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Class Descriptions

Social Work Practice in the Era of Fake News


Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeElective
Interpersonal Practice
Mgmt & LeadershipElective
Policy & PoliticalElective (Host)
Program EvaluationElective
Older Adults
Children & Families

Course Description

The term “post-truth,” the Oxford Dictionaries 2016 Word of the Year, reflects an era where everyone is a few clicks away from information that supports any goal, belief, or outcome desired whether or not that information is factual. Evaluating information and recognizing “fake news” is a critical skill for everyone. For social workers, advocates, policy makers, and others responsible for human well-being, it’s essential to find reliable data and other evidence to promote best practice and avoid the dangers of inaccurate information. Skill in locating and evaluating information can also help a practitioner work with clients and others who bring incorrect information into an interaction.


Through this course, students will be able to:
● Understand the phenomenon of fake news in the information landscape;
● Build strategies for spotting fake news;
● Learn best approaches to locate “real” news;
● Learn how to fact-check data and statistics;
● Understand the ways in which information is organized, structured, and delivered to support the dominant social narratives in the U.S.


The course will utilize a combination of lecture, in class exercises, and discussion.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

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