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Information Overload: Navigating Truth in a Networked World

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Media influences the way people understand the world around them, and today's digital media environment is saturated with information. Online media consumers are experiencing an information overload, and many find it difficult to determine which messages to trust. Media consumers

Media influences the way people understand the world around them, and today's digital media environment is saturated with information. Online media consumers are experiencing an information overload, and many find it difficult to determine which messages to trust. Media consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are increasingly turning to social media, especially Facebook, for news and information. However, the nature of information exchange on these networks makes these users prone to seeing and sharing misleading, inaccurate or unverified information. This project is an examination of how misinformation spreads on social media platforms, and how users can utilize media literacy techniques to surround themselves with trustworthy information on social media, as well as develop skills to determine whether information is credible. By examining the motivations behind sharing information on social media, and the ways in which Millennials interact with misinformation on these platforms, this study aims to help users combat the spread of misleading information. This project determines techniques and resources that media consumers can use to turn their social media networks into healthy, trustworthy information environments. View the online component of this project at http://lindsaytaylorrobin.wix.com/info-overload

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2015-12

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The ",field_main_title:"hangout was serious business: exploring literacies and learning in an online Sims fan fiction community

Description

The purpose of this study is to explore the literacy practices members of an online fan community engage in to participate in the space and to question what learning happens through that participation. This dissertation is the product of a

The purpose of this study is to explore the literacy practices members of an online fan community engage in to participate in the space and to question what learning happens through that participation. This dissertation is the product of a two-year virtual ethnographic study of The Sims Writers' Hangout (SWH), a discussion forum website established by fans of The Sims to support members' interests in creating and sharing Sims fan fiction. Affinity space theory informs an understanding of SWH's organization, and a definition of literacies as situated, social practices also frames the study. Data were collected following a discourse-centered online ethnographic approach, which guided systematic observation and interactions with eight key informants. The data corpus includes hundreds of pages of discussion forum posts, member profiles, moderator-created norming texts, numerous digital, multimodal Sims fan fiction texts, virtual interview responses from informants, field notes, and additional virtual artifacts, such as informants' websites and Flickr® photostreams. Study results are presented within three separate manuscripts prepared for publication and presentation, each exploring different lines of inquiry related to SWH. Chapter 3 focuses on tensions visible in the forum discussions to argue for an expansion of affinity space theory that accounts for the “hanging out” members do in the space. Chapter 4 analyzes one informant's literacy practices using a Design perspective. This analysis reveals the collaborative nature of Sims fan fiction literacies. The final manuscript (Chapter 5) offers an analysis of SWH pedagogy using Bernstein's pedagogic device concept. Data illustrate how pedagogic discourse in this online, informal learning space aligns with and challenges Bernstein's theory. Finally, Chapter 6 offers conclusions about how these three analyses expand our understanding of adolescent literacies and 21st century learning. This chapter also contains implications for theory and practice, recommendations for future research, and reflections on lessons learned.

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2011

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Critical media literacy in the high school classroom: a student centered approach

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The purpose of this writing is to explore the relationship students have with popular media as well as the call to implement a Critical Media Skills course at the high school level. The research was interested in finding what images

The purpose of this writing is to explore the relationship students have with popular media as well as the call to implement a Critical Media Skills course at the high school level. The research was interested in finding what images from popular media students were taking into their personal lives and how implementing a Critical Media Skills course could make positive benefits into their lives. From casual observations, informal student interviews, and the creation of an online survey in which 72 high school students participated I was able to collect data about the extent students were consuming popular media and how they believed that skills teaching them to analyze media would be beneficial. From these findings I was able to build upon Patricia Hill Collins (2009) to develop techniques for a classroom in which critical dialogue would be a focus. This exploratory study takes into account student voices, as well research from others in the field of Education and Media Literacy.

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2012

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Media literacy for university film and media students: teaching onscreen violence and social responsibility to future entertainment industry professionals

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This experimental pretest-posttest design study extended the field of media literacy research to pre-professionals in the entertainment industry. Specifically, it investigated the effects of lecture, film screenings and focused discussions on media literacy general awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and

This experimental pretest-posttest design study extended the field of media literacy research to pre-professionals in the entertainment industry. Specifically, it investigated the effects of lecture, film screenings and focused discussions on media literacy general awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and attitudes about filmmakers' responsibility after a unit of instruction on media violence designed specifically for university film majors.

