words, whether any of the Cognitive Biases you learned in Unit 1 play a role in these psychological tendencies. If so, which ones? (I didn’t crib the first assignment she’s created – would take time but maybe worth it. If not, then delete this).
Read about Snopes.com:
1. Read Wikipedia’s (no date) entry on Snopes.com. 2. Read Eddy’s (2014) article, “Meet the Mysterious Creator of Rumor-
Debunking Site, Snopes.com.” 3. Skim-read through FactCheck.org’s (no date) fact-checking of rumors
about the creators of Snopes.com.
b. From Snopes.com, find out the truth about five non-political Internet rumors or urban legends that are interesting to you.
1. By “non-political” we mean NOT “pertaining to the government or the public affairs of a country,” meaning not about government, government officials, such as Congress members,or candidates (past or present) for political office.
2. Some examples of non-political Internet rumors or urban legends are the following: If you go swimming less than an hour after you eat, will you get stomach cramps? If you swallow chewing gum, will it take seven years to digest? Does our hair grow back darker or thicker after we shave it? Do we use only ten percent of our brains? Did Coca-Cola used to contain cocaine? If you cross your eyes for too long, will they stay that way?
c. Become familiar with this list of satire websites. 1. Watch CNN’s Anderson Cooper admit to having been tricked by a satire
website. ▪ You can adjust the speed of a YouTube video by following these
directions. ▪ You can access a transcript of a YouTube video by following these
directions. 2. Find two non-political instances, which are of interest to you, of other
persons (besides Anderson Cooper) who have been tricked by a satire website.
Go to Discussion Board, Writing Assignment #3, Part 3. Make a new post of at least 200 words in which you do the following:
Part III: Rumors, Urban Legends and Satire
3. Describe the three non-political Internet rumors or urban legends that you found out about on Snopes.com.
▪ Provide a link for each Internet rumor or urban legend (using the technique you learned from the Course How To so that your link will show up as actual text, rather than just a URL or the word, Link).
▪ Explain why these Internet rumors or urban legends were of interest to you.
4. Describe the two non-political instances of persons (besides Anderson Cooper) who have been tricked by a satire website.
▪ Provide a link for each tricked-by-a-satire-website instances (using the technique you learned from the Course How To so that your link will show up as actual text, rather than just a URL or the word, Link).
▪ Explain why these tricked-by-a-satire-website instances were of interest to you.
a. To begin thinking about how techniques based on psychological science can override (in readers’ minds) false digital information or even protect against it taking hold:
1. Read Pasek’s (2017) article, “What Science Tells Us About How to Combat Fake News.”
2. Read the graphic from Lewandowsky et al.’s (2012) article, “Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing.”
3. Read Walton’s (2017) article, “’Psychological Vaccine’ May Protect Against Fake News, Alternative Facts,” which is about a study conducted at Cambridge University.
4. Read Wood’s (2017) article, “Psychological ‘Vaccine’ Could Help Immunize Against Fake News,” which is about the same study conducted at Cambridge University.
5. Read Bergland’s (2017) article, “Fake News ‘Vaccine’ Inoculates Against ‘Alternative Facts’,” which is again about that study conducted at Cambridge University; the repetition (with variation) is purposeful (as a mechanism for learning); at this point, you should understand the study well.
Go to Discussion Board, Writing Assignment #3, Part 4. Make a new post of at least 200 words in which you propose a way to override (in readers’ minds) false digital information.
Part IV: Fake News and Psychological Science