Digital Citizenship

“[A]ny attack on […] the concept of objective truth […] threatens in the long run every department of thought.”

George Orwell; “The Prevention of Literature” (1946)

Photo Credit: Unsplash

“How do I find reliable news online?”

“How do free Apps make money?”

“What’s clickbait?”

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. In the “post-truth” twenty-first century, our information environment is fraught. Controversies concerning “fake news” and the authority of experts shape our daily lives; fringe media attack the validity of democratic processes and COVID-19 disinformation imperils public health. In online life, being popular and getting lots of “views” often feels more important than telling the truth.

All sources—whether reputable or not—can appear equal in the digital sphere. According to W. Lance Bennett and Steven Livingston in their work, The Disinformation Age: Politics, Technology, and Disruptive Communication in the United States (2020):

Democracies around the world face rising levels of disinformation. The intentional spread of falsehoods and related attacks on the rights of minorities, press freedoms, and the rule of law all challenge the basic norms and values on which institutional legitimacy and political stability depend. (p. xv)

The Internet’s business model heavily contributes to the flow of disinformation. Most search engines and social media platforms rely on advertising in order to make money. They sell users’ data–profile information, browsing history, and lists of purchases–to advertisers, who can then target particular groups with marketing content and, in many cases, covertly influence user behaviour. Advertisers want to attach their content to popular websites and videos, and statistics show that polarizing and highly emotional content tends to go viral. Online disinformation gets lots of views, which makes advertisers happy and generates more revenue for technology companies. The result? More disinformation is generated and promoted.

Wondering why you’ve never learned about any of this in school? Well, now you will.

MHC Library Services recently launched the Digital Citizenship Initiative, an instructional program that will help students untangle the social complexities and ethical dilemmas of the digital world. The project educates students on the economics of the Internet and the means by which political bad actors exploit its platforms to pervert the public discourse. Through classroom activities and reference to a wealth of print and audiovisual resources, participants will learn to recognize and counter disinformation and fake news, and understand how social media companies commodify their data. The program is the Library’s contribution to efforts to address the gap in post-secondary instruction concerning the socio-political and economic dimensions of digital existence. Because we all need to know how the online impacts the IRL.

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Want to see some of our resources?

Check out our eBook and video library on the Digital Citizenship website. Or have a look at our some of our handouts, like our Three-Minute Read on Conspiracy Theories.

Time for Brew Monday! Get your tea steeping and your connection ready!

For those of you who have never heard of Blue Monday, it is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, occurring on the third Monday in January. What a lot of people don’t know about Blue Monday is that the man who coined the term, and did the research to narrow down this exact date, never intended for the day to become negative. It was actually identified with the intention to encourage people to take the time to find the positives in the “gloomiest day of the year” and remember that the beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to begin other things too; it’s an opportunity for change and fresh starts (Peat, 2018).

(Altman, 2018)

We all know 2020 was a weird year. And 2021 is off to an odd start too- but I promise I’m not here to tell you these are “unprecedented times.” You know they are, you’re living them! I AM here to tell you that just because things are strange right now, different from what we have come to expect out of our day-to-day, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the college experience of community… it just means we have an opportunity to get a bit creative in how we enjoy these experiences. And what better time to get creative in finding a little spot of happy than Blue Monday?

Since we can’t enjoy the fresh beginning of meeting new people around campus the way we could other years we are bringing it online with “Brew Monday”.

“Brew Monday” is a play on the term “Blue Monday”, which occurs on January 18th this year. It is a chance to connect MHC students with each other! And maybe an excuse to drink more tea/coffee… (haha- BREW Monday, get it?)

(Stokpic, 2014)

Sooooo… what exactly happens? On Monday, January 18, from 11 AM – 2 PM, virtual rooms will be set up via Blackboard Collaborate, each dedicated to a special interest or topic. All you need to do is find access to a computer or laptop with webcam and microphone capabilities where you can open Blackboard Collaborate. Then make your favourite tea or coffee, and come back here to the Chapter One Blog! A list of topics and meeting rooms will be posted and you can select your connection!

Together let’s make Blue Monday a little less blue 😊 and all about creating more connections! We hope to see you there! Find your connection points and times below!

