Teaching 'Fake News'
Over the last several years, the issue of “fake news” – misleading or outright deceptive reporting designed to advance a particular agenda – has become a prominent feature of our media ecology. The Oxford Dictionary chose “post-truth” as its Word of the Year for 2016, Time Magazine ran a full-cover headline in 2017 asking the question “Is Truth Dead?,” and the term “fake news” has been employed liberally by both spokespeople for the Trump administration and its critics. The debate has particular ramifications for higher education, and particularly for instructors of Composition and Humanities classes, which generally provide college students with their most explicit training in how to evaluate sources of information. The proliferation of fake news threatens the very foundations of a liberal education, even as the same phenomenon demonstrates the urgent demand for the kind of media literacy skills that such an education is intended to promote.
This panel seeks to advance the ongoing conversation about how college instructors are incorporating lessons about about fake news into their curricula. Proposed papers may consider the theoretical implications of fake news, describe lesson plans or activities that require students to engage with the problem of fake news, speculate on how the mainstreaming of fake news influences the role of higher education, or approach the phenomenon of fake news from any other related perspective.