Fake News or Not Fake News, That is the Question (And CogBooks is Helping to Answer It)

CogBooks is a company dedicated to improving the way people learn and to democratizing access to education.  Because of our mission, we have the opportunity to work on a number of interesting projects with a diverse selection of dedicated individuals whose aim is to do the same. 

One such example is from a project we recently finished with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University.  The team from the renowned ASU News Co/Lab included Co-Founder Dan Gillmor, Managing Director  Kristy Roschke, and Editor Celeste Sepessy. Their objective was to create a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC for short) that educates individuals, for free, in a topic area that increasingly dominates our world: FAKE NEWS. 

In every aspect of our daily lives we’re bombarded by information, and much of it is positive and adds value.  We can get easy, immediate answers at our fingertips to questions that just 15-20 years ago might take days or weeks to research.  On the flip side, technology and information dissemination has increased so much that it’s easier than ever to spread falsehoods and misinformation. 

How do we know that the media and information we consume is trustworthy?  How can we spot misinformation or assess whether the information comes from a credible source?

These are precisely the questions that the team with ASU’s News Co/Lab were looking to help answer for anyone and everyone. To achieve this lofty task, they needed to select a partner to help them design and deliver the course experience.  Following many discussions and demonstrations they ultimately selected CogBooks as the platform that would power the learning experience for users. 

News Co/Lab’s goals were to provide a professional, polished and informative course that includes many different types of media, content and assessments in an easy to use interface that could support learners of varying knowledge and experience.  The challenge is that this course was going to be freely available to anyone with an email address and thus they would have users of various ages and media knowledge in the course.

The CogBooks adaptive learning platform was an ideal fit to meet these goals and solve these challenges.  CogBooks treats every learner individually and the functionality of the platform is such that learners who need or desire more information on a particular topic get that information immediately, while learners with more advanced knowledge on a topic can progress at a quicker pace.  Among the attributes that appealed to the News Co/Lab team is the intuitive user experience that makes it possible for anyone to engage in the course whether or not they’ve had prior experience with online courses, and the ability to scale to support anywhere from 5 to 50,000 learners simultaneously.

Whether you want to be the most informed person during the 2020 election season or you want to understand whether the story your Uncle shared on Facebook is credible, Mediactive: How to Participate in Our Digital World is a free and powerful resource to better your knowledge on this important topic.

Note: This course was made possible as a result of Facebook’s $2 million initiative aimed at supporting projects that empower people to seek out credible information to read and share.