Teaching News Literacy During a Pandemic:

Adapting to the Virtual Learning Environment



news literacy, media literacy, information literacy, media and information literacy, critical media literacy, online learning, community education, collaborative teaching


This lesson plan is based on a collaborative teaching project between the co-authors that was implemented for an online community, over the course of a week in the fall of 2020, in response to the specific teaching and learning challenges presented by the pandemic. The online news literacy program was adapted and expanded from previous iterations of a one-day, in-person workshop, integrating specific pedagogical and engagement strategies for a much broader and more diverse learning community. The authors detail their approach to news literacy from a critical media and information literacy (CMIL) framework and how the program's content and activities were distributed and scaffolded across five days of online engagement.

Author Biographies

R. Alan Berry, University of Maine

R. Alan Berry is a media literacy educator, advocate and researcher, currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Maine. His research interests include media literacy, critical pedagogy, community and civic engagement through critical media literacy, media ecology, and news and advertising criticism. He holds a master's degree in media studies and a bachelor's degree in film production. Alan is the Maine state chapter leader for Media Literacy Now and the former education director of The LAMP.

Jennifer L. Bonnet, University of Maine

Jennifer L. Bonnet is a Social Sciences and Humanities librarian at the University of Maine, where she engages in a wide range of outreach, instruction, consultation, and research. She has taught multiple workshops on fake news, misinformation, and news literacy, as well as a credit- bearing course on information literacy. Her work has been published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Communication Teacher, and Basic Communication Course Annual.

Judith E. Rosenbaum, University of Maine

Judith E. Rosenbaum is Associate Professor of Media Studies and Chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine. Current research centers on the processes involved in the enjoyment and selection of media content; the role social media play in the lives of individuals as well as on a social level; and media literacy, health literacy, and health communication. She has published in a variety of journals, including Communication Research, Media Psychology, Journal of Media Psychology, Communication Research Reports, Communication Teacher, and Digital Health.






Lesson Plan