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Nelson Vargas, J.D. Professor
Students learn the basics of media literacy and use history to better understand our world.
US Grade 4 - 7
In this class, we examine current events and learn media literacy. I employ a student-centered approach, where I act as a facilitator asking questions and prompting discussions in order to promote critical thinking. Class participation will be encouraged, but not required. The information age has given rise to the internet, the 24-hour news cycle, and social media. Our expanded access to information now includes information that’s false or misleading. Political polarization, eroding trust...
Students will learn to examine current events critically, looking at the historical context behind the latest news. I employ the Socratic method and will have students in later classes research and present on topics they have an interest in.
As required by Outschool regarding I have significant expertise in conflict resolution and mediation. I have received mediation training as part of my legal degree and receive continuing education training in both mediation and conflict resolution to retain my legal licensure. I have participated in several mediations and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. I have provided training in conflict resolution and de-escalation at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. In 2020 I co-taught a class on mediation at the Univerity of Maryland, School of Social Work.
Students will be expected and required to respect different views and experiences. To this end, we will look at current events from varying perspectives, with a focus on objective and provable facts. The class will focus on multiple perspectives about current events. Consequently, multiple news sources from varying perspectives will be used. Class content and discussion will be based on fact and evidence and will be presented using an unbiased perspective, to the extent possible. Ground rules for classroom discussion will be set to create an atmosphere of respect and tolerance. These grounds rules include: No personal attacks. Asking students to be open to and examine their own subtext. Asking students to remain open to multiple perspectives.
This class will use various news and historical sources to create and stimulate class discussion. Sources used to address current events topics will be from multiple perspectives and showcase different views. Source material will be used by the instructor to present facts related to current events topics, with the presentation focused on the "who, what, where, and when" of the event. News sources used to prepare current events presentations may include popular news sources from varied news outlets. Historical sources relating to the historical view of the topic will include (but are not limited to) original source material, articles, and educational material from: Media Literacy Now Media Literacy Learning Clearing House The National Archives The Smithsonian USA.Gov The United States State Department Westlaw JSTOR
Meet the teacher
I am a judge, former federal prosecutor, policy counsel, and college and law school professor. My bachelor's degree is from the State University of New York at Albany in Political Science and History, with a minor in Economics. I also earned a...
Completed by 8 learners
Live video meetings
1-10 learners per class