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Self-Directed Course

Navigating Misinformation: How to identify and verify what you see on the web

March 25 to April 21, 2019
Instructor(s):   Claire Wardle Aimee Rinehart 
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This resource page features course content from the Knight Center for Journalism in the America’s massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Navigating Misinformation: How to identify and verify what you see on the web.” The four-week course took place from March 25 to April 21, 2019. We are now making most of the content free and available to students who took the course and anyone else who is interested in learning how to verify online content and responsible reporting in an age of disinformation.

The course, which was supported by the Knight Foundation, was taught by Claire Wardle and her assistant Aimee Rinehart. They created and curated the content for the course, which includes video classes, readings, exercises, and more.

 The course materials are broken up into three modules:

As you review this resource page, we encourage you to watch the videos, review the readings, and complete the exercises as time allows. The course materials build off each other, but the videos and readings also act as standalone resources that you can return to over time.

We hope you enjoy the materials. If you have any questions, please contact us at journalismcourses@austin.utexas.edu.

About the Instructors

Claire WardleClaire Wardle leads the strategic direction and research for First Draft and is the co-founder of one of First Draft’s founding partners, Eyewitness Media Hub. She is also currently a TED fellow. Before First Draft, she was the research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was also head of social media for the United Nations Refugee Agency and Director of News Services for Storyful. She is one of the world’s experts on user-generated content, and has led substantial research projects—with an emphasis on qualitative research methodologies—investigating how UGC is handled by news organizations. She was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Information and Entertainment. She holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.

Aimee RinehartAimee Rinehart directs partnerships and development for First Draft, where she has worked since 2016. She managed Comprova, the Brazilian election project in 2018, which was the first journalism organization to have API access to WhatsApp. She started working online in 1996 and was a digital originator at The New York Times. She was an editor at the Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels and upon her return to New York, worked in the communications departments at the American Civil Liberties Union, the Overseas Press Club of America and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Indiana University School of Journalism and has an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Newark University.

Introduction to the course and the outline of topics

 Introduction

1. Welcome video

Watch Video

2. Course syllabus

Syllabus

Materials

 Overall Resource for the Course

Discovery of problematic content

 This module will cover:

  • How to use the free monitoring platforms CrowdTangle and TweetDeck
  • Tipping point of when to report on, or amplify, a piece of content
  • How mis- and disinformation flow through the web

 Video Classes

1. Discovery: finding problematic content online

Watch Video  Transcript

2. How to use TweetDeck for discovery

Watch Video  Transcript

3. A deep dive into CrowdTangle for discovery

Watch Video  Transcript

 Readings

Basic verification of online sources

 This module will cover:

  • The verification process
  • Scrapes, metadata and reverse image search
  • Free browser plugins to help in verification
  • Digital footprints: finding people online

 Video Classes

1. Intro to verification as process

Watch Video  Transcript

2. The challenge of dealing with scrapes

Watch Video  Transcript

3. Intro to reverse image search

Watch Video  Transcript

4. First Draft checklists

Watch Video  Transcript

5. How to find a post’s unique identification code

Watch Video  Transcript

6. Metadata explained & why you can’t always trust location metadata

Watch Video  Transcript

7. How to research digital footprints

Watch Video  Transcript

8. Learning date and time stamps

Watch Video  Transcript

 Readings

1. How should I contact a social source? [Approaching Social Sources, Chapter 1]

2. Verification fundamentals: Rules to live by [Verification Handbook, Chapter 2]

3. Verifying user-generated content [Verification Handbook, Chapter 3]

 Optional Resources

1. Verifying images [Verification Handbook, Chapter 4]

2. Verifying video [Verification Handbook, Chapter 5]

3. Do I have to get permission before I can use eyewitness media? [Approaching Social Sources, Chapter 3]

4. How should I contact eyewitnesses when I need to gain permission to use their media? [Approaching Social Sources, Chapter 4]

Advanced verification of online sources

 This module will cover:

  • How date and time stamps work on social posts
  • How to geo-locate where a photo or video was taken
  • Tools overview to help determine time in a photo or video
  • Verification challenge

 Video Classes

1. Using Wolfram Alpha

Watch Video  Transcript

2. A quick introduction to shadow analysis

Watch Video  Transcript

3. Understanding geo-location

Watch Video  Transcript

4. Advanced Google maps tricks

Watch Video  Transcript

5. Google Earth Pro basics

Watch Video  Transcript

 Readings

 Exercises

Try your hand at these verification interactive exercises: