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News Literacy should take place of required HUM2510 course


Florida Gulf Coast University’s Understanding Visual and Performing Arts, also known as the miserable required online HUM 2510 course, is finally gone and a new general education program is born.

With the changes to the general education program to be implemented in the fall of 2015, there’s time for a much-needed change.

Last year, I wrote about why we should ditch HUM 2510 and make News Literacy a required course instead. Where HUM 2510 doesn’t prove useful for most students — students who may never pick up a paintbrush other than that one time they tried crafting some sorority letters -— News Literacy would.

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The News Literacy course is exactly as it sounds, students learn to read the news. Simple, right? Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

The course description reads as: “An examination of journalism’s function, concepts and role in society. Current issues and trends, ethics, how news is weighed and disseminated, the business of journalism and journalism careers. Students become more critical consumers of media.”

It’s currently a course required for journalism majors and minors, but if it was restructured towards all majors, this could have a major impact on FGCU students.

For a generation that mistakes articles out of The Onion for real life, we need this class. With social media and the Internet so integrated in our society, there’s a lot of information always coming at us all at once. This class would help readers sort out fact from fiction.

The class teaches you to actually search for the truth from credible sources, look for biased reporting and not just accept whatever information has been spoonfed to you.

Bias and misleading facts are becoming a big problem in today’s media, and for that, people distrust it. But if everyone was a more informed and better news consumer, they could look for the facts and seek out credible sources rather than allow the country to be split into two skewed sides.

More informed readers make more informed decisions at the polls and in their everyday lives.

College is supposed to prepare us for the big, bad world out there. It’s supposed to turn kids who regularly make stupid decisions into adults who regularly make slightly less stupid decisions.

What better to prepare us for the world than learning how to be active and educated news consumers?

Eagles, we made it. We are already halfway there.

With the new general education program under construction, now is the time to slip another course in for students to take advantage of.

The arts are important, and some form of appreciation course should be part of the program, but it is more important to develop more critical, intelligent and informed news consumers in not only our school, but throughout the country.

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