MediaWise for Seniors: Self-Directed Fact-Checking Course (Election 2020)


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MediaWise for Seniors: Self-Directed Fact-Checking Course (Election 2020)

In this online course you can take at your own pace, Christiane Amanpour and Joan Lunden will help you improve your media literacy. You’ll learn tools and techniques for fact-checking what you see on the internet so you can protect yourself against misinformation.

We’ve updated this course. Enroll in the post-election version, “MediaWise for Seniors: Self-Directed Fact-Checking Course (Winter 2020).”

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We’ve updated this course. Enroll in the post-election version, “MediaWise for Seniors: Self-Directed Fact-Checking Course (Winter 2020).”

Combine the coronavirus and a monumental election, and 2020 is shaping up to be an unprecedented year in the United States. But with crises and elections come false information online. As conscientious voters and health consumers, older Americans are often the target of this misinformation. This thorough, hands-on course will teach seniors how to tell what’s true and false online.

MediaWise for Seniors Ambassadors, Christiane Amanpour and Joan Lunden, will pop in to share their advice as world renowned journalists and help you protect yourself against misinformation. That includes an in-depth look at how social media platforms work, techniques like reverse image searches for identifying false information and lessons on how to be a responsible news consumer and a frank chat about how to talk to family members who share misinformation.

Now more than ever, falling for false information on the internet is a matter of life and death. Thanks to support from Facebook, we are able to make this course tuition-free.


The first lesson in this course will be available on Sept. 24, 2020. You’ll be notified as more lessons become available.  The full course should take around eight hours to complete, but you can take it at your own pace and on your own time.  


Lesson release dates:

Lesson 1 – Sept. 24, 2020

Lesson 2 – Oct. 1, 2020

Lesson 3 – Oct. 8, 2020

Lesson 4 – Oct. 15, 2020

Course learning outcomes

By the end of this in-depth course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and spot the seven different types of misinformation and explain why someone shared them.
  2. Fact-check social media posts using tools and techniques of professional fact-checkers and report what you find to each social media platform.
  3. Verify the images and videos you encounter on the internet.
  4. Identify and consume online news responsibly.
  5. Explain to family members and friends the pitfalls of sharing misinformation and teach loved ones how to fact-check on their own.

Who should take this course?

The self-guided course is meant for people 50 years and older who regularly consume news online, often via social platforms like Facebook. The course does not require special internet skills or abilities and is meant for anyone hoping to better detect for themselves what’s true and what’s false online.


What is a self-directed course?

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material. The training consists of videos, readings, activities and quizzes. It should take around eight hours to complete all of the learning material.

What is MediaWise for Seniors?

MediaWise is a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital media literacy initiative led by The Poynter Institute. Its mission is to teach Americans of all ages how to sort fact from fiction online. MediaWise content has been viewed 17 million times by more than 9 million people since the project launched in 2018. The MediaWise program teaches people through in-person and virtual training events, online educational videos, fact-checking content reported by its Teen Fact-Checking Network, and its MediaWise Ambassador program — a group of prominent journalists and influencers who help promote the MediaWise mission. MediaWise for Seniors was announced in 2020 to bring MediaWise tips to the 50+ population in advance of the general election. MediaWise for Seniors has a program funded by AARP to provide resources to their membership and a program funded by Facebook bringing virtual training and a social media awareness campaign to the senior population. The foundation of MediaWise was created with support from as part of Google News Initiative. Learn more at

I’ve seen a few other trainings from MediaWise for Seniors. How is this one different?

This free program is available to the general public and is funded by Facebook. Unlike the Separating Fact from Fiction Online seminar, which takes place live over four weeks and has an enrollment cap, this Separating Fact from Fiction Online self-directed course is available on-demand starting Sept. 24. Thousands of people are able to enroll at any time and take this more in-depth course at their own pace.

Do funders have control over the course?

No. We prize our reputation for teaching excellence, developed over more than four decades. To preserve that reputation, we retain independence and control over our teaching whether it is funded by tuition or a donor, such as a foundation or corporation. Read more about our ethics policy here.

Who can I contact for more information?

We’d love to hear from you. Email us at


Alex Mahadevan

Alex Mahadevan

Senior Multimedia Reporter
The Poynter Institute

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