Global Interdisciplinary College Course: Wired IDS394

Are you looking for lessons to teach your students how to interact online with benevolent intention and personal safeguards? This spring semester, I teach a component of an interdisciplinary college course on technology called, Wired, with a dozen other professors and librarians that will address this topic. This course is part of an ongoing curriculum design project at Spring Hill College overseen by their Global Steering Committee. Past interdisciplinary courses have covered broad topics such as food, garbage, and water. Instructors from various disciplines address the topic according to their areas of expertise (e.g., business, nursing, philosophy) in a concerted effort.

Our current draft syllabus breaks the course into these units: Self & Society, Information, and Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. We have tentatively selected this book as our course text: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (Alter, 2018). Instructors will provide additional readings according to their disciplines. There will be two personal technology projects on (1) device usage and (2) the impact that platforms have on information consumed. This web-enhanced course will utilize our learning management system and Google Drive for extended activities such as discussions, assignments, as well as hosting content.

I will teach two face-to-face lessons for the Information unit in a computer lab. First, I focus on the use of technology for monitoring students’ personal online identity and the corresponding safeguards for protecting it. Second, I focus on the use of fact-checking sites to verify online information. See my lesson plans below. This is part one in a series on this course. Future blog posts will share my technology checklist for conducting a personal online identity checkup, a rubric for evaluating digital fact-checking sites, and reflections on my lessons’ outcomes. I am very excited about teaching these lessons on my campus because I have not taught for my College. My regular job duties include instructional design and educational technology training for the campus. 

Wired IDS394 Lesson Plans 

Unit II: Information 

Subunit: Critically Interacting Online with Benevolent Intention & Personal Safeguards

Big Question:What types of technology do we need to understand more about?” (SHC Global Steering Committee)

Daily Themes

  • February 25th – Discuss book
  • February 27th – Personal Online Identity
  • March 1st – Veritas

Learning Goals: Three interconnected goals address the technology and skills necessary for the digitally connected 21st century student to function without being misled or their identity misused.

  1. Students will conduct a check-up on their online identity (e.g., cleanse unprofessional social media posts, search for name and images online, & close old accounts or otherwise reduce digital footprint) and increase the safety of their personal data through restricted settings.
  2. Students will evaluate software applications that detect misinformation, weak claims, and bias of online content (e.g., social media, search engine results, & news feeds) to determine which ones are most effective and for which types of content and platforms.
  3. Students will use critical reading and thinking skills and seek primary and varied sources to determine the quality of the online information they read.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

  1. Students will self-monitor their online interactions and embrace precaution in terms of sharing content to safeguard their privacy for personal and professional reasons.
  2. Students will learn to use various software applications to critically analyze the veracity of online information and state the importance of doing so.
  3. Students will engage in critical reading and thinking strategies and seek credible artefacts necessary for navigating our post-truth society to avoid perpetuating disinformation.

Assigned Readings (to be completed prior to class)

February 27th – Personal Online Identity


Internet safety and cyber security awareness for college students. (N.D.) Retrieved from


Bates, C. (2018). Take charge of your online reputation. Educause. Retrieved from

March 1st – Veritas


Sandra Rogers. (2018, April 22). Navigating post-truth societies: Strategies, resources, and technologies [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Sandra Rogers. (2018, September 7). Interview with the creators of Hoaxy [Web log post]. Retrieved from



  • Personal Online Identity: Students will consider using basic online identity system checks (e.g., reverse image search, Google Alerts for name, compare search engine results, & publicly published Facebook profile photos and information) to review their current digital footprint and reflect on these in course discussion forums by prioritizing short-term tasks and committing to a long-term plan of prevention and/or weeding. Possible remediation strategies include the following: tighten security settings of social media accounts, use of alphanumeric/symbolic phrase passwords, delete unprofessional social media posts, and reduce digital footprint (e.g., use stealth searches, close old accounts, unsubscribe to emails/notifications). A checklist will be used to guide students in this and other related activities during this week’s interactive sessions. There will be 30-minutes of computer lab time provided in class to begin checking their online identity. For homework, students will post their short and long-term goals to the Schoology discussion thread based on their personal needs for their online identity.
  • Veritas: Students will evaluate the following software programs that decipher the trustworthiness of the online content they read: Fake News Detector AI browser extension for all websites, Official Media Bias/Fact Check browser extension for Facebook use, Hoaxy, TruthorFiction, Politifact, Snopes, FactCheck, and others deemed noteworthy by students and peers. A rubric will be provided to evaluate these fact-checking sites. There will be 30-minutes of computer lab time provided in class to begin evaluating sites. For homework, students will post to the Schoology discussion thread the importance of fact checking in today’s post-truth society regarding their future career path and provide their preferred tool(s) and rationale.

Course Resources



Browne, M. (2017). Verification FAQs [Video file]. Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. Boston, MA: Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved from
Browne, M. (2017). Browser extensions [Video file]. Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. Boston, MA: Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved from
Government Publishing Office. Authentication. Retrieved from


Additional Lesson and Project

*Note: The following content was not selected for this SHC course but might prove useful for yours. This could serve as a third day of content. The aforementioned learning goal and SLO #3 are for this activity.

  • Critical Thinking & Reading: Students will work in pairs to develop a job aid of critical reading and thinking strategies and artefact verification practices to consider when determining the veracity of information (e.g., noting news signifiers of intent, currency, relevancy, provenance, & source). Students will share their job aids (PDFs) with one another in the Schoology Media Album and peers will post critical comments on their usefulness and shortcomings. Students will also submit their job aid to the Schoology Assignment for a grade. A web quest and rubric are provided for this job aid in the course resources below.

Assigned Readings

Critical Thinking & Reading


Sandra Rogers. (2018, June 21).The challenges of combating online fake news: A review of Dead Reckoning [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Course Resources

Critical Thinking & Reading



Molly Beestrum’s CRAP test for evaluating websites. Retrieved from


Sandra Rogers. The critical reader [Digital magazine]. Retrieved from

Sandra Rogers. Critical thinking job aids [WebQuest]. Zunal. Retrieved from



Feel free to use my technology use lessons. Let us know how you might incorporate it into your courses. Provide any suggestions you might have in terms of lessons, software, and instructional strategies in the comment section below.

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