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Real vs. Fake: 21st Century Literacy for Succeeding in College and Beyond

Real vs. Fake – How do you Know?  21st Century Literacy for Succeeding in College and Beyond

Dr. Doug Duncan, Univ. of Colorado

Note: This is a freshman course I’ve taught at the Univ. of Colorado, and I am moving it from the closed Canvas system to here, a little at a time.

The purpose of this class is to give you tools that will help you succeed in college and beyond.  We’ll discuss, practice, and learn study and analysis skills that are valuable throughout life.  The skills you learn will help prevent you from getting fooled either now or in the future.  Along the way we will have fun discussing things that seem believable, but are not true.

We will talk a lot about what good, accurate, honest media look like and how to tell when someone is trying to fool you. Often you will be expected to bring in news or a story you’ve encountered and are not sure if it is true, and to post a link to it on the class website.  We will pick one story for the class to investigate that week. On Fridays everyone will bring in the information they have found, and we will discuss if the story was true.  As a class we will develop criteria that often characterize real vs. fake stories.  Also, each Monday, I will post a question for you to answer on line, on the class website.

The required reading for this class amounts to roughly 30 pages per week. You need to be able to do that, and to tell me if you can’t.

Required Books (2):  1984, by George Orwell.  Available in the bookstore, new or used.  Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen. This is on our class website.  We will read selected chapters.

Grading:  This class is a seminar, which means that we have small group discussions each class. Your grade will be based 10% on participation (discussion) in class, 40% on participation on line, answering questions about the reading, 20% on an article (“paper”) that you write mid-term, in the form of a good article from a newspaper or website, and 30% on a similar article that you write for your final.  The on-line grades are usually one point for each answer. In class I hand out “sticky notes” to those who answer and ask questions (thoughtfully!). You leave me the sticky notes to tally for participation credit. This is not credit for “right answers.” It is credit for thoughtful participation. As long as you did the reading you can participate.  (It’s pretty obvious if you did or didn’t do the reading before class. Also, the on-line participation is based on the reading, and due before we discuss it in class.)

I will drop 3 class participation grades, so you can miss the equivalent of one week during the term.  This allows for family and personal emergencies, and you don’t need permission to be absent, although it is polite to notify me if you know that you’ll be gone.

Please use our class website to get and respond to your weekly assignments and Read the Syllabus to know what is coming. Week-by-week class materials are here:

Week 1: Readings and assignments.

Week 2: Readings and assignments