The phenomenon of fake news has become a hot topic, ironically, of major news outlets in recent months. News stories are being presented as fact without any substantial backing in truth. There are many reasons why fake news happens and is promulgated. They vary from personal monetary gain to accidental, well-intentioned spread of misinformation.
With so many reasons tempting so many people to promulgate fake news, how do you know what sources to trust? How do you know the supposed rise of fake news isn’t merely a fake news story itself, anyway? Penn Libraries can help with that.
During the month of January, Penn Libraries will be offering a three-part Information Literacy Workshop series about evaluating news sources. Each workshop will highlight a different kind of misinformation while preparing participants to recognize and mediate false information in their own news consumption.
A workshop entitled Fake News: Pinpointing Lies, Hoaxes, and Conspiracy Theories will kick off the series and takes place on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 from 3-4:30pm in the Weigle Information Commons Seminar Room. This installation focuses on evaluating false information.
The next two workshops feature strategies for identifying Slippery News and Shoddy News – distinctions that have recently become necessary. In brief, slippery news refers to stories that aren’t meant to maliciously deceive but are hotbeds for misinformation. The shoddy news workshop, on the other hand, will link news reports of research to the research itself in an attempt to decipher which stories are sourced with verifiable research and which utilize papers with unsound methodologies.
Attending any one of these workshops can help you sift through the massive amounts of ambiguous information available on the internet everyday. Attending the workshop as a series will give you nuanced insight into the different types of unreliable information out there and provide you with tools to think critically and avoid consuming that misinformation.
We recently bid farewell to Chao Xiang, our desk intern and resident Excel expert for the past two years. Chao has started an exciting new job in Manhattan.
During his time here, Chao shared Excel tips at dozens of workshops, and helped build our Excel Guide. We heard rave reviews about his teaching, and people routinely came to sit next to him for one-on-one Excel assistance at the WIC desk.
Working with Chao was such a pleasure for all of us. He staffed the WIC desk as well as the Vitale Digital Media Lab, and met every request with enthusiasm. I remember fondly when he coined the motto: “WICshops – we leave no patron behind” for his Excel Basics workshops.
I asked Chao how he keeps up to date on new Excel techniques. He described to me in fascinating detail his elaborate process for browsing YouTube tutorials. He starts with a complex search string, and then looks over the cover image and descriptions for the videos found. When a video passes this screening, he then watches a few seconds at the beginning and in the middle. Only after these preliminaries does he decide whether to watch a tutorial video.
We’ll be planning out Excel workshops for fall semester soon – do let us know your suggestions. (Maybe we will ask Chao to consider a virtual visit!)
In the Microsoft Office 2010 Suite, there are several new features. We will be presenting workshops in August and September to review these features, but here is a breakdown of some of the new things you can do in PowerPoint.
Sections: With Sections, you can create subgroups to better organize and manipulate your slides and apply transitions.
Video options: You can make adjustments to the look of your video such as adding a frame and color mask, and you can bookmark specific places within a video and trim unwanted portions.
Collaborating: The review feature in Word and Excel is now available in PowerPoint; you can easily add comments and track changes made to a presentation.
Sharing: Save your presentation as a video that you can embed in a website or upload to YouTube. Sign up for a free Windows Live account, and you can upload your files to SkyDrive, or create a Web link to your presentation, and broadcast it live over the Internet.
Want to learn more? Stop by the Information Commons to use our subscription to Lynda.com. There are three Lynda training videos on the new features in Office 2010:
Looking to expand your tech toolkit? Workshops for July include special presentations on cloud computing, creating ePub files, and Adobe Connect. Many thanks to our guest presenters John MacDermott and Anita Mastroieni.
Life in the Cloud: Cloud-based free services are appearing everywhere and growing in popularity. This workshop, presented by John MacDermott, Director of Instructional Technology for the School of Arts and Sciences, is designed for beginner users and will provide an overview of when to use, and when to avoid such services. John will discuss Dropbox, Google Docs, Penn-specific cloud storage and other popular services for storing and sharing your information. He will provide guidelines on privacy concerns and best practices for cloud use.
Creating ePub Documents with InDesign: This session will focus on creating ePub files using Adobe InDesign. Attendees should have solid working knowledge of how to use InDesign. We will discuss workflow, different format options. Jesse will demonstrate converting a traditional InDesign file into a functional ePub for use with various e-readers.
Adobe Connect for Student Outreach: Adobe Connect can provide a robust, flexible way to conduct online orientation and welcome sessions with large groups of students scattered around the world. Dr. Anita Mastroieni, Director of the Graduate Student Center and Family Resource Center, will share her experiences running a successful series of events for incoming graduate students and discuss ways to get started with online outreach events.
The From Assignments to References series, now in its third year, has proven to be effective in bringing together the expertise of WIC Program Partners. Dr. Fayyaz Vellani from the Writing Center presented an Edit and Revise workshop that inspired this comment: