Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Ideas for Useful Assignments for my Dig Lit class


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So I’ve been thinking of a few assignment ideas for my class that I think might produce something OER-like for future students to use, or for others in the world to benefit from. Here are the broad ideas

  1. Whole class “fake vs true” assignment where students work in pairs and then add all their material to ONE place. They create or curate (up to them) memes and infographics and such… some of which are true, and some fake or partly fake… so maybe each pair produces 3 of these. Then we include all of the class’s contributions in one space (so for 25 students I would get roughly 12 pairs, 3 contributions, remove any duplicates, end up with maybe 30 of these. We can discuss how best to poll people on them on campus or online. This is inspired by a suggestion from last semester which we as a class modified into this version.
  2. Individual assignment about “digitally literate Egyptians” where they pick a particular Egyptian social media phenomenon and write about them. A YouTuber, blogger, instagrammer… or a hashtag or facebook group. Someone who’s using their digital literacy to do something in Egypt. I could then curate these somewhere and others in class could use them. Perhaps a class assignment after this would be for students to develop their own understanding of what digital literacy is or what dimensions it should have for their own contexts. Maybe. I’ve had students hack Bloom’s taxonomy really well before. Digital literacies are at least multifaceted and more contested, so why not?
  3. Digital Literacy Awareness campaign. Students often wanna give back when they take this course. I thought they could take any aspect of the course they wanted, in pairs or trios, and either develop a brief awareness campaign on it (post on YouTube, create electronic posters, etc) and share to a community (their colleagues, school kids, etc) OR they could research the level of awareness on campus to see how well understood something is (e.g. how secure people’s passwords are, or how deeply aware of their biases).

What do you think?


  1. There’s a lot to like here (especially as we think of how to connect with our #netnarr projects).

    (1) I worry some about absolute labels of fake vs true, it boils things down to binaries, but can see a collection of things like the raw material in the Fourmoves blog. I’ve been intrigued to see some of Mike Caulfield examples of stories that people would label fake as being actually true; this seems a bigger challenge than coming up with something very fake. The real challenge is to create them so it’s not too easy to get to the answer– but having them pairs of them is a great concept. Also, when polling people, in addition to them issuing a “fake” or “true” answer, will be good to know what is the basis for their decision.

    (2) The second one will be a fantastic curation, and I like how it could be a person, organization, or even as hashtag. Is it really a matter of how digitally literate they are or more of how effective they are at achieving their goal through digital means? Maybe it’s the same, but “literacy” seems loaded as a qualifier (maybe that’s what you want them to push at).

    (3) Sort of like public service announcements? It might work if they narrow it to a particular aspect of digital literacy; I really like the way the digital detox breaks it down a bit more.

    But all in all good ideas with space for them to be creative in what they produce.

    • Thanks Alan. For number 1, I definitely hope they nuance it. Perhaps I can give them labels beyond true and fake, with true but misrepresented (some of Mike’s are like this) or probably true and probably fake.. the nuance is important. I actually try hard to ensure in class we do those true(ish) ones that seem fake because it’s important for students to believe as well as doubt. And I think contextual ones are really important- what you know about something helps you figure out if it’s suspicious or not

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