Workshop: Truthometer drafts

Today we are workshopping your drafts with help from the Writing Center, but before we get to it, our tutors will begin by giving us a sense of what the WC can do for you, where it’s located, and how to make an appointment.

The Writing Center!



Workshopping the Truthometer posts

  1. Make sure your draft is titled correctly and is easy to find on your site. It should have [DRAFT] before and/or after the title of the post (example: “[DRAFT] Did Vegas Shooter Attend Bernie Sanders Rally in 2016? [DRAFT]”)
  2. Everyone will respond to 2 drafts today.
  3. To find out who you are responding to, go to this spreadsheet. Find your name the blog URLs you will respond to in the next two columns.
  4. For each author: go to their blog, find their name and their draft, and complete this form.
  5. At the end of class, we’ll look at some of the results together.

Homework for Tuesday, 10/10

  • Post your final Truth-o-meter fact-check as a new post. That is, do not overwrite the DRAFT post; instead create a new post so that I can compare the changes. This post is due by midnight on Tuesday, 10/10 unless you go to the Writing Center. If you do that, and you email me the client report form, you may turn in your work on Thursday, 10/12 instead.


Workshop: 3 ideas for your Truthometer post

Today we are spending most of our time workshopping your ideas for the Truthometer post. Before we do that, we’ll also work on tightening up your WordPress sites. But first, after Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, a number of sources were busy circulating bad information, either out of haste, virality, or a general lack of shame. Two sources I came across yesterday tracked these fake news stories quite well:

While these don’t exactly model the kinds of move I’m asking you to make in your Truthometer post, they are a helpful reminder that there are also good journalists out there who sort through the junk on the web to try to bring us closer to the truth. And as you’ll see below it’s actually not all that difficult to make junk look (sort of) like truth.

Fake News Generator

Some of your WordPress sites need a little character, so let’s start today by having you create your own fake news headline. You’ll then use this for your About Me page in WordPress.

There are several sites where you can do this, but here are two in particular:

Use these sites to make your own fake news headline that you will convert into an image for your WordPress site. Once it’s ready, add your image to either your About Me page or use it in a widget, which I’ll show you below.

WP Cleanup

I looked at many of your sites this weekend and noticed they still need some cleaning up by doing one or more of the following. Nearly all of these can be done from the themes > customize menu in the dashboard in WP:

  • Set the home/landing page as your blog posts, which will show your most recent post at the top (not “featured content” posts — get rid of those).
  • Create a unique name for your blog and a custom banner. Making your own is pretty easy. I’ll show you how.
  • Add widgets that make all blog posts visible, including the archive, authors, display WordPress posts, and recent posts widgets.
  • Delete or revise boilerplate WP pages, posts, or content. This includes revising the About Me page, removing featured content, deleting menu items and/or pages that aren’t taking us anywhere else.

Workshop your 3 ideas for the Truthometer post

  1. Open a new document in your WRT folder in Google Drive. Name this “Feedback on Truthometer ideas” and add your name and post URL to your post at the top of the page. Be sure to grab the link from the copy tool at the top of your dash window and not the browser URL (otherwise the link from the dashboard will send users to their own WP dash — confusing, I know).
  2. Copy and paste the following bullets at the top of your document:
  • For each source this author listed, what specific information would be fact-checked? Which idea would require the most research? Which would require the least?
  • Map “the moves” that would be required for each potential choice. Which posts would require discussing previous fact-checks? How many times would this require going upstream? How much lateral reading would this post describe? How many sources? Check up on the author’s preliminary work.
  • Would writing this post help clarify expert consensus about a fact that is often debated or confusing, or would it merely confirm what we already know?
  • What media should be used in this post? Which sources should this post link to?
  • What tags could be used for this post?
  1. In a new tab or window, go to this spreadsheet and find your name. Copy the emails of the three respondents next to your name. Toggle back to your document and click the blue share button at the top right. Add these email addresses to the “share with others” field. Make sure they can edit.
  2. Respond. In a moment you should receive invitations to respond to three authors (looked in your Shared With Me folder in Drive). Follow the link to the Google Doc and then to the WP post. Ultimately you are trying to help the author decide which of these 3 ideas are the most appropriate for the Truthometer task. Put another way, you are checking up on their ideas to see which are viable. The bulleted questions, then, are meant to guide this process. Be sure to sign your feedback and clearly separate it from other respondents. Aim to respond to at least two peers in class today.

