Teaching Information Literacy in General Education Using Conspiracy Theories


Introductory coursework in political science, particularly courses that also satisfy general education requirements, have historically focused on imparting substantive knowledge within a subfield. I propose that political scientists may want to rethink approaches to general education to reflect the modern informational environment. While the internet and other communication technologies make information about politics and government more accessible, this has the unintended consequence of facilitating a more rapid, and often more consequential, spread of mis-/dis-information. Therefore, I posit that undergraduate courses, particularly those aimed at non-majors, should offer an increased focus on fostering students political information literacy skills. In this paper, I will describe my approach to designing and implementing a general education course on mis-/dis-information centered around conspiracy theories. I also present some preliminary findings on changes in students beliefs regarding conspiracy theories before and after they completed the course.



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