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Free Online Course on Identifying Misinformation

Our free, one-hour course teaches journalists and the general public how to verify online media, so that they don't fall for hoaxes, rumors and misinformation

Verification training

Is that photo of a shark swimming down a highway in Texas real? Is that story published on what looks like the website of a national broadcaster all as it seems? Is that Twitter account being quoted across the mass media legitimate – or is it a bot, troll or imposter?

In the past three years, we’ve trained thousands of journalists to answer such questions – and many more.

Similar skills and techniques allowed the Washington Post to scrutinize digital footprints and avoid falling victim to a hoax about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in November. They are the same that enabled Storyful to alert its media clients worldwide that the wrong person was being publicly blamed for a mass shooting.  

Today, we’re releasing our short course on essential verification skills to train even more journalists, teachers and others dealing with online information on how to authenticate what they see online.

Access the course by going to firstdraftnews.org/learn and clicking the ‘Get Free Access’ button.

This one-hour course is free to use and requires just a one-step registration. The quick-start program includes four modules that teach what we mean by verification; the tools involved; how to independently verify the authenticity, time and location of photographs; and how to investigate digital footprints.

The course was developed by Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft and a co-founder of one of First Draft’s founding partners, Eyewitness Media Hub. She holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught verification in universities and newsrooms all around the world. In this video, Claire explains how her interest in verification began.

We believe making our verification coursework available to a wider audience is critical. If you know someone who might be interested in learning verification basics, please share this article or include the link in your social media posts.

And if you’re curious if the course is right for you, test your skills with this verification challenge. If you get some questions wrong, take our course and see if your score improves. If you get them right, check out whether the course can help take you to the next level.

Access the course by going to firstdraftnews.org/learn and clicking the ‘Get Free Access’ button.

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First Draft is a project of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center.