Cyberbullying | Section 3

Section 3//9:30am//#cyberbullying

Panel Members: Sabrina, Lewis, And Mike

Hashtag: #cyberbullying

Twitter questions:

Q1: Provide the definition of cyberbullying in your own words, what’s an example of #cyberbullying?

Q2: What are ways you think we can prevent/limit #cyberbullying?

Q3: Have you known someone or have you yourself ever been a victim of #cyberbullying?


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 Pence ignore sister of North Korean leader? [DRAFT]”)
  2. Go to this spreadsheet and add your post’s URL next to your name.
  3. While you are in the spreadsheet find your name in the reader columns. You will respond to 2 drafts today.  For each author: follow their link to their blog and complete this form.
  4. At the end of class, we’ll look at some of the results together.

Homework for Monday, 2/19

  • Use the feedback from today to revise your draft. 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 Monday, 2/19 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 Wednesday, 2/21 instead.


Workshop: 3 ideas for your Truthometer post

Today we are spending most of our time workshopping your ideas for the Truthometer post. We’ll also work on talking about those studies you checked out last week. Before we do that,  I wanted to see if you had any questions with WordPress. I was planning to give you some time to tweak those a bit, but they were so impressive I scrapped that.

According to a recent study…

For your 4th 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 last week, 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 takes many years to develop the knowledge and literacies required to become an expert. That’s one of the reasons you are in college. 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 the article, “The Case for Colonialism,” which was published in Third World Quarterly last month. Do some quick 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?

Workshop your 3 ideas for the Truthometer post

STEP 1: Open a new document in your WRT folder in Google Drive. Name this “Feedback on Truthometer ideas” and add your name and the specific post’s 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).

STEP 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?

STEP 3: In a new tab or window, go to this spreadsheet and find your name in the Owner/Author column. Copy the emails of the three readers 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.

STEP 4: Help each other. In a moment you should receive invitations to respond to three authors (look in your Shared With Me folder in Drive). Follow the link to the Google Doc and then to the WP post then answer the questions by writing a ¶ to the author. Sign your name so they can come to you with questions. 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. Again, be sure to sign your feedback and clearly separate it from other respondents. Aim to respond to at least two peers in class today, if not all three.

Homework for 2/14

  • Draft your Truthometer post. On Wednesday we will have representatives from the Writing Center assisting us in running a workshop with these drafts. The more you have done, 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 continuing to talk about filter bubbles; we’ll then see how you did going upstream and reading laterally on recent studies.

Filter bubble follow up

On Monday you compiled common stories from news feeds from 3 different filter bubbles: conservative, liberal, and mainstream. Let’s look at them.

  • What headlines and stories cut across these three bubbles?
  • What stories seem unique to those bubbles? Do they draw from different sources—interviews, studies, unnamed sources, etc.? How do they link to other sources or stories?
  • 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?

Watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser on filter bubbles.




Since Pariser’s talk 7 years ago, information has become even more filtered. For example, a 2014 Pew Study found that there are key differences between folks on the left and the right of the political spectrum (see image on the right). While Facebook is an echo chamber for consistent conservatives, consistent liberals are likely to defriend people who disagree with them politically. Moreover, while consistent liberals have a more diverse media diet, conservatives distrust the news and hence, mostly stick to Fox News for their information.  At the same time, Pew found that there’s a wide cohort of people (46% of those) whose politics are more mixed; those folks tend to listen — rather than speak — when it comes to politics online; in other words, they tend to be influenced by their filter bubbles rather than contribute to them.

The mechanics of filter bubbles

So what specific technologies raised by Pariser drive filter bubbles? In other words, what makes them work? In assigned groups, take 10-15 minutes to read the Pariser quotation below and complete the related task. Be ready to share your findings with the class.

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: Read this piece Facebook wrote 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.” What other factors do Facebook consider when calculating meaningful content? List them and tell us which of these give users some control. 

Image result for starred friends settings facebook


Homework for Monday, 2/12

  • Browse the “Fieldguide” section of Caulfield (look in the Table of Contents from the main page) and skim sections that interest you.
  • In your 5th and final 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 Monday. Do you feel like you have good places to look for potential claims?

Filter bubbles

Today we are going to review the rubric I created after our class discussions on Wednesday. Then we’re going to talk about the importance of reading laterally through an activity on filter bubbles.

Rubric for Fact-checking

Last week 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 two sections. Yesterday I organized these lists into a rubric:

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 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 DemocratsFoxNews, and others. 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 consuming info from these sources a potential problem for democracy?

Activity: Bubble Briefing

  1. Click your assigned group’s link below. This will take you to a Google Doc.
  2. Once on the document, follow the links at the top for the sources listed.
  3. Read all of the sources and make a list of 3-5 common themes, stories, subjects, topics to all of the sites. These can be loose or specific. It is up to each group to decide how to find these commonalities.
  4. Then use the Google Doc to compose a summary of for each common theme or topic or story.
  5. Also for each, include a link to one representative article.
  6. Here’s an example from last semester’s conservative bubble: Muslims and immigrants are ruining everything: There are a host of stories claiming that muslims or immigrants are the source of different crimes and disasters around the world. In general casts muslims in a bad light. This one from, for example, claims that certain interpretations of Quran promote violence and sexual assault.

Conservative: Townhall, Drudge Report, The Geller Report, Breitbart, and The Blaze

LiberalThe Raw Story, Occupy Democrats, Huffington Post, The Intercept, and AlterNet 

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

On Wednesday we’ll talk more about what you found.

Homework for Wednesday, 2/7

Read Caulfield’s chapters on using scholarly sources to read laterally, Chapters 20-25 (“Stupid journal tricks,” “Finding a Journal’s Impact Factor,” “Using Google Scholar…,” “How to Think About Research,” “Finding High Quality Secondary Sources,” and “Choosing Your Experts First“).

Use WP post #4 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.”