Facts of the matter!
The clutter must be cleared. Working from homes has created a lethargy that will not go away soon. Many have started complaining about ‘fingertips pain’ partly mocking it to their boss’s arrogance! “They think that we need to work 24 x 7! No leave, no promotions, no increment! We all have started looking for other options. But then, it is not that easy to find one and move over…” said Sameeksha Menon, a Design Engineer at a reputed multinational company based in Kochi.
Yes! She was right. So, I checked with many youngsters working from home to find out an alternative option to destress. Will upskilling and new skilling work? I mean some online courses for that matter.
“Not really! I have done half a dozen online courses by now. All of them had recorded videos, PDF notes, Quizzes and much more. Some were free and some were paid. Paid once gave us certificates. But I did not enjoy a bit… Everything went mechanical”, said Rajneesh Anand a Software Engineer from Bangalore.
I was on design thinking! “Design thinking is all about putting our users at the centre of our work and decision-making”, Prof. Anil Sinha used to tell this. He was teaching Communication Design at NID in Paldi, Ahmedabad. I used to visit NID once in a while to teach News Design as an industry expert.
Can we plan an online course on Fact-Checking? This idea was thrown to MP Gopinathan, Dean, Mathrubhumi Media School at Kochi. He was all for it. And we started preparing for the online course. I offered 20 hours of content for the course. And it will be conducted online on Google Meet. The response to the advertisement we gave on our group publications and Web, TV, FM channels attracted many. And we could arrange two batches, one on weekdays for an hour and two on weekends for multiple hours.
I was a bit conscious about the audience we had for the course. Most of them were from a technical background. I am a believer in progressive learning. So took time and sat down for a couple of days to plan the classes. They should never be boring! To achieve that I need to include interaction. To include interaction the course should be hands-on.
I could sense my heartbeats when I just started the session for the first batch. I started by explaining the need for fact-checking.
Fact-checking is a process that seeks to verify sometimes factual information, in order to identify the veracity and correctness of the event. Fact-checking can be conducted before (ante hoc) or after (post hoc) the content is published or otherwise disseminated. Internal fact-checking is such checking done in-house by the publisher; when the content is analysed by a third party, the process is called external fact-checking.
Ante hoc fact-checking aims to identify errors so that the content can be corrected before dissemination, or perhaps rejected.
Post hoc fact-checking is most often followed by a written report of inaccuracies, sometimes with a visual metric provided by the checking organization.
The class started asking questions. They wanted to know more! That means they have liked my way of teaching. Thank God!
Online classes will continue to be there even after these pandemic related lockdowns. With innovations in content, style, and technology online classes can also be user-friendly. Understanding the target audience will be the crucial part. And then developing content for them will make all the sense!