LIB 201 – Digital Citizenship & Information as Power

Course Catalog Description

How has our access to and consumption of information changed over time? How will it change in the future? How can we be responsible citizens and media consumers in today’s information landscape? This discussion-based course will consider the history and analysis of information creation and use, with an emphasis on the news media and scholarly publishing. Students will learn to analyze the source, purpose, and quality of information and consider the ethical implications of information collection and use. Topics will include the history of the news media and propaganda, information production and ethics, evaluation of information, the movement toward a participatory culture, social media and the news, fake news and “alternative facts,” media consumption, and the 1st Amendment and media regulation. Students will also be given an in-depth introduction to the college level research process, focused on a topic of their own choosing. Students will leave the course comfortable with using library resources and able to excel at college level research. Students will also be able to critically evaluate information and analyze the creation and use of information. All majors are encouraged to enroll, and there are no prerequisites.


Amber Dashnaw
Public Services Librarian for Graduate Education
ERC 1109
Monday & Tuesday, Thurs & Friday: 8am-4:30pm
Wednesday: 10am-6:30pm

Lisa Hoover 
Public Services Librarian
ERC 1110
Monday & Tuesday, Thurs & Friday: 10am-6:30pm
Wednesday: 8am-4:30pm



  1. History of the news media: Print to the internet  
  2. History of the media: Propaganda, yellow journalism, and modern equivalents
  3. News production
  4. Media ethics & integrity
  5. Peer Review & Academic Journals
  6. Wikipedia & Topic Selection
  7. The Research Process 
  8. Evaluating Information: Fallacies 
  9. Evaluating media sources
  10. Media bias chart part 
  11. Citation & Zotero 
  12. Away from expertise: Citizen journalism, amateur science, participatory culture 
  13. ​Photos, graphics & statistics in the media
  14. Role of Governments in Data Creation & Preservation
  15. Science & health reporting 
  16. Scholarship as Conversation 
  17. Information Access/Use & Democracy
  18. ​Is reality subjective? And Alternative Facts
  19. ​Being a media consumer       
  20. The 1st Amendment
  21. Regulating the Media
  22. Marginalized knowledge 
  23. Free speech internationally
  24. ​Coverage of international issues, International Access
  25. Intellectual Property
  26. Equitable Access, Collection & Dissemination
  27. Open Access
  28. Information of the future 
  29. Privacy & Big Data in a Digital Age


  1. Media Bias Chart – 20%
  2. Reflective Essays – 15%
  3. Research Project – 40%
    1. The components of your research project will be worth the following percent of your grade for that project:
      1. Mind Map – 5%
      2. Topic Proposal – 15%
      3. Research Journal – 30%
      4. Final Project – 35%
      5. In Class Presentation – 15%
  4. Participation – 25%

What Will I Learn?

  1. Students will understand the importance of responsible media consumption and be able to discuss the role of the media in society.
    1. Students will be able to discuss the role of the 1st Amendment in the news media in order to evaluate the tension between the 1st Amendment and attempts to remedy the problem of “fake news.” 
    2. Students will be familiar with copyright and intellectual property, and be able to discuss the issues surrounding remix culture and participatory culture.
    3. Students will be able to discuss how to share information responsibility, and the need for responsible distribution of information. 
  2. Students will be able to evaluate media sources and stories in order to strategically explore the origin and value of a source.
    1. Students will be familiar with the history of news media and be able to discuss changes to the process of creating information in order to understand the origin of information. 
    2. Students will be familiar with and able to discuss the history of “fake news” and its effect on society in order to reflect on the value of quality information.
    3. Students will be able to discuss modern media ethics in order to understand the authority and context of a source. 
    4. Students will be able to analyze media for indicators of quality and reliability. 
  3. Students will be able to follow the steps of a research inquiry in order to be prepared for college level research.
    1. Students will be able to choose a topic, do preliminary research, and formulate a research question. 
    2. Students will be familiar with the steps of the research process 
    3. Students will be familiar with the philosophy behind citation and will become comfortable creating citations. 
    4. Students will be able to identify various sources of information, differentiate between types of information, and select and use the information they find. 
  4. Students will understand the issues surrounding equitable access to information and be able to discuss information privilege in order to contribute to societal discourse.  
    1. Students will be able to discuss issues related to diversity in information creation. 
    2. Students will be able to discuss issues related to access to information. 
    3. Students will be familiar with the concept of “marginalized knowledge.”