Why do we use active learning? It puts the thinking and work back on the students. They are more involved in the discussion. Often use a mixture of humorous and serious examples. Types covered in the sessions - discussion, group work, game based learning, think pair share
The term fake news is used to cover anything that people don’t agree with, not just false news. One of the biggest offenders is President Trump. Why is the term so popular? Since January 2017, Trump has tweeted about Fake News or the Fake News media 417 times http://www.trumptwitterarchive.com/archive/fake%20news%20%7C%7C%20fakenews%20%7C%7C%20fake%20media/ttff/1-19-2017_
It is important to distinguish between fake or false news and just poorly written or biased sources. Fake news is often used to encapsulate all these terms, students need to understand the difference if they hope to successfully evaluate sources.
We often start with the differences between opinion and facts. Also noting that it is okay to be wrong. An example for discussion at this point is to bring up when we point out if someone is wrong on Facebook or other social media, do we say something or just ignore it?
Real or fake? How easy is it to create a headline that grabs us through emotions? Clickbait creation as group work.
Health stock photos are a great starting point for images
Photoshopped pepperoni that grows on trees and the real image of a globfish
Bad vs good photoshop for building a story
Good place to look for more current debunked stories is factceck.org/fakenews
Not everyone likes the CRAAP test. Mostly because it can seem too time consuming for students, but we like to use it because it highlights that we are weeding out the crap.
If you want to check the url for real or satire information, you can also use https://realorsatire.com/
By Barry Mangham [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Fake news for the masses: evaluating news sources through active learning - Long & Hicks
Fake News for
Evaluating news sources
through active learning
Jessie Long and Jennifer Hicks
Miami University Middletown
How do we present fake news?
How can we help students learn to
identify and fight fake news?
Identifying the True, the Fake,
the Bad, the Biased
Fake News - refers to false information or propaganda published under the guise of being authentic
Bad News - refers to poorly reported news, which can be true but does not show the correct support to
Media Bias - information that is unfair, unbalanced or incomplete in its discussion of an issue
Editorial Perspective - Every reporter, editor or publisher has a point of view
Satire - the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
Clickbait - a sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow
a link to an article on another Web page
What Makes a News Story Fake?
1. It can’t be verified
A fake news article may or may not have links in it tracing its sources; if it does, these links may not lead to
articles outside of the site’s domain or may not contain information pertinent to the article topic.
2. Fake news appeals to emotion
Fake news plays on your feelings – it makes you angry or happy or scared. This is to ensure you won’t do
anything as pesky as fact-checking.
3. Authors usually aren’t experts
Most authors are not even journalists, but paid trolls.
4. It can’t be found anywhere else
If you look up the main idea of a fake news article, you might not find any other news outlet (real or not) reporting
on the issue.
5. Fake news comes from fake sites
Did your article come from mercola.com? Realnewsrightnow.com? These and a host of other URLs are fake
How Does Fake News Spread?
Online, especially with Social Media - Sharing of lies, half-truths, omissions, and out of
On Twitter, fact checks of misinformation get about four times fewer shares than the
original falsehood. (Politiscope)
● Eric Tucker took photos of large groups of buses in Austin, TX
● Tweeted buses were related to anti-Trump protesters, an unverified statement
● Shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook
● Maheshwari, S. (2016, Nov. 12). How fake news goes viral. The New York Times.
Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/media/how-
Why Does Fake News Spread?
● Example: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio
● Story shared online by 6 million, earned thousands of dollars in Web advertising revenue
● Scott, S. ( 2017, Jan. 1). From headline to photograph, a fake news masterpiece. NYT.com
Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/fake-news-hillary-clinton-
● Example: Pizzagate
● Claimed that John Podesta's leaked emails contained hidden messages referring to human
trafficking connected to multiple U.S. restaurants and members of the Democratic Party
● Man shows up at pizza restaurant with weapons to help save the children
● Robb, A. (2017, Nov. 16). Anatomy of a fake news scandal. RollingStone.com. Retrieved from
Why Does Fake News Spread?
● Example: GoFundMe scam
● Homeless military veteran’s random act of kindness and a New Jersey couple
intent on helping him get back on his feet during the holidays
● Inspired people to donate more than $400,000 in an online fundraiser that
● Campaign was found to be a lie
● The three were each charged with second-degree conspiracy and theft by
● Stableford, D. (2018, Nov. 15). New Jersey couple and homeless man whose
feel-good story went viral charged with GoFundMe scam. Yahoo.com.
Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/news/new-jersey-couple-homeless-
Photoshopped or Reused Images
11 Viral Photos That Were NOT Hurricane Sandy
Fabricated or reused images continued
"This was not
said. "This was taken
10 years ago during
Hurricane Ike. On
September 13, 2008."
Hurricane Florence: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/18/politics/anderson-
Images from https://www.thefakenewsgenerator.com
Social Media Sharing
Scenario: Election Results
Your Uncle Bob sends you a link on Facebook to this Tweet
Take a few minutes to describe your initial (and honest) reactions.
