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Social Justice

Established by the Honors College at Broward College for the purpose of engaging students in the critical work of talking about and working through social justice in their college experience.

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will construct various search phrases for use in online search tools to find sources about a topic
  • Students will assess the online source using certain evaluation criteria (e.g. ACTUP)
  • Students will explain the value of a source for a peer learning about their topic

Full Lesson

ACT UP (10 mins.)

Students will be introduced to the ACT UP acronym and asked to explain why evaluating Internet sources is critical to learning new information. The following prompts can be used to engage students in discussion:

  • Describe why you might need to search for something online.
  • Describe a situation in which getting the wrong information online might result in an inconvenience.
  • Describe a situation in which getting the wrong information online might result in “a life or death situation.”
  • You’ve heard that there is a hurricane off the coast. Who do you turn to for information? Why do you trust that source? Where did your source get their information?

As the students respond and engage in discussion, emphasize the different criteria of the ACT UP acronym and define it. Some examples:

  • The author of a webpage or an online source could tell you a lot about the credibility of the information in it.
  • It sounds like you might need current information about your topic because [explain why].
  • Figuring out the truth of a source might be difficult if you don’t know a lot about a topic, but you can verify it by checking other sources as well.
  • Bias might play a role in information about a topic that is controversial. This sounds like a topic where unbiased information is going to be useful.
  • We want to make sure that our sources acknowledge the people to whom this information relates and not speak from a position of privilege where they can’t see how important it is.

Strategic Searching (10 mins.)

Students will be asked to search for reliable sources to understand justice and equity in the present day. Introduce this activity as one in which students will find answers about inequalities, protests, issues, or controversies in one of the following themes. How you frame this assignment will depend on the content of your course.

Ask students to select one of the following themes to learn about:

  • Criminal justice
  • Economics and wealth
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Immigration
  • Indigenous and Native Americans
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Race
  • Religion

The instructor takes a facilitator role in this activity and guides students through searching and exploration, prompting students to try different search terms.

Web Source Evaluation (20 mins.)

The goal of this activity is to find one Internet source that can be useful for their classmates to learn about their social justice theme and how it manifests in the present day.

Instructors should encourage students to explore different elements of a source (e.g. “About” section, links throughout, the author’s other contributions, other pages on the containing website). They should be referred to the ACT UP criteria and asked to answer for each one.

They will use ACTUP criteria to determine if the sources they've found are valuable to their research.

Performance Task & Assignment

Students will identify a source that they can use for learning about their social justice theme and generate a well-reasoned conclusion in a paragraph using the ACT UP criteria as a basis for their reasoning.

Students will submit their source to the Broward College Social Justice LibGuide. They will click on the Submit a Resource tab and fill out the form, adding their reasoning and the link to find it.