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Upcoming pop-up course explores ‘fake news’

By Jose Herrera, March 23, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona’s Office of Academic Innovation is introducing its third pop-up course for the upcoming fall semester. CPU 1540, Lies, Damned Lies and Politics, will revolve around understanding media bias, why people believe misinformation or conspiracies and the division politics and technology has created within society.

The course, available to all majors and without prerequisites, will be taught by three experts: Shonn Haren, coordinator of instruction at the University Library, Assistant Professor of Marketing Randy Stein and Associate Professor of Political Science Neil Chaturvedi.

In an age of social media and a rapid spread of misinformation, Stein believes it is important for students to be educated and consume news responsibly.

“We’re in a time where we are surrounded by misinformation as bias. If I were to look up the ‘COVID-19 Relief Bill’ right now on a search engine, I’d get a variety of different answers depending on what site I visit,” Stein said. “The goal is to teach students how to be a consumer of news but navigate it intelligently.”

A 2020 study published by the Gallup and Knight Foundation, it was revealed that nearly three in four Americans (74%) say news outlets they don’t trust are trying to persuade the public instead of reporting fairly or accurately. In addition to public distrust, the study also found that at least 46% of Americans see believe there is political bias in news coverage.

Not only will the course offer preparation for insightful conversations to have at the dinner table but recently appointed Associate Vice President for Academic Innovation Olukemi Sawyerr also sees the course as a rare opportunity for professors from different departments to collaborate.

“Most of the problems of the world today require multiple disciplines,” Sawyerr said. “The three faculty members teaching the course designed the course from scratch. You could imagine how powerful the class is going to be, to be in a class learning and engaging in conversation with these three experts.”

Olukemi explained that the goal of these pop-up courses are to educate students on topics that are relevant in today’s world, such as COVID-19, news and artificial intelligence. Olukemi even mentioned the possibility of having implemented a pop-up course based on cryptocurrency. The unique experience enables students to get involved and become proactive in timely issues. ongoing events.

Megan Willison, a third-year psychology major, is considering signing up for the course and advising her friends to take it.

“There is so much misinformation out there, people will see something on the internet and believe it, instead of actually reading into it,” Willison said. “This course is good for the school and it’s always good to get educated on these topics.”

The pop-up course will be available when fall registration opens on April 5 and count toward the GE area E requirement. For more information, students can visit CPP’s pop-up course webpage here.

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