Scaffolding Student PErspectives for Critical Thinking

What is the problem?

The issue of biased information is a societal issue which influences all of us. Examples include the recent European referendum vote in the UK, and the US presidential election.  There has been a surge in the number of resources online that are misleading or false. A recent white paper described the ability of learners to assess such information sources as "dismaying," "bleak" and "[a] threat to democracy." Teaching facilitators have the ability and responsibility to educate their learners, not only in their areas of expertise, but also teach them how to think in a balanced way about the information they consume. While this has long been the role of educational institutions to nurture such skills, the means to do so need to evolve in pace with the ecosystem that our students are learning in.

What are we doing about it?

As a response, this project addresses how to help students critically evaluate and respond to online resources. SuSPECT is a short project funded by the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning, running from March 2017-March 2018. SuSPECT is a project aimed at helping learners develop more balanced thinking for materials they find online. This approach evaluates the efficacy of debate in the classroom, by building on the existing rbutr online argumentation system. This project aims to help learners not only assess the veracity of online resources, but also develop more nuanced and balanced thinking.