Web Literacy For Student Fact-Checkers Wins MERLOT 2018 Classics Award

Just a short note to say thank you to MERLOT’s review committee on ICT Literacy which awarded Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers the 2018 MERLOT Classics award in that category this past Thursday.


It’s one of eight MERLOT Classics awards given out this year, with other awards in the areas of Biology, Teacher Education, Psychology, Sociology — and three other subjects I forget. (I’l update this when the awards are published to the MERLOT web site). Works are reviewed by a panel of experts in the subject, who determine what new OER resource in the subject deserves recognition.

It’s been a wild journey with this book. As I was telling faculty at SUNY Oneonta a few weeks ago, the book started out as a Google doc I worked on over Christmas 2016 (with Jon Udell and Catherine Yang providing some editing help). It was originally meant to be a simple handout for the courses I was building but it kept growing, and by the end of Christmas break it was clear it had become a short textbook, and I shifted the name on January 1st to a broader target:



put it up on Hugh McGuire’s excellent Pressbooks site, which allows the generation of PDFs and ePubs from the book, as well as providing a book-like WordPress theme.


The LibGuides community picked it up, and started listing as a top resource on their information literacy pages:


Which led to weird moments, like finding out it was one of the suggested resources of Oxford’s Bodliean library (as well as Princeton’s, Tufts, etc.)


A host of other people promoted it as well, making up their own infographics, and even applying it across other domains.

I still get emails every week from people who just want to express gratitude for the text. Saying that it’s been a life saver, that it’s changed their teaching, or that it finally said what they had been feeling all these years but just couldn’t verbalize. High school teachers, librarians, college professors, parents. Taking the time to write a thank you note and asking for nothing.

It’s weird, because I’ve spent so much my life building software, writing blog posts, and being a generally digitally minded person, swimming in overtly digital forms. Yet my biggest impact on the world so far may end up being this little course-guide-turned-book.  There’s probably some deeper thinking to be done on that point later, but for the moment I’m going to push hard against the “No one’s life was ever changed by a textbook” rhetoric I sometimes hear, because I get emails from people every week who say just the opposite. And it’s probably time to start listening to that. 🙂

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