English 101 students at Bates’ Downtown Campus recently researched this story and others as part of a unit on critical analysis.
Instructor Elizabeth Scherman asked the students to discover not only how the myth or urban legend began in the first place, but how it evolved over time and continues to surface in different versions today.
They presented their findings at a “Hoaxbusters!” gallery show using science-fair type display boards and invited visitors to vote on Best of Show. From the Facebook warning of the so-called stalker behind the “Ask Angela” phone app, to the myth of the poisoned Halloween candy, to the claim that a giant volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park is about to blow up the USA – students were asked to think critically about the sources of the information and to verify any claim using credible research sources.
“We want them to think skeptically about what they see in social media like Facebook pages and the Internet,” said Scherman. “We want them to be able to verify for themselves whether something has any truth to it.”
The “Hoaxbusters!” gallery shows will continue through next year; look for announcements and signs on the mezzanine (academic classrooms) floor level of the Downtown Campus.
Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to drop by, vote for best display, and maybe get a few chills running down their spine.
Best of Show:
- “Talking Angela,” Kari Lauhoff, Henry Ford, and Dustin Do. This group also won Best of Afternoon Class.
- “The Bible that Stopped the Bullet,” Hayley Burnett, Casey O’Malley, Patrick Ruddy
Best of Morning Class:
- “The History of the Halloween Candy Hoax,” Yonie Copeland, Lascelle Grizzle
- “Paul McCartney is Dead,” Casey Bodine
- “La Llorona,” Becaley Elsie, Joseph Martinez