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COM 125 (Campus) Dissecting Pop Culture

This guide is a companion to the campus course COM-125

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Shapiro Library Badges in a variety of areas of information literacy from research and evaluation skills, to finding company information, or becoming certified to use the Makerspace equipment. The library offers Virtual Research Workshops of which you may watch recordings before you take your badge quiz. Below is an example of a badge focused on evaluating information.

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Do you know about source evaluation? Can you spot bias? Do you know how to investigate sources? Are you a pro at finding other evidence and tracing claims? Prove it today to earn the Shapiro Library Skeptical Searcher Badge! Click on the icon below to get started.

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Karin Heffernan
 WLLC 222A

Welcome to COM-125: Dissecting Pop Culture

In this course students will:

  • Examine the concept of media literacy & the history of communication industries
  • Practice deconstructing pop culture & media messages to recognize their potential effect
  • Understand how media literacy is associated with an individual's role as a consumer of, and participant in, media
  • Recognize the role that media plays in creating and transforming cultural messaging

What is Media Literacy?

The Center for Media Literacy This link opens in a new window uses this expanded definition (reflecting societal changes since the original definition coined at the Aspen Institute in 1992):

Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

Media Literacy Now This link opens in a new window operationalizes that definition as:

Media Literacy is the ability to:

  • Decode media messages (including the systems in which they exist)
  • Assess the influence of those messages on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Create media thoughtfully and conscientiously

Misinformation, Disinformation & Malinformation

When we search for information on the web and get zillions of results, it's very hard to know which might be truthful and which might be altered information. We are confronted daily by misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information. Below is a chart showing the different characteristics of the three types of dubious information.

Blue & gray Venn diagram of Misinformation (false information; unintentional errors), Disinformation (false information; intended to harm), and Malinformation (genuine information; intended to harm)

Diagram based on Wardle and Hossein's 2017 Information Disorder report  & definitions from Dr. Nicole A.Cooke 2021 LOEX keynote address.

Evaluating information for authenticity and validity is essential, not only for your coursework, but for your life as you seek to make evidence-based decisions that rely on accurate information.