Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We Won't Be Fooled Again: Teaching Critical Thinking via Evaluation of Hoax and Historical Revisionist Websites in a Library Credit Course

The new issue of College and Undergraduate Libraries 15 (1/2) (2008) is on critical thinking. Stephanie Mathson and I have an article in it titled "We Won't Be Fooled Again: Teaching Critical Thinking via Evaluation of Hoax and Historical Revisionist Websites in a Library Credit Course." The article is not online but Stephanie and I are pleased with it.

From the abstract:

At Central Michigan University, librarians teach multiple sections of an eight-week, one-credit research skills class to hundreds of undergraduate students each semester. While the main focus of the course is to teach students how to find, use, and properly cite library resources, librarians also address critical thinking skills by designing lessons to teach World Wide Web organization and how to analyze the information found via search engines. Showing student's obvious hoax sites about “tree octopi” and “male pregnancy” introduces the concepts of critical thinking and Website analysis. Most students quickly refute the information on such sites. However, students have a more difficult time assessing social, historical, or political revisionist Web sites' validity. Contrasting those claims with evidence accepted by international courts, historians, and scientists is useful in pointing out the flaws of seemingly well documented but one-sided revisionist sites. There are dangers in exposing students to these groups via their Websites. Yet, it is important to do so in order to convey the importance of critical analysis of information. The authors discuss students' preand post-test (CMU's online assessment tool, the “research readiness self-assessment” [RRSA]) scores to determine whether critical thinking skills have improved.

1 comment:

Jennie W said...

It is great to see this being taught to students! All universitise need to be teaching similar courses!

Hey, would you mind sending me a copy of your syllabus? I'm trying to convince my boss that we need this course....