Homework for 10/5

  • Draft your Truthometer post. On Thursday we will have representatives from the Writing Center assisting us in running a workshop with these drafts. The more your have done for Thursday, the more advanced your draft will be. The more advanced your draft will be, the more advanced your final will be. Make sense?


Recent Studies Suggest…

Today we are talking about going upstream on news items that cite scholarly sources and figuring out how to read them laterally.

Filter bubble follow up

I was feeling irresponsible since last class when I claimed that Facebook could determine the amount of time you spend reading posts and factored that into their News Feed algorithm; I didn’t cite any sources and so I worried that I too was a victim of #fakenews. So I tracked down a source:

Two software engineers at Facebook wrote this piece in 2015, telling the public that the company “…discovered that if people spend significantly more time on a particular story in News Feed than the majority of other stories they look at, this is a good sign that content was relevant to them.” As a result, if you are on Facebook and a post “was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, [Facebook’s algorithms] infer that it was something you found interesting and [it] may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.” So again, you do not have to like, comment, share, or otherwise engage with the news item in order for it to be factored into your future News Feed results.

Relatedly, Wired ran a story on Tuesday about Facebook’s history of control with its algorithm when the stakes involved jeopardizing its $470+ billion market value. Hopefully we will talk more about algorithms in the upcoming second unit.

According to a Recent Study…

For your 5th blog post I asked you to go upstream on a news report that cites a recent study. There were a number of news stories to choose from in the headlines yesterday, including:

These were just a few. Did anyone choose these news sources or follow up on a similar study?

  • How did your searches go? Did anyone find an impact factor? Did you use Google Scholar?
  • Did you “accurately summarize the state of research and the consensus of experts in a given area, taking into account majority and significant minority views” as Caulfield suggests?  How hard was this, being an outsider? What does Caulfield say about this? Hint:

Often you are not in a position to critically read original scholarly research because it take many years to develop the knowledge and literacies required to become an expert. This expertise can be observed if you try to pick up a journal from any given field. What makes these journals really credible, however, is the process of peer review. What is peer-review? The library at NC State explains it quite succinctly in this YT video:

Yet, for all of the credibility peer-reviewed journals muster, sometimes these journals are not even immune to the effects of the web. Consider this article, “The Case for Colonialism,” which was published in Third World Quarterly last month.

Do some quick Google searching to find out about how this was received by the wider academic community, and what other sources say about this journal and the author. Are they the same? Although this is a rare case, why is it important to read laterally? What else might we find when we read laterally?

Homework for Tuesday, 10/3

  • Browse the “Fieldguide” section of Caulfield (look in the Table of Contents from the main page) and skim sections that interest you.
  • In your 6th WordPress post, briefly propose 3 different possible claims to fact-check for your final Truth-o-meter post. This is the post that is worth 50% of your unit grade — re-read the assignment page for details and look at my example. Use a numbered list format in WordPress to separate these 3 claims and write a paragraph (¶) for each that makes a case for why it would be a good choice for a longer, ~1,000-word post. You might consider re-reading the first row of the rubric, as well as conduct some preliminary fact-checking to find out if your claim will be a good choice for this assignment. In other words, this is your chance to do the preliminary research that will help you be successful. We’ll share these with each other in class on Tuesday. Does everyone feel like they have good places to look for potential claims?

