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Critical Thinking Tutorial: Media and Digital Literacy

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

Digital and Media Literacy

In his TED talk, Sinan Aral recommends a few ways to limit or curtail the spread of misinformation, most notably by implementing regulations, labelling information sources, and ensuring algorithm transparency on social media platforms. While these changes are significant, Aral's research indicates that humans, not bots, are primarily responsible for spreading misinformation. Therefore, the most substantial change begins with each of us individually.

Honing Your Skills

Becoming a responsible digital citizen is about developing both your digital literacy and media literacy skills where

  • digital literacy involves the effective use of digital tools and understanding things like online safety, privacy and cybersecurity, and
  • media literacy involves an ability to analyze media critically, becoming adept at identifying bias, deconstructing narratives, and assessing the motivations of content producers.

Crucial components of becoming a good fact-checker are (i) acknowledging the potential for misinformation to spread faster than the truth and (ii) maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism. By honing the skill of evaluating the credibility and reliability of digital information sources, you can make better judgments about the information you consume and share, thus contributing to a more responsible and informed digital society.

However, it's important to remember that these skills require consistent effort and ample practice.

Challenge Yourself

The activity below highlights the importance of having a discerning eye when consuming digital information. Study the faces. One face is a real photograph, and the other is a computer-generated image. Attempt the activity a few times to see if your ability to recognize the artificially generated face improves with each attempt. The faces are randomized, so you should not see the same image twice.