1. Emotions – How does this story make you feel?
2. Values –How does this information fit in with your value system? How are you being
influenced by your own values and beliefs? How does this story fit in with Uncle Bob’s values?
3. Critical thinking – How does this new information compare to your existing knowledge
about the topic? How would you evaluate this information? Please describe the steps you would take to
fact check this tweet.
4. Reflection – Why do you think Uncle Bob shared this? How might you respond and why?
Video Example - Flat Earth theory
● Research suggests that YouTube is playing a significant
role in convincing some people that the Earth is flat
● YouTube’s algorithms to guide people to topics they
might be interested in made it easy to "end up down the
rabbit hole" of misinformation
● Viewers went from criticising videos to being won over
by the arguments being advanced
● "The only tool we have to battle misinformation is to try
and overwhelm it with better information," said Prof
BBC.com - https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47279253
● Once we have formed a view, we embrace information that confirms that
view while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it.
● Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances
objectively. We pick out those bits of data that make us feel good because
they confirm our prejudices.
● The same part of the brain that responds to a physical threat responds to an
● We are biologically wired to react to threatening information to our core
beliefs in the same way that we would react to being attacked by a predator.
A game that tests your
news sense using
examples of real and
Spread misinformation via a
setup. Your task is to get as
many followers as you can
while slowly building up fake
credibility as a news site.
The News Hero
News Hero connects as a
FaceBook game. It puts the
player through the experience
of running a publishing
company. The game is
divided into three levels, each
informing the player on how
to distinguish between fact
News Quality, Media Bias,
and Website Analysis
● Where do you find
● What influences
● Where does it fall
on the chart?
● What about other
news sources you
● Can we trust what
● How do we look at
sources and stories
with a more critical
News Story Activity
Who is the author, producer or publisher? What kind of website is it? Look
at the URL for clues. What kind of content is it? (News, Opinion, Satire,
Advertising, Advocacy for a cause) What is the date?
Is it Fake?
Does the content match the headline? Does it seem too good or too
outrageous to be true? Do the images seem altered or mismatched with
the content? Does the story include facts or other evidence? Does the
story name sources for the facts? If so, who are they and why should you
believe them? Does the article/story seem to be selling something?
Is it Biased?
Are there stereotypes? Is there a lack of context? Is there unfair blame
placed on one person, group or cause? Is the language or imagery loaded
or sensational? Does the article include diverse experts or sources?
Does it uphold journalism standards and ethics?
Retrieved from http://abcnews.com.co/obama-executive-order-bans-pledge-of-allegiance-in-
Example Website Activity
The CRAAP Test:
Instructor Feedback, and
IDS 159 - Strength through Cultural Diversity:
Functioning Effectively in a Global Society
● Course assignment connection
○ Learning goal of the assignment: To develop skills to increase awareness and
understanding of multiple perspectives in diversity-related issues
○ Students are required to use a variety of sources that represent a range of perspectives,
including newspapers, websites, articles, and books.
○ Greater amount of time spent on source evaluation, media bias, and the addition of
confirmation bias and backfire effect.
● Multiple sections for instruction
○ 3 in Fall 2018
○ 2 in Spring 2019
Instructor noted an increase in the quality of sources used by students who had
the “Fake News” session compared to students in previous classes. Instructor
also noted that students were able to make clearer distinctions about bias within
their own opinions as well as those that they found online.
ENG 151 - Introduction to Critical Reading
● Course runs one section every Fall and Spring semester
○ 5 sessions since Fall 2017
● Not connected to any one assignment. The objective of the session is to
help students expand their critical thinking skills when looking at online
resources, whether for an assignment or just when browsing social media.
“My students are always quite engaged when Jennifer and Jessica come to
class to talk about "fake news." The authentic examples they provide really draw
my students into the conversation, and they always want to talk about what they
have learned, even into the next class. Fake news is an interactive presentation
that always gets my students ready to look for the "logical fallacies" we cover in
our next course module.”
Other Courses and Feedback
● ACE 310J - Elements of Debate
○ ELC students - 30 to 50 English as a second language students
○ Greater focus on vocabulary and international topics
○ More time was spent on evaluating websites and finding different points of view online
● Library Workshop
○ Open to faculty, staff, students, and the public
○ Aim was to show attendees how to know what sources are worth citing, and which ones are
○ Lower attendance, however it led to email requests for sessions, including the IDS course.
○ It also prompted th addition of Fake News to our offered information literacy sessions.
● Avoiding Bad or Fake News, Miami University LibGuide -
● The Truthful, the Fake, the Bad, or the Biased, IL presentation -
○ CRAAP Test
○ Media Bias Grid
○ Evaluating News
○ Facilitator Agenda
Public Services Librarian
Circulation, Reserves, & ILL
Miami University Middletown