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Critical Thinking: Conspiracy Theories, Urban Legends, and Moral Panics

If you’re teaching critical thinking and looking for timely and engaging material, why not try a conspiracy theory?

Lateral reading: It's not CRAAP

Crash Course, Check, Please, and Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers teach students to  fact-check the way professionals do by demonstrating lateral reading and open-access tools including reverse image searches, Google Scholar, and Wikipedia.

John Green suggests the following questions in Crash Course:

  1. Who is behind this information (and why are they sharing it)
  2. What is the evidence for their claims (& evidence from reliable source)
  3. What do other sources say about the organization and its claims


Information & Media Literacy Courses

Caulfield, Michael. Check, Please Starter Course. The course includes demos and assignments, and can be adapted to your course needs..

Caulfield, Michael. Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. OER textbook licensed under CC Attribution. You can reuse, remix, etc. the contents for your own course.

CIVIX Teaching Information Literacy Skills in the Digital Age. A project by the Canadian government that offers videos, lessons, activities, and case studies.

The Debunking Handbook (2011). OA textbook.

Green, John. Crash Course on Navigating Digital Information. An entertaining set of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to evaluate sources. Students can practice the techniques.

News Literacy Project. Checkology. Interactive lessons.

News Literacy Project website. In addition to Checkology, NLP also offers one-off lessons and information for educators..