Online website helps people critically analyze propaganda
To increase people’s awareness of the many forms of contemporary propaganda and help teachers advance new ideas for critically analyzing propaganda in today’s digital world, Professor Renee Hobbs at the Media Education Lab in the Department of Communication Studies at URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media is launching Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda (www.mindovermedia.tv), an educational website where people can share, discuss and analyze examples of propaganda that they find in entertainment, news and advertising and from government, industry and education.
The Mind Over Media website contains diverse examples of contemporary propaganda on a wide range of social, political, economic and environmental topics. Users can upload examples of propaganda they find in everyday life and rate them on a scale from “harmful” to “beneficial,” offering comments about the examples to discuss their interpretations and reflect on their meanings and implications. A six-lesson curriculum unit on contemporary propaganda, designed for high school students and aligned with Common Core standards, is available at the website. Teachers can advance students’ digital literacy using the website to create a private, custom online gallery for students to analyze propaganda with members of their class.
Because people tend to retain emotionally compelling messages, propaganda can become internalized, remembered as information and not recognized as misinformation. “This website encourages people to increase awareness of propaganda by reflecting upon and analyzing messages through social media,” explained Hobbs. “We’re aiming to create opportunities for online analysis activities that promote digital literacy and activate critical thinking.”