As of yesterday, we’ve released the Check, Please! Starter Course, a three hour online module on source and fact-checking that can be dropped into any course or taken as a self-study experience.
The techniques we teach in the course are the same moves in the popular open textbook Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, but we have relentlessly shaved the lessons down to what is absolutely needed.
It’s called a starter course because what we heard from people using our materials is this — students are OK going through some general prompts and examples in their course, no matter what the course is, but they need to see pretty quickly how this material applies to the specific course it is embedded in.
So our starter course is meant to be a quick induction into the basics of the four moves — Stop, Investigate the source, Find trusted coverage, and Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context (acronym: SIFT). Our plan is to work with other faculty to build add-on modules that support various types of courses. Students will get through the first week of general instruction, but by the second week they will be practicing these while looking at climate change, the sociology of racism, writing and research methods, journalism, science communication. The modules will follow the same rhythm that we’ve found works in the general portion — quick fact- and source-checking activities alternated with larger discussions about our current information environment.
If you plan to use it, please check the teacher’s notes linked from the first page. They contain information on ways to create a customized course out of our materials, and an explanation of how to export a plain HTML version that better suits accessibility needs around screen readers as well as provides students with a downloadable guide.