Inherent in this process was an attempt to create a valid instrument for measuring media literacy awareness, comprehension, critical thinking and attitudes about social responsibilities among future media makers. Items were presented from the perspective of a creator of entertainment products. A demographic survey was used to collect data on past media literacy education and media viewing habits of this niche group, while evaluation data provided insights into the thought processes of students as they considered issues of media literacy -- sometimes for the first time -- in their own lives, in the lives of others, and in their future careers. Factorial analysis was used to test the effectiveness of the instrument. Analyses of variance were employed to measure pretest-posttest differences in treatment groups and Paired Samples T-tests to measure differences across the entire sample. Responses to open-ended evaluation questions were analyzed and coded and presented by item.

Results showed positive changes in comprehension and filmmaker responsibility attitudes across treatment groups and significant positive differences in media awareness and critical thinking among students across treatment groups. Results did not align with treatment groups: the students who watched film clips and participated in focused discussions gained knowledge but did not achieve significantly greater mean scores than those who did not participate in these treatments.

Findings support those in the research literature that holistic media literacy instruction, which incorporates aspects of creating as well as consuming entertainment products, can open new pathways of criticality about media issues. Media should be presented in context and with direction from the instructor. In eight evaluation items, some 90% of the young media makers agreed that the media violence lesson influenced their thinking and that they would consider material taught in this lesson when creating future media products.

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Date Created
2014

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Gatekeeping practices of participants in a digital media literacy massive open online course (MOOC)

Description

Long before “fake news” dominated the conversation within and about the media, media literacy advocates have championed the need for media literacy education that provides the tools for people to understand, analyze, and evaluate media messages. That the majority of

Long before “fake news” dominated the conversation within and about the media, media literacy advocates have championed the need for media literacy education that provides the tools for people to understand, analyze, and evaluate media messages. That the majority of U.S. adults now consume news on social media underscores the importance for students of all ages to be critical users of media. Furthermore, the affordances of social media to like, comment, and share news items within one’s network increases an individual’s responsibility to ascertain the veracity of news before using a social media megaphone to spread false information. Social media’s shareability can dictate how information spreads, increasing news consumers’ role as a gatekeeper of information and making media literacy education more important than ever.

This research examines the media literacy practices that news consumers use to inform their gatekeeping decisions. Using a constant comparative coding method, the author conducted a qualitative analysis of hundreds of discussion board posts from adult participants in a digital media literacy Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to identify major themes and examine growth in participants’ sense of responsibility related to sharing news information, their feeling of empowerment to make informed decisions about the media messages they receive, and how the media literacy tools and techniques garnered from the MOOC have affected their daily media interactions. Findings emphasize the personal and contextual nature of media literacy, and that those factors must be addressed to ensure the success of a media literacy education program.

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Date Created
2018

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New approaches to literacies studies in the digital and globalizing world: border-crossing discourses in the global online affinity spaces

Description

In the real world outside of schools, contemporary students are routinely reading, writing, communicating, acting, and learning internationally, translingually, and multimodally, thanks to the prevalence of digital online communication; this has taken place across students’ racial, ethnic, and linguistic identities

In the real world outside of schools, contemporary students are routinely reading, writing, communicating, acting, and learning internationally, translingually, and multimodally, thanks to the prevalence of digital online communication; this has taken place across students’ racial, ethnic, and linguistic identities and national affiliations. Today, the global online contexts are considered as one of essential literacy environments, and the globally networked online contexts might become a main stage of future literacy practices.

In this sense, this study develops new three theories about literacies studies from the perspective of the New Literacy Studies in an increasingly digitalized and globalized contemporary world. To achieve this, first, I introduced the features of a global online affinity space as a new concept. Second, I developed the theoretical claim of “complexified diversity.” Finally, I developed the theoretical concept of “Border-Crossing Discourses” on the basis of Gee’s (1990/2015) seminal idea of capital “D” Discourses. I expanded the concept of capital “D” Discourses, looking across borders at a variety of languages, nations, and broader cultures under the global view. The concept of Border-Crossing Discourses was established on the basis of the new concepts that I put forth previously of global online affinity spaces and complexified diversity.

As an example of possible supplementary empirical studies, I conducted a small piece of discourse analysis. I observed and examined literacy practices in two global online affinity spaces. They are sites devoted to K-pop fanfiction sharing (hereafter, Asianfanfics) and to Japanese anime (hereafter, Crunchyroll). In particular, I explored the aspects of multimodal and translingual practices in these spaces. Both theoretical and empirical future research will contribute to the elaboration of these theories.

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2018