Alternative facts, fake news, hyperpartisan news coverage…are you trying to guide your students to firm ground in a sea of misinformation? Researchers from the Stanford History Education Group recently assessed students’ civil online reasoning and their findings point to a need for more instruction focused on the critical evaluation of information sources:

Our ‘digital natives’ may be able to fit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped. 

Stanford History Education Group, Evaluating information: the cornerstone of civic online reasoning

The Library is working with the Center for Teaching and Learning to hold a faculty discussion about helping students approach news stories with a critical eye. The discussion will take place Thursday, March 9th, at 11am. At this session, we’ll discuss:

  • the role of social media
  • what we can learn from the tools and strategies used by fact-checkers
  • the challenges of addressing bias in government information
  • ways minimize the spread of misinformation in an increasingly clickbaity world
  • strategies to help students critically evaluate news and other information sources

We encourage you to bring questions and to share any of your experiences related to how your students judge the reliability of news coverage and evaluate bias in information sources.



With access to a constantly expanding number of sources, students can easily become overwhelmed as they research for a paper, or may not even know where to start. Brandeis librarians can help by creating subject-specific and assignment-driven instructional materials, such as research guides, tutorials, and LATTE modules.

Librarians have created guides for different academic disciplines, specific courses, and for research topics. These guides include information about recommended resources and tips for effective research. Check out a few examples:

Librarians can also develop interactive tutorials which introduce search strategies along with specialized online databases and research tools. As an example, the library tutorial for UWS students covers:

  • how to find books, articles and other types of sources using Brandeis Library’s OneSearch
  • setting up an Interlibrary Loan account
  • ways to get help with research at Brandeis

These tutorials can also incorporate mini-quizzes which provide immediate feedback to the students.

LATTE presents another option for incorporating research-related instructional materials into a course. During the 2015-16 academic year, professor Colleen Hitchcock and Science librarian Melanie Radik developed an information literacy module module for an Ecology class and a Conservation Biology class:

A librarian would be happy to work with you on developing a LATTE module integrating library resources or research skills with your overall curriculum.

Please contact your library liaison if you are interested in a research guide, tutorial, or LATTE module for your students!