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Quick start course FAQs

Return to Unit 1: Getting started, Unit 2: Provenance, Unit 3: Digital footprints and timestamps, Unit 4: Geo-location.

What is “Quick start to verifying online media”?

In this course, we’ll teach you the first steps of to verifying online media—including basic provenance, source, time and location checks. The course is designed as an introduction that anyone can use to quickly improve their digital literacy skills. It takes roughly one hour, and consists of a mix of case studies, interactive challenges and explanatory shorts from our longer, premium course “Verification Training for Journalists.”

Why is it important to verify information online?

The ability to verify online information is essential to the modern journalist. Increasingly stories depend on information found online, often on social media. The origin of any piece of information is an essential part to any story. You need to know who created a photo, video, or website – and their intentions for creating it – in order to report the whole story.

Is the training only for journalists?

Our verification training is aimed at journalists, but we believe that anyone who is curious about the veracity and origin of what they’re seeing online will be interested in this course.

Who may take the course?

Anyone!

What kinds of things will I learn in this course?

In this course, you will learn:

  • How to set up and effectively use the best tools for verifying digital content,
  • How to investigate a source’s digital footprint to ensure authenticity,
  • How to verify datetime stamps to accurately situate content in time and
  • How to geo-locate photos and videos from metadata and visual features.

Do I have to be logged in to access the course?

Logging into the system is necessary to access the curriculum dashboard. Being logged in allows you to track your progress. (Be sure to fill in that bubble at the bottom of every video.) You can also favorite and reassemble resources to create your own curriculum.

How is the course taught?

The course includes tutorials, case study videos and interactive quizzes. We’ve designed the course with a recommended sequence, so that people who have no or limited experience in verification may learn all of the basics. However, we understand that some people may already know something about image verification, and may only be interested in geo-location, so students can skip around the curriculum as they see fit.

What if I’d like to teach from these materials?

We have designed the materials of this course to work for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses. We welcome your use of these materials for your course, so long as the First Draft and Dr. Claire Wardle are credited on the syllabus and in all visual and printed presentations. All derivative materials must also incorporate the First Draft logo and copyright.

What if I’d like to teach from only some of these materials?

Our system allows you to design your own course and deliver it to your students.

Are these materials under a creative commons license?

Yes, we are using this creative commons license which allows the following:

Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

What is the best way to take the course?

We recommend taking the course on a desktop computer or laptop, so that you can have a larger screen in which to work on your new verification techniques.

Is the course available in a language other than English?

Currently, our curriculum is only available in English. However, we are committed to translating our materials into Arabic, French, German and Spanish, and will add these languages next. Please subscribe to our newsletter to learn when we translate the course.

Is there a cost to take the course?

The course is currently free of charge.

Is there a certificate for this course?

We do not have a certificate at the moment, but, if our Community of Practice indicates a desire for one, we will look into the possibility.

Who developed the course?

The course was developed by Dr. Claire Wardle. Claire is a research fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy school, and the Executive Director of First Draft. She holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught verification in universities and newsrooms around the world. Here’s more about how Claire came to verification, and why she’s remains excited to teach these skills.

What is this organization’s mission?

First Draft is dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information that emerges online. We provide practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify and publish content sourced from the social web. Here’s more about our organization.

Who are the instructors?

Dr. Claire Wardle is the lead instructor for the curriculum.Claire is a research fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy school, and the Executive Director of First Draft. She holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught verification in universities and newsrooms around the world. Here’s more about how Claire came to verification, and why she’s remains excited to teach these skills.

The curriculum also incorporates lessons from other experts in online verification. They’ll showcase the techniques and tools they use for their jobs.

How can I sign up for the longer, premium course on verification?

Go to firstdraftnews.org/learn and click the ‘Get Premium Access’ button to request access.

Return to Unit 1: Getting started, Unit 2: Provenance, Unit 3: Digital footprints and timestamps, Unit 4: Geo-location.