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University of Michigan spring courses to include classes on fake news, other realities of COVID-19 crisis

Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. (Credit: University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – What are the effects of fake news? What are issues facing foreign correspondents? How do past natural disasters shape human societies?

Students at the University of Michigan will be able to explore these questions through upcoming spring courses.

The 5-week online courses will cover fake news, ignorance, natural disasters, healing and other realities of the COVID-19 crisis.

Through virtual classrooms, courses will connect students’ current realities of living during the pandemic to different topics and ask them to analyze or reflect on a variety of issues.

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Some of the courses include:

Fake News & the Anthropology of Ignorance

  • A course on agnotology -- the study of ignorance -- students will study fake news, practice ways of combating ignorance, analyze media narratives of wet markets and reflect on how misinformation affects the COVID-19 crisis.

Healing Dance and Drum Circle

  • An introductory studio dance course, students will sing, dance and make music in order to cultivate healing movements. The course is intended to help students make safe spaces during an unpredictable time. 

Sex Differences in Brain, Behavior, and Disease

  • This psychology course will discuss the history of sex differences in brain structure and function in different species as well as how these differences affect susceptibility to and progression of various diseases. Students will be able to discuss various topics in groups to create a sense of community. 

Health, Medicine, and Society

  • Students will be able to explore and understand the influence of social and cultural factors that impact illness, medical care and health. The course will analyze current issues related to COVID-19, such as inequalities in death rates and the prioritization of health resources.

Foreign News Coverage

  •  The course investigates coverages of foreign media, media systems and factors or criteria influencing media decisions. Students will discuss issues faced by foreign correspondents and critique news coverage of COVID-19.  

The History of Disaster

  • Students will look at natural disasters over the course of history including pandemics, epidemics, volcanoes, famines and floods. Through the course, students will be asked to put events in context and measure their effects on human societies.