This week we have our last two classes, so I’d like to review what’s due and show you how to submit your final FOW project. But first, I want to update you on my availability next week.
Tuesday, 5/1 — I’ll be in my office (Victoria 412) from 10-3. Make an appointment with me and I’ll be glad to help you!
Wednesday, 5/2 — Open lab hours in our classroom from 10:15-4:30. It is helpful to know if/when you are coming (I’ll most likely be hanging out in my office), so shoot me an email before coming by.
Thursday, 5/3 and Friday, 5/4 — I may be on campus, but I’ll definitely be available via Skype, Google Hangouts, or by phone almost any time during these two days. Shoot me an email and we can find a time to talk.
Monday, 5/7 — I’ll be in my office (Victoria 412) from 9:30-2:30. Make an appointment for last minute questions. Your project is due by the end of the day.
You’re turning in at least three accurately-marked items for me by the end of the day on May 7. All relevant documents should in saved in a subfolder of your WRT shared folder titled “Unit 3.”
your final plan
any process documents for your project — scripts, drafts, outlines, plans, raw files, etc.
a letter to future students
In addition, you will post a draft of your project on FOW. Here’s how.
Customize your profile on FOW
Go to futureofwriting.com and scroll to the bottom to “Meta.” Click “Log in.” Use your Rowan email address for your username and the password I give you in class.
Once you’re logged in, click “Profile” and update your information: your name details (pseudonyms or first names only are totally fine!), write a short bio, and use your wordpress.com Gravatar for your picture. This is important as it will add your bio to your posts (commonly known as a “Byline”).
Finally, since you all have the same p/w, generate a new one for yourself so your posts are secure. Write this down so you can log in to the site again.
Add New Posts to FOW
As an “Author” user in WordPress, you can write, upload photos to, edit, and publish your own posts; however, you cannot access other posts.
Add a post, just as you did in the first unit. Note that the featured image for your post will be placed prominently on your post, so choose it well.
Choose the most appropriate category and use multiple tags for your post. For example, if you interviewed someone on campus about their favorite apps, you might choose “interview” for your category but also tag it “interview,” “app,” “Rowan,” etc.
Choose “Save Draft” until you are ready to publish it to the site (see image).
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?
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, which made landfall in Florida last September, and by 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 Monday.
I. Check your emotions.
Before we get too far into this unit, it’s important that we discuss this piece of advice from Mike Caulfield in Chapter 3:
“When you feel strong emotion — happiness, anger, pride, vindication — and that emotion pushes you to share a “fact” with others, STOP. Above all, it’s these things that you must fact-check.”
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 last fall. Luckily both of them were 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:
This video is not from Miami International Airport.
Supposedly, the actual video that was shared was from Mexico City’s airport in August 2017:
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 hurricanes 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.
Finally, note that I have added a list of several reputable fact-checking sites to our Unit 1 menu above.
III. Examples from your own fact-checking brainstorm.
For homework today you were asked to produce and assess a list of facts worth checking based on our book’s definition. Let’s look at what you came up with. As we talk through these examples, we want to ask:
Where, when, and how did you find these claims?
How would you fact-check them? Where would you go? Why? How?
Is there a fact on this list that suggests you could write a fact-check in 500-word blog post?
What images, videos, sounds, links, and embedded content could you include as you turn this into a blog post?
IV. Posting in WordPress.
When we left off on Monday, you were writing an About page. I want you to continue that in class today, but before you do I want to show you two features of WordPress that help readers navigate your site as well as introduce you to some page and post features.
Page and post settings:
tags and categories
Now that you know some of these features work on customizing your site, adding an About page, and posting your first fact-check.
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. Finding facts to check
In some ways, the focus of this entire first unit is knowing when you should double-check the information you encounter on the web. We’ll discuss different contexts for these encounters, looking at moments when claims and facts tend to blur and understanding the ways virality, emotion, and distractions interfere with our ability to assess information clearly and quickly on the web. That said, let’s brainstorm some places where or situations when we should take a closer look at the information we receive. For example, finding hashtags on controversial topics on social media sites like Twitter can lead to a host of so-called facts worth checking. This one might be a good candidate, for example:
IV. WordPress set up, continued
Today we will spend some time in class continuing to set up your WordPress site.
Find your URL, and copy and paste it next to your name in this spreadsheet. Note: your URL does not start with wordpress.com; it starts with your blog name (i.e. superstar_sofia.wordpress.com). Adding your URL to the spreadsheet allows me, and others in the class, to find your blog easily.
Choose a theme and begin to play around with customizations and headers. Make a unique header.
Make an About page that tells us a little about yourself. Include a professional-rated image. Let’s also talk about the difference between pages and posts.
Homework for Wednesday, 1/24
Read Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers: Chapters 1-6
In a Google Doc that is saved in your WRT student folder, list 4-5 potential facts worth checking. Note the source and provide the link. Remember that DigiPo defines a fact, as “something that is generally not disputed by people in a position to know who can be relied on to accurately tell the truth.” Given this definition, which facts on your list might be easier to check than others? What would you have to know or do in order to go about checking this fact?
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 we are getting to know each other, reviewing the syllabus, and getting acquainted with two of the spaces we will be using this semester (and which some of you are already familiar). 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 by categories and tags and searchable. OK, so here’s the plan for today:
Course plan and trajectory
After briefly introducing myself, I’ll go over some of the course site with you and discuss the first unit.
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 argument does this app make for how you might determine fake news?
Make your own fake headline
Use Breakingnews247 or Breakyourownnews to write a fake news story about yourself to share on social media. Be creative but also try to twist or exaggerate something true about yourself so that people might comment on it on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Save these images to your desktop. If you’re feeling brave, share it on social media and see what your followers say.
Google Drive set up
We will be using Google Drive to share files and folders throughout this semester. Here’s how to use it.
Find your WRT student folder. It should include your last name, first name followed by “WRT” (i.e. “Luther, Jason [WRT]”). Click on it. This is the folder you will use to share work with me that is not on a public site; it saves us the trouble of using Blackboard and sending files via email.
Drag your fake news story to this folder.
In the first unit, you will compose several multimedia blog posts in WordPress. Then, in the last unit, you’ll use WordPress to continue building a collaborate website originally started by my Fall 2017 classes, called The Future of Writing (Note: if you took Intro to Writing Arts with me in the fall, this is your chance to improve your skills with a platform that has built more than 20% of all websites.)
In class, I’ll show you how to build your own site. However, one of the consistently great resources you can use this semester is Lynda.com, 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. Here’s how to use it:
First, make an account at Lynda.com using your Rowan credentials.
Once you’re in, you can search for different videos, courses, and other content. I’ll show you this today. If you are new to WordPress, or want a refresher, I suggest using the “WordPress.com Essential Training” course.