Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Award-Winning Writing and Check, Please!

Lillian Ellmore, who was an English 1103 student of mine last spring, has been named the national winner of the 2021 Hungry for Education scholarship program sponsored by the restaurant Denny’s. In an article about Ellmore’s achievement, The High Point Enterprise staff reported that Hungry for Education “recognizes and rewards students who show initiative and creativity in helping Denny’s fight childhood hunger.”

In addition to composing an essay for the contest, Ellmore also appeared on Denny’s podcast to be considered for the scholarship.

Ellmore, who is from Lexington, Massachussetts, is a sophomore communications major.

Congratulations, Lillian, on a job well done!

Check, Please! Lesson Three

At the beginning of class on Monday, I collected your Check, Please! worksheets for lesson three. The paragraphs that follow are my version of the assignment.

In the third lesson of the Check, Please!, Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, continues his instruction on the second step in four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson three, “Further Investigation” covers these topics: (1) Just add Wikipedia for names and organizations, (2) Google Scholar searches for verifying expertise, (3) Google News searches for information about organizations and individuals, (4) the nature of state media and how to identify it, and (5) the difference between bias and agenda.

One of the most instructive parts of lesson three focuses on two news stories about MH17, Malyasia Airlines Flight 17, a passenger flight scheduled to land in Kuala Lumpur that was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. While the second story, a television news segment, appears to present detailed investigative reporting challenging the conclusion of the Dutch Safety Board and Dutch-led joint investigation team–the conclusion that Russia was to blame–a quick just-add-Wikipedia check reveals that RT (formerly Russia Today) is a Russian state-controlled international TV network, a government propaganda tool rather than a source of fair and balanced news. The first video, the one produced by Business Insider, a financial and business news site, delivers accurate coverage of MH17.

Another notable segment of “Further Investigation” addresses the important distinction between “bias” and “agenda.” There, Caulfield observes that “[p]ersonal bias has real impacts. But bias isn’t agenda, and it’s agenda that should be your primary concern for quick checks,” adding that “[b]ias is about how people see things; agenda is about what a news or research organization is set up to do.”

Work Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021,

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