Lessons cannot stop fake news

While fake news is an issue, I think “digital critical literacy” classes for students are unnecessary and patronising. Courses already teach us to discern reliable information from dubious websites for referencing material in essays, and this is easy enough to transfer to reading online news articles outside of our studies. Most fake news doesn’t hide the fact that it is fake news very well, and students are usually competent in using technology and critically assessing source materials as these are inherent for performing well in their degrees.

However, it clearly is impacting on society and needs addressing, as in the course of the last year we have seen how fake news such as Pope Francis endorsing Trump has impacted political elections. There are those who need guidance in telling facts from the barely disguised mock-articles, as large numbers of people struggle with technology on a broader level and many have never been in a situation where fact-checking has been essential.

Unfortunately, these people are probably older, or outside organised institutions and therefore are not with courses and classes on being more alert.

There is no harm in universities offering this, it is just unnecessary and won’t be delivered to people who need the assistance.


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