These students have created a new tool to bring digital media education into classrooms around the world
A student wanted to know why so many nurses were spreading misinformation about vaccines.
Other participants drew parallels to popular crime-fighting myths found in shows like “Criminal Minds.”
But most students who participated in a fact-checking workshop from MediaWise, the nonprofit Poynter Institute’s social-first digital media education initiative, were simply happy to report feeling more knowledgeable. digitally after the hour they spent learning to spot facts from online fiction.
MediaWise and its campus correspondents have been working since 2020 to slow the spread of misinformation online. In 2022, the goal is to train at 100 diverse colleges and universities, and availability now opens for another 25 workshops.
Since 2020, with the support of Meta, this dynamic group of college and graduate students has delivered over 100 free virtual and in-person workshops in college classrooms. They taught over 2,000 of their peers how to be more critical consumers of what they see and share on the internet. Correspondents on the MediaWise campus demonstrate simple techniques for identifying misinformation, finding reliable sources, verifying photos and videos, spotting red flags and more. At the end of each session, trainees are empowered to debunk lies on their favorite social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
“As ‘fact-checking’ becomes more and more part of our common vocabulary, we want educators to have the latest tools to enable students to distinguish fact from fiction online,” said Barbara Allen, Director university programming at Poynter. “The sheer number of requests for this peer-to-peer training makes us think we’ve created something special and valuable in the crowded space of digital media education.”
Instructors from all academic backgrounds have applied to participate in the 2022 program, including those in journalism, mass communications, philosophy, general education and humanities. To meet the demand of the program, this year’s small but mighty team of 11 Campus Correspondents learned the most crucial lessons from their live workshops and produced a masterclass video.
Watch the trailer for the MediaWise Campus Correspondents Masterclass:
“The internet is spiraling out of control,” said correspondent Kobe McCloud, a senior at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. “But tools like our masterclass are there to help people feel empowered to take back control of their online experience.”
In less than 20 minutes, five of the campus correspondents guide viewers through comprehensive exercises that, when practiced consistently, prevent the real consequences of misinformation for generations.
“We are seeing a trend of old propaganda tactics returning and adapting to modern times to deliberately target vulnerable populations using technology and social media. It’s a big deal,” McCloud said. “The internet is being used for various nefarious activities across the seas. People are getting hurt. International relations and globalization as we know it are under threat. Democracies are in danger. misinformation now.”
Each chapter of the masterclass shows how the public can become their own fact-checker and part of the solution to snuffing out misleading claims, conspiracy theories and viral hoaxes online.
“The masterclass is a diverse, transparent and neutral way to educate anyone interested in media literacy or even learning what exactly misinformation and disinformation is,” McCloud said. “If you’re passionate about anything about how we share information, it’s important to know where you ultimately get it from.”
Now anyone who wants to take digital media training can access this educational resource for free. Enter your details here to have the full masterclass sent straight to your inbox today.
Want more fact-checking content from the MediaWise campus correspondents? Follow MediaWise on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Learn more at poynter.org/mediawise.
MediaWise is a social media-focused digital media education initiative of the non-profit Poynter Institute. The program teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to responsibly interact with online content in the age of information overload. The fact-checking company was established in 2018 to empower citizens to find trusted sources and make sense of the vast amount of information at their fingertips. We bring simple yet effective digital media literacy tools to people where they are – whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or TikTok or in any of the five countries where MediaWise operates – and support them at every step to determine what is real and what is not on the Internet. Through MediaWise, everyone can do their part to reduce the spread of misinformation and elevate the truth. Follow MediaWise on social media to learn how to demystify viral claims and be more critical consumers of online information. Explore the programs and be part of the solution at poynter.org/mediawise.