More Bubbles

Blue feed, red feed

For homework you blogged about the conservative, liberal, and mainstream filter bubbles your groups described on Thursday. You were asked questions about how these feeds shared or isolated certain stories, provided sources and/or links, or were credible after reading laterally. Two questions:

  • What did you write about? What surprised you?
  • What claims did you encounter that are just begging to be checked?
  • If there’s time, let’s compare filter bubbles for coverage of the national anthem during NFL games that were played on Sunday.

Filter bubbles, continued

I asked you to watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser for today on filter bubbles, so let’s begin by making this 2011 talk more relevant. In your groups, take 10-15 minutes to read the Pariser quotation and complete the related task. Be ready to share your findings with the class and explain how they demo the aspect of filter bubbles Pariser is discussing in your assigned quotation.

Group 1

“Even if you’re logged out, one engineer told me, there are 57 signals that Google looks at — everything from what kind of computer you’re on to what kind of browser you’re using to where you’re located — that it uses to personally tailor your query results. Think about it for a second: there is no standard Google anymore.”

Task: Do a search for “Google Analytics” and see what this tool can do. What some of the features of Analytics that any web designer can use to track or influence readers?

Image result for Google Analytics

Group 2

“There are a whole host of companies that are doing this kind of personalization. Yahoo News, the biggest news site on the Internet, is now personalized — different people get different things. Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the New York Times — all flirting with personalization in various ways. And this moves us very quickly toward a world in which the Internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.”

Task: Which of your online accounts have personalization settings? Which of these can you turn off? Do some poking around the web to see if you can find advice on this and be ready to share some tips with us.

Image result for settings "google news"

Group 3

“…what’s in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do. But the thing is that you don’t decide what gets in. And more importantly, you don’t actually see what gets edited out.

Task: Visit the site Blue Feed, Red Feed, play around with the filter bubbles, and read the methodology. Be ready to explain it to the class. 

Image result for blue feed red feed

Group 4

“What we’re seeing is more of a passing of the torch from human gatekeepers to algorithmic ones. And the thing is that the algorithms don’t yet have the kind of embedded ethics that the editors did. So if algorithms are going to curate the world for us, if they’re going to decide what we get to see and what we don’t get to see, then we need to make sure that they’re not just keyed to relevance. We need to make sure that they also show us things that are uncomfortable or challenging or important ”

Task: What are some of the factors that go into Facebook’s algorithms? List them and tell us which of these give users some control. 

Image result for starred friends settings facebook

Homework for Thursday, 9/28

  1. Read Caulfield’s chapters on using scholarly sources to read laterally, including:
  1. Use your 5th WordPress post to go upstream on a news report that cites a recent study. (For some of you who have already blogged about a recent study, feel free to pick up where you left off.) If you’re stuck, type “recent study” into Google and click the “News” tab at the top. Like so:

Once you find a news story that cites a study or piece of scholarship, go upstream to find that original study. [Note: You may have to log in to Rowan’s library to access some of these.]

Even if you cannot find the actual study, use the strategies from the chapters above to check the credibility of the journal and the expertise of the author(s). If you get stuck on one strategy, discuss it in your post, but move to another. Not all journals will have an impact factor and not all authors can be easily found in Google Scholar, but you should seek both. Ultimately your goal is to use these search strategies to “accurately summarize the state of research and the consensus of experts in a given area, taking into account majority and significant minority views.”

Filter bubbles

Today we are going to review the rubric I created from our class discussions on Tuesday and test it through a peer review exercise. Then we’re going to talk about the importance of reading laterally through an activity on filter bubbles.

Rubric for Fact-checking

On Tuesday both sections worked to create a list of expectations for the fact-check blog posts; I thought we did a nice job and produced a list that overlapped between the 2 sections. Yesterday I organized these lists into a rubric:

Take a look at this rubric and notice how I used the expectations we brainstormed to convert them into an evaluation tool. In order to test the effectiveness of this tool, I want you to evaluate a post by doing the following:

  1. Choose a post that you would like evaluated and quickly re-read it.
  2. Evaluate your blog using the rubric. Is this post mostly ?, ?, or ??
  3. Once you’ve done that, exchange posts with a nearby partner and have them evaluate the same post. Do they see it as mostly?, ?, or ?? The goal here to check your self-evaluation with someone else’s. As an evaluator, please imagine that you are me and really scrutinize the post. In other words, be a tough grader and be ready to justify your selections.
  4. Do the scores match? How can certain aspects be improved? Do you know what you need to do?

