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Civic Online Reasoning in Your Teaching Context

This activity, adapted from our professional learning framework, provides an opportunity to brainstorm how you can integrate Civic Online Reasoning (COR) into the subjects you teach. Consider each of the questions below. It may be helpful to have a course outline or syllabus to reference. 

1. What topics do you cover that could offer opportunities to evaluate online information? 

Topics of social and political importance often offer a wealth of sources to evaluate, especially topics for which there is some disagreement or controversy. It’s not necessary to choose topics for which competing perspectives are equally valid. One-sided public debates can be useful because they frequently yield sources of varying reliability. Unreliable sources offer opportunities for students to practice ferreting out disinformation and identifying questionable sites. Climate change, for example, offers a wealth of online sources of varying reliability and allows science teachers to teach students to evaluate the financial and political motivations of corporate front groups posing as research organizations. Bogus historical claims provide history students opportunities to evaluate the reliability and relevance of evidence on social media. 

2. How does COR align with your curriculum?

How might COR support or augment your learning goals and objectives for students in your course? As you reflect on your course, you may want to consider the following: 

  • How might COR support your goals related to disciplinary thinking (like the “science and engineering practices” in the Next Generation Science Standards or the historical thinking processes outlined in the Common Core)?
  • How does COR fit with your broader goals for teaching literacy? 
  • How might COR be implemented in research-based assignments and activities? 
  • How might you build COR into your course assessments? 

Optional Activity: We invite you to review Civic Online Reasoning materials related to science and history for inspiration of how you might create or adapt lessons and tasks for your own area of teaching.

3. What challenges do you anticipate when implementing COR strategies? 

Consider the challenges that are particular to the courses you teach. What limitations, if any, do you anticipate in integrating COR into your classes? Also consider any potential limitations in your school context. Are there technological limitations, like access to devices, unreliable internet access, or restrictive internet filters? How might you overcome these challenges? Does your department, school, or district limit your curricular flexibility? And how might you negotiate these limitations? 

With colleagues, share your responses to the three questions outlined above.

COR in Your Teaching Context

COR Professional Learning Framework

More free activities to complete individually or with colleagues