JANUARY 18 @TOPICS & INTERESTS
11:00AM-NOONMature Student Experience And Parenting
NOON-12:30PMBaking! Because Who Doesn’t Love Food!
NOON-1:00PMCatching Up With All Things True Crime
NOON-1:00PMFinding New Worlds To Explore In Books And Movies
1:00PM-2:00PMDogs, Dogs, And More Dogs! Bring Your Dog!
1:00PM-2:00PMGet Lost In The Fun Of Board Games And Card Games
1:00PM-2:00PMPositivity, Focus, And Making Your Beveridge Work For YOU!

References

Altman, G. (2018, March 24). Time for Change. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/change-new-beginning-risk-road-3256330/

Peat, J. (2018, January 5). Man who coined the term ‘Blue Monday’ apologises for making January more depressing. Retrieved from Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/blue-monday-apology-depressing-january-misey-money-disposable-income-psychology-dr-cliff-arnall-a8143246.html

Stokpic. (2014, October 24). Woman Drinking Coffee. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-drinking-coffee-person-601568/

You’re invited to LNAP!

LNAP logoWhat is it?

LNAP stands for Long Night Against Procrastination.  Still confused?  One night each semester we bring together all the services that we think will help you succeed as a student here at MHC.  We want to help you avoid procrastination and give you support to start (or finish!) all of your assignments and papers.

Who is it for?

LNAP is a college-wide event for all MHC students.

When is it?

Fall 2018 LNAP is happening Wednesday, October 10th from 5 pm. to midnight.

What can I expect?

  • You can expect a fun, friendly atmosphere
  • You can expect quick workshops filled with all kinds of success strategies
  • You can expect stress release activities (hint:  puppies and kitties)
  • You can expect food and caffeine (another hint:  pizza)
  • You can expect help and support from Faculty, all staff including Advising, Library, IT, Peer Support, Writing Specialist, tutors in the ARC, Counselors and more

What do I need to do?

  • Register now at LNAP Pre-Registration or register in person starting October 1 in the cafeteria or B-wing hallway (location changes depending on the day)
  • Bring your student ID card
  • Arrive at 5 and be ready to become a part of something big!

It’s up to you.  Join in all of the activities or hunker down and get some work done.  It’s all good.  See you there!

Stress Less at MHC

STRESS LESS

It’s a new year and for both our new and returning students, the Fall semester can be a time of challenges and triumphs. To make sure that your year starts off right, we have a few tips from our VP Internal, Evelyn Schottner and our Health and Wellness Coordinator, Jaycene Mock.

Hi Everyone! Evelyn here – I’m your VP Internal. You can come visit me to help with all sorts of academic issues if they arise for you. I’m here to help guide you through academic appeals, discrimination issues, and general student rights. I really believe that the College should be a place where all students feel safe and included, and that’s really what my position — and the Students’ Association in general — is all about! I also want to remind students really quick that there is an important date coming up: November 21st, 2018 is the withdraw date. This means that this is the last day to withdraw from a class and have it show up as a “W” on your transcript instead of a failing grade. I would highly recommend talking to your academic advisor prior to this date to weigh out your options if you have a class or classes that you’re struggling in. Other than that, feel free to pop into the SAMHC office or email me at SA_Internal@mhc.ab.ca with any questions you might have! Have a great year everyone!

Changing gears just a little! Jaycene here, your friendly neighborhood Health and Wellness Coordinator. The Fall semester is just kicking off and already I’ve seen a few very stressed-out students. Taking care of yourself can sometimes fall off to the bottom of your priority list when life gets busy but reminder: self-care should always be a priority! As cheesy as it sound, it’s true that you can’t take care of anything if you have not been taking care of yourself. This looks different for each of us, but below is one of my favorite infographics from the masters at Buzzfeed! If you have anymore questions or need anything, again please feel free to pop into the SAMHC office or email me at SA_HWC@mhc.ab.ca. Also come out to our Stress Less Events on September 11th and 12th in the Den 😀

stressless1

Borges, Anna. “For Making Everyday A Little More Chill.” Buzzfeed. 16 July 2016. Retrieved on 07 September 2018 from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/relaxation-charts?utm_term=.gpxXjo1Ne&sub=4308927_9196789