COD Library Blog

Behind the Fake News with Hoaxy

Hoaxy.jpgAn interview with Filippo Menczer, a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University at Bloomington. Once the subject of a fake news story, Menczer speaks to Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz about the new search engine Hoaxy, which aims to show people what sites are spreading fake news and what they are posting about.

A Professor Once Targeted by Fake News Now Is Helping to Visualize It


Locating Ratings for Smart Phone Usability For Seniors

I had an interesting information request from one of our members that I think might be of interest to many of you. I’ve received permission from our fellow caregiver to share with everyone. I was asked to find a resource which rates smart phone usability for Seniors. Our caregiver had seen information on Jitterbug, but noted that AT&T does not Jitterbug phones on its network. This specific question had a focus on AT& T but if you are a Verizon or other plan carrier, you’ll have similar questions and can learn a lot from the response that I sent because many of the articles compare VARIOUS carriers. Here’s my “answer”:
It seems like you have 2 things to consider: 1.) usability of smart phones and possibly, senior-friendly apps that might help caregiving and 2.) you want compatibility with AT& T [or another specific provider]. Am I right? Some of the articles specifically mention if the phones have “stand-alone” contracts/plans  or if plans can be purchased from other carriers (like AT&T). Ultimately, since service plans and networking abilities change so frequently, I highly recommend when you narrow down the type of smart phone that you contact AT&T directly (call or stop in to a store with your specific needs/requests). I’m going to give you some sites that look at both the phones (features and capabilities) AND available plans/carriers.
Take a look at these sites:
a bit old but nice images to accompany descriptions:
Not as obviously helpful as a full review page, but here is AT & T’s section on devices for seniors if you are interested in bringing on board a phone for your senior that will be on an existing AT&T plan. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile to investigate which AT&T offered phones have “easy modes” or features specifically useful for seniors (again, make a stop at a store or contact customer service and talk to representatives about specific needs/desires based on what you deem most important for your senior):
I like how some of the articles specifically talk about what to consider when evaluating phones. It seems like there is sufficient differences in features to make decisions dependent on specific user needs/abilities/disabilities.
As we continued to correspond, another important aspect came out. When the time comes to go to a store (with the individual that will be using the phone preferably so that he/she can “test drive it” with you, as caregiver, and phone “experts” present to answer questions and assist), we came to the conclusion that it is best to “call ahead” to ensure that someone would be available to demonstrate specific features. Stores and employees are accustomed to demonstrating the latest and greatest “features” of smart phones, but our needs and the needs of our special individuals are varied and unique. We might need to see “easy mode” or apps that exist but aren’t “cutting edge”…often time display phones are “locked down” and only have certain options available. My calling ahead, speaking to a manager and specifically requesting the features and apps we read about (YES, I’m suggesting that you do as much homework as possible BEFORE going into the store), we can ensure a smoother, more informative session and an all-around better experience for those whom we care. I’m not saying this just about AT& T stores, let me be clear on that in case you saw the AT& T focus and thought this is just about AT& T services. Nope, I’m talking about ANY phone store and ANY carrier. We have special needs and are looking at the phones from a different perspective than the “average” phone user. It just makes sense to find “common ground” and understanding with the sales staff so that they can show us what we really need to see. Make sense?



Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

I'd like to share some article links on how to make the Holidays as stress-free as possible for caregivers and the ones for whom they care.
Caregiver's Guide for Managing the Holidays (PDF)—I LOVE this one because it has a variety of articles containing tips that reduce stress and make the holidays "merry and bright" for caregivers in a variety of situations as well as sound advice for non-caregivers too!
A collection of holiday-related articles and short videos from

~Debra, Your "Caring" Librarian


2017 Caregiver Support Group Meeting Dates

The group meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month:

Spring Semester Meetings noon-1:00 PM SRC 2153
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If you're a caregiver, I hope that you'll join us. We meet over the noon hour, feel free to bring your lunch.


Cheating Watchlist

Caveon Test Security has created a "Cheating Watch-List" to help testing providers prevent and catch cheaters. Below are seven of the top "threats" - for more information read Caveon's update Mission Impossible: Cheaters.

  • Using pre-knowledge of test content
  • Colluding with an expert while taking the test
  • Using Inappropriate or non-authorized test aids
  • Using a proxy test taking service, or using friends or acquaintances for proxy test taking
  • Hacking into a database to change a score
  • Manipulation of test administration rules
  • Copying the answers from another test taker while both tests are being taking


News Sources - Journalistic Quality & Partisan Bias

Patent attorney Vanessa Otero created this chart as a counterpoint to the discussion of fake/real news. While not comprehensive, the illustration demonstrates that evaluating news sources is a more complex undertaking than simply identifying what is "fake" and what is "real."

Ms. Otero has made the chart available under a CC BY-NC license. Download a high resolution pdf of this chart (as well as a blank fillable chart) from Ms. Otero's website All Generalizations are False.


Teaching Strategies from Facing History

Facing History fosters empathy and reflection, improves students’ academic performance, reinvigorates teachers, and builds safe and inclusive schools.

We encourage teachers to use student-centered teaching strategies that nurture students' literacy and critical thinking skills within a respectful classroom climate. The strategies suggested here can be used with students of all ages with any academic content.

Example teaching strategies include:
     • Analyzing Visual Images and Stereotyping
     • Attribute Linking - Building Community by Taking Perspectives

Featured Collections include:
     • Justice & Human Rights
     • Bullying & Ostracism
     • Democracy & Civic Engagement
     • Race in US History
     • Holocaust
     • Media Literacy
     • Civil Rights Movement

Facing History has a rich collection of resources for any classroom.


Chronicle of Higher Ed - How Can Students Be Taught to Detect Fake News and Dubious Claims?

"When a Stanford University report last month proclaimed that many students could not detect fake or misleading information online, the findings caused a stir.

From January 2015 to June 2016, the researchers gave thousands of students, from middle school to college, tasks to see how adept they were at assessing the credibility of such information. Could they tell a native advertisement from a news article? Identify a partisan website as biased? Tell a verified social-media account from an unauthenticated one?

The researchers summarized their conclusions with a discouraging word: 'bleak.'"
This article requires an active Chronicle of Higher Education account, but you can get one for free with your COD email – click here for instructions