Disinfo Academy For HE Students

Unveiling the art of fact-checking

What is the project about?

Disinfo Academy is a 32-month project aimed at improving the public level of understanding of the availability and applicability of information verification methods and processes with a direct reference to digital-sourced disinformation and manipulation campaigns and individual resources. Young people are particularly vulnerable to exposure to disinformation which is even more worrying given they are at an age where they form and start to affirm interaction patterns with the system of governance and the social systems.

At the same time, young people, especially those in HE, are particularly creative and inquiring, and they come with a natural predisposition to the digital world, including as a dominant source of information. 

They are, in that sense, a valuable source of inspiration to researchers and innovators in the search for improved digitally-based fact-checking and information verification methods and practices. With the help of cognitive science, we intend to propose an improved fact-checking methodology complemented with a stronger focus on the communication of fact-checks via more impactful narratives. A masterfully-designed narrative can channel the main communication message more effectively and at the same time can be used to indicate how narratives themselves are being exploited and employed in disinformation and manipulation campaigns.

Disinfo Academy contributes to the larger field of building and sustaining resilience, improving media literacy and fighting disinformation.

We plan to develop an online course for HE students and adults (journalists, fact-checkers, investigators) which is innovative to the HE curricula of the participating countries.

Objectives

The project’s specific objectives are:

  • to identify, study and understand the practices, methods and approaches used by university students and related to information verification;
  • to critically analyse, update and extend the existing fact-checking methodology by introducing emerging practices and cognitive impact vectors;
  • to design an online course compatible with the updated and validated fact-checking methodology;
  • to model efficient pathways for increased outreach and the impact of fact-checking.

Activities

Disinfo Academy's key activities are:

  • 2 physical workshops;
  • 2 physical trainings (for moderators and content creators);
  • focus groups in 4 partner countries;
  • revision and update of fact-checking methodology;
  • pilot-testing and validation of updated methodology;
  • development of content for an online course on the updated methodology;
  • modelling pathways for increased impact of fact-checking;
  • fact-checking challenge contest as a dissemination activity.

Results

We aim at the following main results:

  • a collection of practices observed in university focus groups and used by young adults;
  • at least 4 moderators trained to run focus groups;
  • revised, updated and extended fact-checking methodology, incorporating new practices and cognitive impact vectors;
  • short-term staff training on methodology to prepare for the course creation;
  • a comprehensive online course developed on the basis of the updated and extended fact-checking methodology and a collection of fact-checking digital tools.

Project Team

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Andy Stoycheff, Sofia

Disinfo Academy is a logical next step in our research and quest for answers on how to address the ever-evolving threat of disinformation. I know this is a confrontation we will be facing for the foreseeable future, and I realise that just as we have an interest in exposing and combatting disinformation, there is a strong vested interest in the opposite direction from individuals and organised groups. I trust that the project will make a contribution to the set of available methods and techniques that can help fact-checkers and investigative journalists in their work. And not only them - each one of us who has a digital presence is part of the mechanics of the disinformation machine. What exactly is the part that we play and how successful we are in doing it, is what's on my mind a lot these last few years.

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Dr. Flavia  Durach, Bucarest

I'm very excited to be part of this project! In recent years, I have been actively involved in a number of national and international projects dedicated to media literacy and countering disinformation. I will put all the insights I've gathered to good use while working on Disinfo Academy. Initiatives like these make a difference in curbing the negative effects of misinformation.

 

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Dr. Milena Zvancharova, Sofia

My experience with the Dissinfo Academy project has been enlightening. It's dedicated to updating and extending fact-checking methodologies to address emerging practices and cognitive impact vectors among university students. What truly stands out about the Dissinfo Academy project is its commitment to critically analyzing, refreshing, and expanding existing fact-checking methodologies by embracing emerging practices and considering cognitive impact vectors. This forward-thinking approach ensures that fact-checking remains effective and aligned with the evolving information landscape.

Disinfo Academy | 2022-1-BG01-KA220-HED-000085747

Start date: 01.09.2022 | End date: 30.04.2025

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

EN Co-Funded by the EU_WHITE

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