Filter Bubbles: Or, the Importance of Reading Laterally

After Trump was elected last November, Saturday Night Live ran this satirical ad of a planned community called “The Bubble”:

The ad poked fun of the privileged position that hipsters, progressives, or white millennials can choose to close themselves off from a version of America that threatens their worldview (they jokingly call it “Brooklyn”). It’s a funny skit because it plays of off some of the fundamental trouble with a networked view of reality.  Hence, the importance of what Caulfield calls “reading laterally.” For your homework today, you read laterally by looking at what others have said about BreitbartOccupy Democrats, or FoxNews. From this you were supposed to answer a few questions:

  • What did you discover from other sources? Did you trust this information you read?
  • What could you find about each of these sources in terms of the site’s process, expertise, and aim?
  • What makes these three sources –BreitbartOccupy Democrats, or FoxNews – a potential threat to democracy?

Activity: Bubble Briefing

Click your group’s link below and use the Google Doc to follow your bubble of sources. Use these sources to compose a briefing on the top stories of the day. Each group should make a list of the Top 3-5 stories (write only a few sentences for that summarize each) and include a link to one representative article.

ConservativeTownhallDrudge Report, The Geller ReportBreitbart, and The Blaze

LiberalThe Raw StoryOccupy DemocratsHuffington Post, The Intercept, and AlterNet 

Mainstream: NY Times, ABC News, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Politico 

Homework for Tuesday, 9/26

  1. Watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser on filter bubbles.
  2. Read the briefings above and a few of the representative articles each group linked to. As you read, compare them. Create a new (4th) post in WordPress wherein you discuss some or all of the following questions:
  • What headlines and stories cut across the three bubbles? What stories seem unique to those bubbles?
  • Do particular keywords keep coming up across or within each bubble?
  • How do they differ? Do they draw from different sources—interviews, studies, unnamed sources, etc.? How do they link to other sources or stories?
  • Thinking back to how we read laterally, how would you judge these sources on their process, expertise, and aims? What standards of credibility or accuracy seem to exist in each bubble? How do you know?
  • Are there any claims or supposed facts in these stories that are just begging for a more detailed fact-check? Which ones and why? How might you do about it?

Creating a blog rubric

I’ve read everyone’s blog as of 10 p.m. last night and so I want to start with some pointers on customizing your sites. From there we’ll look more specifically at the posting requirements so we can get a sense of the extent of how you are (or are not) meeting expectations. The goal is to clarify as much as possible what will be necessary to do well on the final post in this unit. So let’s start with some pointers on customizing your front page, considering:

  • themes
  • titles of sites
  • banners
  • removing static home pages and features posts
  • getting rid of template text

I. “Excellent” posts

You have two grades in this 1st unit: several short homework blog posts (worth 50%) and a longer one at the end called Truth-O-Meter (also worth 50%). I asked you to be ready to make a case for what excellent posts look like, having at least one example in mind. Although the final post will be greater in scope (that is, longer and more detailed) the basic requirements are the same for the homework posts as the final one.  Again, excellence is defined by being outstanding – by going above and beyond expectations. So one way we might check our criteria for excellence is by reviewing the assignment’s expectations. Where and how have they been defined? Here are some places we might look:

  • the assignment itself
  • daily plans
  • textbook
  • discussions in class
  • examples

Take moment to look back at these places and generate a list of ideas for criteria. If you were evaluating yourself or your peers, what are the things the blog post would have to accomplish or communicate? Once you have a list, let’s more specifically articulate this criteria in this Google Doc.

II. Rubric design

Now that we’ve established expectations, let’s better define what distinguishes truly excellent posts from those that are average or below and translate those to readable scheme. One way we can do that is through a grid, so let’s use this Google Doc to begin drafting one.

