Fake News to the Future of Obamacare: MOOCs Address Today’s Pressing Issues
March 23, 2017 | Rachel Lapal
Today’s social and political climate is provoking strong conversations about American democracy, fact-checking, women’s rights and healthcare access – just to name a few. These moments are opportunities to not only engage, but also to educate and ensure that people everywhere can learn about pertinent current events so that they, too, can form their own points of view and become informed global citizens.
In response, the University of Michigan has launched a new teach-out series of MOOCs modeled after the historic teach-ins staged on Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus over 50 years ago. Over half a century later, many campus leaders and students continue to employ teach-ins to foster conversations on current events. Using technology and the edX platform, U of M can now expand these dialogues to a global audience.
The first four courses in the teach-out series encourage public discourse on today’s most pressing matters. Each course lasts about one week and takes around three to four hours to complete. The upcoming courses include:
- Democratic to Authoritarian Rule: How does history help us understand today’s political climate? Discover the processes that erode democratic decision-making and structures, and how countries have shifted from democracies to authoritarian societies.
- Fake News, Facts and Alternative Facts: Increasingly, inaccurate information is shared on social networks and amplified by a growing number of explicitly partisan news outlets. Learn how to distinguish between credible news sources and identify information biases to become a critical consumer of information.
- The Future of Obamacare – Repeal, Repair or Replace?: Policy experts from the University of Michigan will discuss the economic, legal and public health implications of potential changes to the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
- Stand up for Science: Practical Approaches to Discussing Science that Matters: Everyone – non-scientists and scientists alike – has some form of expertise, but communicating across a gap in knowledge or experience is challenging. This Teach-Out addresses the challenge by helping participants to develop core communication skills and encouraging more science conversations between individuals and their local, national, and global communities.
These teach-outs provide new social learning experiences that combine the reach of MOOCs, the relevance of civic engagement and the quality of leading academic institutions.