UTM192H5 Thinking Badly


UTM192H5 Thinking Badly: Misinformation in the Information Age (SCI, HUM) 
Special Topics at the Intersection of Science and Humanities

This 0.5 credit course can be used to satisfy either your Science (SCI) or Humanities (HUM) distribution requirement. This course is offered in the Winter 2024 term (January-April).

Misinformation is prominent in today’s social world (Pew, 2016). The level of mistrust in what is communicated has reached a level that has not been witnessed previously (Lee & Hosam, 2020). Science—and society’s trust in science—has been deeply affected by misinformation.

In this course, we examine why science is so poorly communicated and consider what we can do about it. The goal isn’t to just lament the world’s problems. The goal is to strategize solutions to poor scientific communication. To do so, we will examine why something as secure as climate change and vaccine usage has produced so much public mistrust. We will ask critical questions of scientific communication, such as: has science become overly reliant on catchy slogans at the expense of being accurate? What gaps arise from the academic publication process, and how do these gaps affect public dissemination? What barriers exist to devising and communicating sound, balanced, and actionable solutions to the world’s most pressing scientific problems?

This course offers students the chance to:

  • Explore the science behind the headlines.
  • Develop their own research projects and propose their own (research-supported) solutions to pressing scientific issues.
  • Examine how information is gathered and delivered.
  • Experience the relationship between the discipline that assesses and collects information (science) with the discipline that is responsible for communicating it to the world at large (humanities).
  • Learn from guest experts in a number of different fields. 

This utmONE Scholars first-year seminar is taught by:

Man with beard, short hair, wearing a white shirt with a black blazer.

Dr. Christopher Eaton, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy

How to Apply to UTM192H5: Thinking Badly - Misinformation in the Information Age

Students who receive an email invitation are eligible to apply. Invitations are sent on a rolling basis starting in May to early June. In the application form, you will have the opportunity to provide application answers for both your first and second choice of utmONE Scholars seminar. Please be sure to read our FAQ section.

Apply for UTM192H5 Thinking Badly: Misinformation in the Information Age