III. Testing the rubric on an example 

Now that we’ve clarified expectations and designed a way to read them, let’s test it. I pulled a post from each of the classes and put them on my own site to help us be objective. Let’s take a look at one and talk in class about how well the example might do based on our rubric design:


As you might have noticed by now, the helpful thing about designing and engaging with rubrics, as well as looking at other examples,  is that it clarifies what you know and what you need to know (or what you need to know better). Based on this activity, what are some things you think you should know how to do (better)? Let’s take some of the remainder of our time to talk about them, and plan to continue this discussion on Thursday.

Homework for Thursday, 9/21

  1. Read Caulfield on his 3rd strategy for fact-checking: Reading Laterally, including WHAT “READING LATERALLY” MEANS and EVALUATING A WEBSITE OR PUBLICATION’S AUTHORITY.
  2. Fact-check #3: fact-check by reading laterally, by “looking at what other sites and resources say about [a] source.” You are going to  read laterally by fact-checking the credibility of one of the following sites: Breitbart, Occupy Democrats, or FoxNews. What do people say about them? You might start with Wikipedia. And as you look at what other sites or resources say about these sites, use the their criteria (which Caulfield outlines in Chapter 17) – process, expertise, and aim – to guide your observations. What do other sources say, for example, about Breitbart’s research or how they correct mistakes? What do other sources say about the kinds of writers Occupy Democrats use for their stories? Are they experts? Do they interview experts? What incentive does Fox News have to get things right in their broadcasts? Who do they cater to? Feel free to look at your chosen site, but what you’re really doing is investigating and assessing their trustworthiness.


Going upstream on viral content

Today affords us a chance to catch up individually in the lab. By now you should have:

  • created and designed your own WordPress site,
  • added your site’s unique URL to our spreadsheet, and
  • have written, formatted, and uploaded one post from your first fact-check.

Remember this unit is graded on the quality of 8-10 posts, as well as one final, longer fact-check at the end of the unit. It’s important not to fall behind.

I. Fact-checking strategies. Before we begin to work individually, let’s quickly review the 2 fact-checking strategies you’ve read so far in Caulfield’s book:

  1. Draw from previous work, including Wikipedia (which stresses a neutral point of view, or NPOV).
  2. Go upstream, to use web-based searching strategies to locate original sources of information and evaluate them.

What do these search strategies specifically entail? How did you make use of them in your first post? Start thinking, too, about the difference between outstanding posts and post that meet minimum requirements. We can talk more about this on Tuesday.

II. Practice going upstream.  Draw from your reading, especially Chapter 11, to investigate a piece of viral content. You can find such viral content on your own feeds, but I highly recommend using Buzzsumo, a search engine that tracks and ranks viral content based on the number of shares from social media.

Try to find a source that isn’t very reliable and go upstream. Hopefully these strategies include:

  • executing advanced search commands (“–” and “site:”)
  • utilizing the highlight/right-click search feature
  • scanning search results for URLs – not titles

As you craft your post, consider discussing other aspects of this section of the book, including issues with sponsored content and syndication.  You might also consider discussing other content you see on the page, including comments. Aim to post something that’s 300-500 words and includes embedded content, links, and multimedia. You want to provide a context for the fact, but then present the narrative of how you went upstream to locate information closer to the original source.

Homework for Tuesday, 9/19:

  1. Finish the piece you started in class today and post it.
  2. Look at the spreadsheet of WordPress links for both classes and find a few excellent examples. Be ready to discuss these on Tuesday.
  3. Read Caulfield Ch 12-15. This is the second half of his section about going upstream where discusses how do this with images. Try the activities in Chapter 15.

Fact-checking sites

Today we are talking about fact-checking by looking at sites that regularly investigate claims, the first of four moves discussed in Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. We will specifically discuss how this works by looking at fake news about Hurricane Irma and looking at some of the examples you came up with for your homework. You’ll then begin the process of translating that example into a WordPress post. By the end of class you should know how to create a post so that you can complete the homework for Thursday.

