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Crash Course Launches New Series on Navigating Digital Information

I’ve mentioned before that I watch very little “regular” TV and a lot of YouTube. Not just music videos or cats playing the piano (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but shows like Real Engineering and FliteTest and … oh, all right, and Carol Burnett comedy sketches and UK panel shows.

A channel I quite like is called Crash Course; it’s at https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse . Instead of covering just one topic, Crash Course does series on a variety of topics including science, astronomy, and biology. Crash Course series I have enjoyed include Sociology (completed), World Mythology (completed) and Engineering (still in progress.)

Crash Course has launched a new series you may want to check out. It’s called Crash Course Navigating Digital Information. Only two videos are out at this writing, but if it’s like the other Crash Course series there will be a new one out every week.

This course is a collaboration between Crash Course and Mediawise (more information about Mediawise is in the first video of the series). Often in the Crash Course series I watch, there’s a little introductory video that comes out a week or so before the regular series, but with this one you’re just thrown right in. Still, host John Green (the author and vlogger) outlines the problems with the Internet as far as finding and evaluating information, and outlines the ten episodes of this series and what they’ll cover. (The Crash Course series I’ve watched in the past have usually been around 40 episodes.)

Screenshot from 2019 01 20 13 27 15

I watched the second episode (on fact-checking) Saturday night. While there were some points I thought could be stronger (felt the hypothetical example about plastic straw use, “Steelseller002,” and Twitter was a bit obvious) overall I found this a solid foundation to start talking about fact-checking, with three questions to ask to assist in your evaluation of information. The video also had an example that made me cringe but is so important to discuss: students evaluating an organization by the design quality of its Web site. Eeek.

The videos so far are clocking in at between 13 and 15 minutes (this is standard for Crash Course in my experience.) The graphics and animations combined with the gentle humor make them engaging and easy to watch. And never when watching Crash Course videos have I ever seen something that would make me reluctant to show the video to my Granny or to a kid.

Seems weird to point you toward YouTube, which has come under fire lately for its weird recommendations and its extremist content, for a video series on navigating digital information. But based on the first two videos I think the series will be great. I also think the Internet would be a lot better off if people were more aware of critical thinking and fact-checking strategies.

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