Spring 2018 Hacker

“Hack or be hacked! Program or be programmed. Programming is the Latin of our empire. It is the literacy that forms the basis of citizenship in the Internet era. They don’t need to become experts but they need to know the logic behind technology.” –Jesse Hirst, CBC Technology Columnist

Hacker Badge
West-Puckett Claim Code: B67-AB31-204 • Shepley Claim Code: 9C1-9C19-E81 • Kim Claim Code: E0A-EA59-54A

This badging pathway will introduce you to the practices of hacking, exploring different ways hacking is perceived, categorized, and implemented in digital and physical environments. As you move through this badge, you’ll develop your own hacker ethos and capacity by engaging both digital and physical hacking projects. On your journey, you’ll hack your education plans and either hack a web page or and a public space, learning a bit about the digital and social codes that operate in the systems and the ways you can intervene to create new futures and possibilities.

This badging pathway has been hacked! Recent events require that we seriously consider the relationship between literacy, democracy, and fake news. What does it mean to be literate in the information age? Why is media literacy necessary? What price does our democracy pay when citizen are duped by fake news and political propaganda?

In this badging pathway, you will explore your own media consumption and circulation patterns and work to understand and articulate why you trust the sources that you do. You’ll explore recent media-fueled events events like Pizzagate, events with very real consequences spawned by the production and circulation of fake news. You’ll use your evaluative skills to identify fake news and common strategies that the producers of such clickbait employ. Finally, in the culminating project, you’ll use Mozilla X-ray Googles to “hack” a fake news story, working to correct deceptive language, rewrite poorly written headlines, provide verifiable facts, and use trust-worthy evidence to counter spurious claims.

Note: mThis is a research-intensive badge.

Level I Activities

  • How do you get your news? On which devices? Through which platforms or applications? Where does this news come from? What specific kinds of news do you follow? What news do you trust? Which of the following factors matter to you and in which order? Accuracy? Timeliness? Clarity and concise writing? Demographics of the reporters? Balanced reporting? Comprehensiveness? Convenience and Entertainment Value? Write a 250 word analysis of your news consumption patterns.
  • Read the results of this survey about what makes people trust the news published by the American Press Institute in 2016. Note that there are 10 sections that you should read. Write a 250 word summary of the survey (state the main ideas from each of the ten sections) and then write a 250 word response, noting how your own news consumption patterns are similar to and different from the findings published in the survey. In the response, choose two or three findings from the survey to focus your discussion around.

Level II Activities

What is fake news? Why do people write it? Why do we read and share it? What impact, if any, does fake news have– personally? socially? politically? What’s to be done about it and how? Read and electronically annotate the following articles:

Write a 750 word short essay that addresses the questions above. Use material from these sources to support your claims, making sure to paraphrase, directly quote (sparingly!), and cite according to guidelines covered in the HOM badgeResources.

Assembling a toolkit to spot fake news. The news literacy project has put together a set of 10 questions (with subquestions) to help consumers spot fake news. Use them here to decide which of the following are trustworthy and which are untrustworthy sources.

Level III

  • Read about and Activate Mozilla X-Ray Googles. Play around with the program, learning how it works.
  • Choose a fake digital news story, one listed in Activity II or one that you find on your own, to “hack.” You will eventually rewrite the story to produce an evidence-based, accurate, fair, and credible article, targeted to your WRT 104 peers. Your fake news hack must be centered around the same topic as the fake news story, and your article should be appropriate for publication in The Good Five Cent Cigar. You should work to rewrite the text and change the images, links, or other material on the fake news website.
  • Create a design plan for your website hack and share with your instructor for feedback.
  • Using credible sources (3-5 minimum), write a draft on the original website using X-Ray Googles to change text, pictures, and video. Remember to use your sources to correct inaccuracies and to help you write a fair, accurate, and credible article.
  • Have a classmate provide a full peer review of your news hack. Write out a detailed report of the peer review that includes names, date, and time of the review as well as their comments, criticisms, and suggestions to revision.
  • Revise your fake news hack.
  • Write a three (3) minute script for your screencast. In your script you should describe your news hack, the rhetorical situation, and some of the most important choices you made about production and revision. In the last two minutes of the screencast, state whether or not you think fake news presents a serious threat to democracy. Why or why not?
  • Use the script as a basis for creating a screen-cast exploring your website hack using Jing or Screencast-o-matic.

Required evidence for to submit in Google Folders for this pathway:

Level 1

  • News Consumption Analysis (GDoc)
  • Summary/Response to API Survey (GDoc)

Level 2

  • Short essay on Fake News (GDoc)
  • 8 annotated PDF’s/ 1 for each news story (PDF’s)

Level 3

  • Design Plan for Fake News Hack Article (GDoc)
  • Fake News Article Hack (Link)
  • Peer Review (GDoc)
  • Screen Cast Video (Link)
  • Video Transcript (GDoc)

Student Examples