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Making Sense of the News: News Literacy Lessons for Digital Citizens (Coursera)

Never before has the need for News Literacy been more urgent. As news consumers are bombarded with a constant stream of fake news, propaganda, hoaxes, rumors, satire, and advertising — that often masquerade as credible journalism — it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. While the public’s faith in the news media erodes, purveyors of misinformation have helped give rise to troubling cultural trends and alarming political movements.

This six-week course will help learners develop their critical thinking skills to enable them to better identify reliable information in news reports and to become better informed about the world in which we live. The course will discuss the key elements of journalism from the viewpoint of the news audience.

The language of instruction is English, but Chinese and Spanish subtitles will be available. Each week will tackle a challenge unique to the digital era:

Week 1: The power of information is now in the hands of consumers.

Week 2: What makes journalism different from other types of information?

Week 3: Where can we find trustworthy information?

Week 4: How to tell what’s fair and what’s biased.

Week 5: How to apply news literacy concepts in real life.

Week 6: Meeting the challenges of digital citizenship.

Who is this class for: We are thrilled to make this course available for anybody who is interested in learning how to evaluate the quality of news and journalism in order to judge the reliability of information and make informed judgment. It is an online version of the News Literacy curriculum developed at Stony Brook University in New York and the University of Hong Kong. More than 15,000 university students in ten countries have taken it over the last ten years. We have been constantly updating our course material by incorporating the impact of the growing popularity of smart phones and social media services around the world. We hope you enjoy the course!

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