In this course, we show you how to fact and source-check in five easy lessons, taking about 30 minutes apiece.

As a student of history in 2020, your ability to sort information is the fundamental skill of historical thinking. Writing, analysis, and presentation build on your ability to first decide if information is worthwhile. Here are four facts to consider:

  1. 90% of the American population use the internet. ( We use the internet to learn new information.
  2. There are more lies and distortions on the internet than evidence-based information. (Noble, Safiya Umoja. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press, 2018. Wineburg, Samuel S. Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018.
  3. More than half of Google searches result in no clicks. That means people only read the first search page results. (
  4. Tracking on the web is near ubiquitous. This means that your identity shapes what information is available to you. For an example of this, with your friend, type in an address into a map app and see what businesses are shown around that address.

When we consider the centrality of the internet to learning, the abundance of bad information, and the fact that searches are increasingly not resulting in clicks, we need to shift the way we learn history, and that starts with becoming information literate.

Each lesson has multiple pages and activities. After clicking through to each lesson you can use the list of links at the bottom of the first page to navigate, or just click through using the "Next up:" link under the main text.

We will do Lesson One in Week 1, Lessons Two and Three in Week 2, and Lesson Three and Four in Week 3 and Lesson Five in Week 4. See the Schedule for the dates.

The lessons below were designed for general information literacy, not for history, but the skills are applicable for our course.

Next up: Lesson One: Introduction to SIFT

All Lessons

Lesson One: Introduction to SIFT

Lesson Two: Investigate the Source

Lesson Three: Further Investigation

Lesson Four: Find Trusted Coverage

Lesson Five: Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to Their Original Context