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Teaching the Conspiracies

A 2-Week Deep Dive Micro-Credential Course 
for Emerging and Established Leaders

Building upon the success of the first micro-credential course "Teaching the Conspiracies" in February's MediaEd Institute, we are thrilled to offer a new follow up with four new modules of online professional learning experience for educators who want to advance their expertise in media literacy education -- but also need the flexibility and low cost of online learning.


MICRO-CREDENTIAL COURSE: Teaching the Conspiracies: Part II - Historical & Contemporary

DURATION: July 21 - August 5, 2024

MEETING DATES: July 22nd, July 29th and August 5th, 2024

TIME: 12-1PM EST (9AM PST/18:00 CET) and other times that are convenient for your busy schedule (total time commitment is 6 hours during two weeks)

LOCATION: Real Time Learning on Zoom plus Anytime Learning on the Media Education Lab's Pathwright LMS 

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Wesley Fryer




Course Description

The 2-week course "Teaching the Conspiracies: Part II - Historical & Contemporary" offers educators and adults an essential toolkit for navigating and understanding the complex landscape of conspiracy theories. Participants will explore historical and contemporary conspiracies, learning to apply the SIFT (Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace) web literacy framework and lateral reading techniques to evaluate online information critically. The course emphasizes creating and sharing media products like sketchnotes and InfoPics, engaging in reflective discussions, and fostering informed citizenship. Through interactive learning and practical assignments, participants will develop enhanced critical thinking and media literacy skills, gaining insights into the cultural impact of conspiracy theories and their role in civic responsibility. This course not only enriches professional portfolios with a completion certificate but also prepares participants to teach and facilitate media literacy lessons effectively.

#ConCW is the hashtag for the “Conspiracies and Culture Wars” media literacy inquiry project:  

Course Structure

This is a seven hour course spread over two weeks (July 21st till August 5th). The hybrid model of real-time and any time involves watching videos, reading, and class discussion (Sessions two, five and seven are mandatory scheduled live discussion).

Week 1: Historical Conspiracy Theories

Module 1 (Anytime, Open on July 21st): Conspiracy Theories of Medieval Europe
  • Explore: How antisemitic conspiracy theories fueled violence and persecution in medieval times.
  • Media: Articles, videos, and podcasts on historical conspiracy theories.
  • Activities: Anytime discussion board discussions. Create and share sketchnotes summarizing key points.
Zoom Meeting (Real Time on Monday, July 22nd): Welcome, instructions, Q&A
Module 2 (Anytime, Open on July 24th): Cold War Conspiracies
  • Explore: Operation Paperclip, U.S.-sponsored coups, JFK assassination, and the National Security State.
  • Media: Videos, podcasts, and articles on Cold War conspiracies.
  • Activities: Anytime discussion board discussions. Create and share InfoPics highlighting significant events and their impacts.
Zoom Meeting (Real Time on Monday, July 29th): Reflect on and discuss Modules 1 and 2


Week 2: Contemporary Conspiracy Theories

Module 3 (Anytime, Open on July 28th): From GamerGate to QAnon
  • Explore: The rise of GamerGate, PizzaGate, QAnon, and the influence of right-wing extremists and Flat Earthers.
  • Media: Documentaries, podcasts, and articles about these contemporary issues.
  • Activities: Anytime discussion board discussions.Create and share sketchnotes /  narrated sketchnotes discussing the evolution and impact of these conspiracies.
Module 4: Satirical and Dangerous Modern Conspiracies
  • Explore: "Birds Aren't Real" satirical conspiracy, Sandy Hook, Parkland shootings, and the January 6th Capitol insurrection.
  • Media: Satirical videos, news reports, and articles on these events.
  • Activities: Anytime discussion board discussions. Reflective essays on the impact of these conspiracies on public perception and policy.
Zoom Meeting (Real Time on Friday, August 5th): Reflect on and discuss Modules 3 and 4

Learning Outcomes

By participating in this micro-credential course, you can expect to: 

📌 Gain Historical and Contemporary Knowledge: Understand the evolution and impact of conspiracy theories from historical and contemporary perspectives.

📌 Develop Critical Media Literacy Skills: Apply the SIFT web literacy framework and lateral reading techniques to evaluate online information critically.

📌 Create and Share Media Products: Enhance learning by creating InfoPics, sketchnotes and narrated sketchnotes, as well as annotated media files..

📌 Engage in Reflective Discussions: Participate in discussions (live/realtime and “anytime”) about the cultural impact of conspiracy theories.

📌 Foster Informed Citizenship: Recognize the role of understanding conspiracy theories in responsible civic participation.


Instructional Practices 

The micro-credential course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive and balanced understanding of media literacy, combining theoretical knowledge with practical skills and emphasizing the importance of collaboration and networking within a vibrant cohort of educators and professionals. As experts in online professional development, you'll get hands-on, minds-on learning opportunities to do these things: 

Critical Media Analysis: Participants will learn to critically analyze media content, including news, advertising, and entertainment, to identify biases, misinformation, and persuasive techniques commonly used in media production.

Creative Expression: Educators will create media to learn to apply effective strategies and pedagogical approaches for teaching media literacy in diverse educational settings, enabling them to design engaging lessons and resources for their students.

Dialogue, Discussion, Collaborative Learning and Networking: Participants will actively engage in dialogue and collaboration with fellow educators, activists, and community leaders, fostering a supportive and diverse professional network for sharing ideas and best practices in media literacy education.


Who Will Attend

This is a micro-credential course that brings together diverse professionals who see opportunities to apply media literacy education to their work and life contexts. Because our approach at the Media Education Lab is that "Everyone Learns from Everyone," participants contribute valuable perspectives to collaborative discussions, enhancing the overall learning experience within the institute. There are many benefits to interacting with people including: 

Classroom Teachers, Librarians, and Higher Education Faculty: Educators at every level will deepen their pedagogy and practice and develop resources and materials they can use in their classrooms.

Journalists and Media Professionals: Media professionals enhance their media literacy skills to improve their reporting and storytelling, as well as to navigate the ethical and political challenges of the evolving media landscape.

Staff and Leaders of Nonprofit and Advocacy Organizations: Staff members and leaders from nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups learn how to harness media literacy to raise awareness about their causes, counter misinformation, and engage with the public effectively.

Community Leaders and Activists: Local community leaders, activists, and grassroots organizers can use media literacy skills to better communicate their messages, mobilize support, and engage with diverse communities effectively.


NOTE: The Media Education Lab is committed to providing equitable access to this institute and has a limited amount of funding to provide discounted registrations for a select number of participants. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship that would provide a 50% discount to the micro-credential, please complete this form before July 1st, 2024.