We present an educational activity for college students to think critically about the truthfulness of news propagated in social media. This activity utilizes TwitterTrails, a visual tool to analyze Twitter claims, events, and memes. This tool provides views such as a propagation graph of a story’s bursting activity, and the co-ReTweeted network of the more prominent members of the audience. Using a response and reflection form, students are guided through these different facets of a story. The classroom activity was iteratively designed over the course of three semesters. Here, we present the learning outcomes from our final semester’s evaluation with 43 students. Our findings demonstrate that the activity provided students with both the conceptual tools and motivation to investigate the reliability of stories in social media. Our contribution also includes access to the tool and materials to conduct this activity. We hope that other educators will further improve and run this activity with their own students.
Pollalis, Christina; Grevet, Catherine; Westendorf, Lauren; Finn, Samantha T.; Shaer, Orit; and Metaxas, Panagiotis, "Classroom Activity for Critical Analysis of News Propagation Online" (2018). Faculty Research and Scholarship. 189.