I. Check your emotions. Before we get too far into this unit, it’s important that we discuss this piece of advice in Chapter 3:

“If every time content you want to share makes you feel rage, or laughter, or ridicule, or, sorry to say, a heartwarming buzz — spend 30 seconds fact-checking  you’ll do pretty well.”

What does Caulfield mean by this? How does it work in practice?

II. Fake news about Hurricane Irma. Let’s start with some recent examples. Because my dad and father-in-law both live in Florida year-round, I was paying close attention to the news surrounding Hurricane Irma this weekend. Luckily both of them are fine, but as I read the news and jumped on my social media feeds, I saw many examples of fake news.

As part of a fact-check post about fake news spreading during Hurricane Irma, ProPublica interviewed journalist Jane Lytvynenko about various phony stories, images, and other media that have appeared in our feeds. As she notes, even though fake news circulates differently with weather events, “what unites misinformation around weather and politics is emotion.” Even government officials are susceptible. Here’s the president’s director of social media sharing a now-deleted tweet from a random member of the public who shared it with him:

And a response by the Miami Airport:

Supposedly, the actual video that was shared was from Mexico City’s airport a few weeks back:

Perhaps one of the more ridiculous stories that circulated was this sarcastic event on Facebook. The event’s popularity prompted several groups, including Sheriffs in Pasco County, to create and post this image:

Interestingly, through a reverse Google Image search (something you’ll learn more about next week and in Chapter 13), you can see that the image itself isn’t quite right. It’s a doctored version of a widely-shared image that explains how hurricane work. This is sometimes attributed to the National Weather Service, though it wasn’t easy to track down:

More research can and should clear this up, but in the meantime we can see how difficult it is to slow down and establish facts, especially in times of spectacular crisis. This is why fact-checking sites like Snopes and Politifact can be so useful. Here are some examples of how these sites checked facts during the two recent hurricanes:

  • Climate Feedback fact-checked The Atlantic‘s article on how climate change affected Hurricane Harvey.
  • Aforementioned journalist Jane Lytvynenko posted a running list of misinformation on Irma on Buzzfeed.
  • A lengthy post from Politifact contextualized Rush Limbaugh’s controversial comments on Irma.
  • Snopes fact-checked the reoccurring myth that you should store your valuables in a dishwasher during floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. And another on sharks showing up in the hurricane.

Caulfield’s advice to search fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes and collaborative pages on Wikipedia come with some warnings, however. What are they? And how do we use the site-search function and other advanced commands in Google searches? Why are these useful?

III. Examples from your own fact-checking. For homework today you were asked to fact-check a claim from your own social media feed and write about it in a Google Doc. Let’s look at some examples. As we talk through these examples, we want to ask:

  • Where, when, and how did you find these claims?
  • How did you fact-check them? Where did you go? Why? How?
  • Did anyone use Wikipedia?
  • What images, videos, sounds, links, and embedded content could we include as you turn this into a blog post?

IV. Posting in WordPress. We will spend the rest of today working on customizing your site a bit and creating your first post . Again, the Lynda tutorials on posting in are useful, but I’ll walk you through some of the basics. The goal for today is to convert your Google Doc into a WordPress post. As you begin that process, aim to do the following things in your post:

  • title it concisely and accurately (i.e. “Fact-check #1: Sharks in Hurricane Irma?”)
  • include 2-3 links to sites you refer to in your discussion
  • embed at least one image, tweet, video, sound clip, or some other non-textual feature.
  • make use of some of the content organizing features, like tags and categories
  • make use of some of the formatting features: bullets, headings, quotations, etc.

HW for Thursday, 9/14:

  • Finish formatting your first fact-check and post it to WordPress. I have your link, right?
  • Read Caulfield, Chapters 7-11

Facts & “Post-Truth”

Today you will view our Google Map and introduce yourselves, discuss the readings and your quiz results from last night’s homework, and begin setting up your WordPress site for the semester.

