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Misinformation & Collaboration

November 10, 2020

Never has it been clearer that the rampant spreading of misinformation is a large problem in the United States. The contradictory information and messaging about the COVID-19 pandemic from people in positions of power, on social media, and from news outlets has caused, at the very least confusion, at the most extreme health risks. In the midst of the 2020 Presidential Election, we are currently seeing even more misinformation, lies, and extreme bias through news outlets and social media. We are fortunate to have immediate access to so much information, but how do we cull the authoritative information from the misinformation? More importantly, how do we, as information professionals, teach our students to critically evaluate all sources successfully?  

This year has made it even more apparent that our role in teaching information literacy has become even more necessary.  I would go so far as to say that it should be mandatory in this digital age for students to learn about evaluating web resources. I believe cultivating student’s critical thinking skills can be more of a group effort between faculty and librarians. Working together would increase student’s ability to make informed decisions and choices using authoritative sources. It takes effort and sometimes a long time to evaluate web sources, and students may give up before diving deep. I wish it was easier to determine trustworthy sources, but maybe the silver lining is that students have the opportunity to develop and enhance their critical thinking skills, which will help them throughout their schooling and careers. Though misinformation is everywhere, I hope to see librarians really focus on information and digital literacy to combat its spread, and work together with faculty to teach patience, thoroughness, and critical thinking when evaluating sources.   

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina J. Steffy permalink
    November 11, 2020 1:23 pm

    I agree, Kayla. I wish information literacy was required in K-12 with an emphasis on media literacy, particularly health news. Clearly what’s happening in the world today is proof these skills are needed.

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