UTM192H5 Thinking Badly


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

The 0.5 credit from this course can be used toward either your Science (SCI) or Humanities (HUM) distribution requirement.  Offered in the Winter 2022 term (January-April).

In an analysis completed by Pew (2016), nearly one-quarter of Americans had communicated fake news in one form or another. This stream of misinformation has continued to grow in recent years, reaching a level of mistrust that has not been witnessed previously (Lee & Hosam, 2020). 

In this course we examine why science is so poorly communicated and whether that miscommunication is always intended! For example, is it possible that in an attempt to catch up with contemporary media, that science has become overly reliant on the use of catchy slogans at the cost of accuracy? We will examine why something as secure as climate change and vaccine usage has resulted in so much mistrust.

This course offers students the chance to:

  • Explore the science behind the news.
  • Examine how information is gathered and delivered.
  • Experience the relationship between the discipline that assesses and collects information (science) with the discipline that is reponsible 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:

Photo of Dr. deBraga and his dog Charlie

Dr. Michael deBraga, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy 

We asked Professor deBraga what inspires him about the Thinking Badly: Misinformation in the Information Age theme and why he is excited to teach this course to first-year students.

The ability to communicate in an effective manner is an ever growing concern in our world today. In this course, we will explore how science is communicated and more specifically why it is the responsibility of scientists to ensure that the message is clear.

Teaching is a passion of mine and whether it is in my own specialty such as Palaeontology and specifically the processes that drive evolution or whether it forms part of the broader scholarly framework, the opportunity to interact with students and to learn from them and share my own experiences with them is something that I absolutely love.

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 April 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