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JMSC helps non-journalists ‘Make Sense of the News’ starting January 2017

Feeling overwhelmed by the news lately? You’re not alone. With the emergence of citizen journalism, more online news aggregators, and the sheer abundance of information at our fingertips, the sea of news can be tough to navigate.

If the rapid change of the news cycle has your head spinning, there’s a solution to help it all make sense. The JMSC’s massive open online course, ‘Making Sense of the News: News Literacy Lessons for Digital Citizens’ has been redesigned from scratch in collaboration with the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University.

Course co-creator, Masato Kajimoto

Course co-creator, Masato Kajimoto

‘Making Sense of the News’ is an online version of the news literacy curriculum that more than 15,000 university students and media educators in ten countries have taken over the last ten years or so.

‘After taking this course, students will have more skills with which to be a smart news consumer,’ said JMSC Assistant Professor and course co-creator Masato Kajimoto. ‘They will be able to immediately tell facts from opinions and what is reliable versus what is not, which is really important. Predictions and assertions made in the news can be completely wrong.’

Hosted on the online learning platform Coursera, the course will teach students how to develop critical thinking expertise to evaluate the quality of news and journalism so they can judge the reliability of information and make better informed decisions.


JMSC Lecturer Anne Kruger is also one of the course tutors

Students of the six-week course will see brand new videos (with subtitles in English, Chinese and Spanish) presented by the JMSC’s Anne Kruger and Stony Brook’s Steven Reiner that show recent examples of news literacy principles, along with newly updated readings and opportunities for discussion.

‘In past sessions of the course on edX we learned a lot from students all over the world thanks to their input in the class forums, which helped us improve this new course,’ said Kajimoto. ‘With the Stony Brook University partnership and the move to Coursera, we are looking forward to reaching a body of students that is even more diverse and global.’

Previous versions of the course were hosted on edX in May 2015 and February 2016. Around two thousand students have completed the online course and the JMSC’s partnership with Stony Brook University, which is based in New York, raises expectations for global reach.

‘Making Sense of the News’ will begin on 9 January 2017 and is now open for registration. To learn more, visit the course’s Facebook or Twitter page.