Web literacy for student fact-checkers.jpg

In Digital literacies for online learning (LiDA101) we explored frameworks for evaluating the credibility and reliability of scholarly online resources. However, media literacy also requires that you develop web skills for fact-checking in the contemporary digital world of “fake news”.

Practical example

Consider for example, this reflection published by Maha Bali on a falsification story that circulated through social media in Egypt. It is not clear what the original intentions of the falsifier were, but this provides a practical illustration of the importance of the skills of discernment when viewing online media.

Prescribed text

The following text is prescribed for this learning pathway:

Caulfield, M. A. (2017). Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

You can use the online version, download the pdf version or epub version.


Meet Mike Caulfield

Michael Caulfield is Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, Vancouver, USA. He is also editor of the New Horizons column for EDUCAUSE Review. Mike is the author of the prescribed text for this learning pathway.

What do you think professional fact checkers do on the web that ordinary members of the pubic don’t? Share you thoughts and tips for becoming an accomplished web reader by posting a note on WENotes.

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Four moves and a habit

Read part 1, Four moves and a habit, of Caulfield, M. A. (2017). Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. In this introduction, Mike suggests four strategies and a valuable tip in checking your emotions.

The four moves are listed below with corresponding examples of the techniques you can apply.

Move Example technique[1]
Look for trusted / previous work
  • Look for coverage in Google News archive search

  • Scan for fact-checking sites

Go upstream to the source
  • Follow links to the source

  • Use reverse image search to source a photo

Read laterally
  • Check Wikipedia background on organisation

  • If Wikipedia coverage doesn’t exist, check for Google news coverage of the organisation

Circle back
  • If you hit a dead end, back up and start over knowing what you know now.


  1. Adapted from Caufield, M. 2018. Civix releases new online media literacy videos.