Fighting Bias to Find Credibility: The Demand for Digital Literacy

Sponsored by Modern Language Association

Recorded on 01/27/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 109

Are ‘.org’ websites still more trustworthy than ‘.com’ ones? If a source has been tampered with, is it still a primary source? How do we teach students what is trustworthy or not if it’s something we’re just supposed to know?

In this week’s episode, Ellen Carillo, assistant professor at the University of Connecticut, discusses authority online, or lack thereof, the differences between primary and secondary sources, and how “seeking out perspectives that don’t align with your own can help students mitigate the consequences of bias.” Carillo reasons that teaching students how to understand their own partiality and reactions to news stories can help them separate background from fact, therefore helping determine the credibility of a digital source.

Carillo hopes the lesson plans in her latest book, the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy, will teach students how to “go from searching for, collecting, and synthesizing sources to constructing their own knowledge, their own definitions.” Carillo unpacks why the book’s media bias chart and lessons are fantastic tools to teach digital literacy skills, skills she hopes will stick long past graduation.


About the guest:

Ellen Carillo
Associate Professor
University of Connecticut

Ellen C. Carillo is associate professor of English and writing coordinator at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of many articles and books, including, most recently, the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy (2019) as well as Teaching Readers in Post-truth America (2018), A Writer’s Guide to Mindful Reading (2017), and Securing a Place for Reading in Composition: The Importance of Teaching for Transfer (2015).