I. Happy places.

  1. Go to our map and find yourself.
  2. Make sure the information here looks good. If you didn’t add a selfie it’s not too late! Send one to me via email today and I’ll add it. This will help us all get to know you better.
  3. Once we are all set, look around the world and read the bios for our section. Be ready to ask follow-up questions. [Tip: one simple way to view names quickly is to pull down the list on the left sidebar.]
  4. Questions for discussion: How might we use this tool in other ways? As teachers? As researchers? As writers? What are some potential complications with this? Are we okay that this is on a public website?

II. What is a fact and why does it matter? Discuss your Factitious quiz and our readings:

  • How did you do on the Factitious quiz? What information did you have to consider as you decided if a news item was true or not? Where did this knowledge come from?  What was limiting about the quiz?
  • Take this 5-minute quiz on “How DigiPo Defines a Fact.
  • Pull up your other reading for today: William Davies’s essay, “The Age of Post-Truth Politics.” According to Davies, there is a “crisis of facts” in Western democracies. What does he mean by this? Point to some moments in the reading.
  • What role has technology played in the shift from a “society of facts to a society of data,” as he puts it? How is it “possible to live in a world of data but no facts”?
  • Davies’s essay was published in the Opinion section of the NYT. Still, are there any facts presented in his essay, as Caulfield defined them? What are they?

III. WordPress.

One of the consistently great resources you will use this semester is, a high-quality, video-based tutorial site that Rowan pays a hefty fee to subscribe to. The fact that you can have a free account to Lynda is a real perk of being a college student here and so we will use it. Although many of your already have experience with WordPress, I’m going to show you a few videos today that help introduce it.

  1. First, make an account at using your Rowan credentials. Once you’re in, you can search for different videos, courses, and other content. I’ll show you this today.
  2. I’ve chosen the “ Essential Training” course for us to view today. We want to look at as much as we can with some pausing for questions and processes. Our goal is to simply get your site up.
  3. On Tuesday we will do more with content (i.e. posts and pages).

Homework for Tuesday, 9/12:

  • Finish setting up your WordPress by watching the Lynda video on Creating a account. Then add your URL to this spreadsheet (must be signed in to your Rowan Google Drive). You only need to set up your account — you don’t need to post.
  • Read Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers: Chapters 1-6
  • Fact-check a claim from your social media feed and write about it in a Google Doc that is saved in your WRT student folder. Title your document “Factcheck 1.”


Welcome to Sections 3 and 4 of Writing, Research, & Technology (WRT for short)! I’m Jason and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better this semester. Today are getting to know each other, reviewing the syllabus, and getting acquainted with at least one of the spaces we will be using this semester. As you can see, I use the daily plan blog on this course site to share my lesson plans with you. These also serve as a space for documenting our work and clarifying homework assignments. They are organized through categories and tags and searchable. OK, so here’s the plan for today:

I. Course plan and trajectory. After briefly introducing myself, I’ll go over some of the course site with you and discuss the first unit.

II. Activity: Google Drive set up. We will be using Google Drive to share files and folders throughout this semester. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Go to and log in with your usual Rowan credentials.
  2. Find your WRT student folder. It should include your last name, first name followed by “student folders.” (i.e. Luther, Jason W students folders).
  3. Create a new document in that folder and title it “bio” and: write your name at the top and a 140 character bio. Finally, think about a happy place you’d like to share with us — this could be a hometown, a place you’ve visited, or a place on your bucket list.  Tell us why you chose it.  Save this.
  4. Now go to this Google Form and complete it with that information (it’s okay if you change your mind on parts). To complete the selfie quickly, go to Applications > Photo Booth.

III. Introductions. If all goes well, I will be able to export the data from your forms to a spreadsheet and import that into a Google Map that allows us to see everyone’s happy place, as well as a brief bio about them. I’ll share this map with you and ask you to introduce yourselves before going into the homework.

Homework for Thursday, 9/7: