Learn to be a smart news consumer: MOOC ‘Making Sense of News’, running again in February 2016

With social media and a 24/7 news cycle, how do we—as news consumers—make sense of what we hear and read? Online course ‘Making Sense of News’, seeks to answer that question.

The five-week course—starting in February 2016 on leading MOOC platform, edX— is being run for the second time after 7,500 people from 147 different countries enrolled in the original run earlier this year.

JMSC Assistant Professor Masato Kajimoto and Assistant Lecturer Anne Kruger have developed the content for the course, which will help students identify reliable information in news reports and distinguish news from opinion, media bias from audience bias, and assertion from verification.

Assistant Professor Kajimoto said that he is excited to be running the MOOC again in 2016: ‘I believe the first run was a great success, but we also learnt a lot from participating learners in terms of what worked and what didn’t, so decided to improve things and put the course on again next year.’

IsabelWong‘Making Sense of News’ teaches students how to examine the validity of information in news reports and social communications, with special emphasis on information disseminated online, where unsubstantiated rumours and inaccurate information often circulate. Recent cases where the sharing of unconfirmed rumours has had serious consequences will also be examined.

People who took the course last time said that it helped them to better evaluate news reports and sources, and better understand and respond to issues and events: ‘The course was very interesting and made me rethink a lot of my ways of reading and understanding the news fully,’ Learner Valli B wrote on edX’s course review page. ‘The videos were well presented and explanations clear. The pace was good, too. Prof Masato transmitted a lot of enthusiasm and also personally participated in the forums along with his staff.’

Another learner, Sandeep Walia, wrote: ‘With social media being such a common part in everyone’s life, this course is a must for each and every one of us. The peer review system is unique and quite an innovative way to grade students and also helps us see what are the opinions of others about our work.’

Classes consist of short videos and interactive exercises. Participants will be required to spend two to three hours per week watching the lectures, reading recommended material, completing assignments, and discussing the content with other class members online. Video transcripts will also be provided in English and Chinese.

To enrol for the course, click here.