NDSU’s “Teach-In” Talks Climate Change, Politics…and Fake News

Hundreds take part in short break-out discussions to talk social problems


FARGO, N.D. — Hundreds of students and faculty at NDSU took time away from class to go to class.

The “teach-in” put students in multiple 25 minute long classes to have civil discussions about social and political issues.

It’s not your typical University lecture.

These interactive “teach-ins” turn class into a conversation.

They covered topics not normally seen in their coursework.

NDSU freshman Erik Fitzgerald took part in a discussion about climate change.

“There’s actually a very huge gap between what scientists say is actually happening and what’s causing climate change compared to what politicians and the regular public think about it,” said Fitzgerald. “So that was really interesting.”

Paul Kelter’s talk raised questions about questions.

He says questions are the most useful discussion tool.

“It’s critical to have events like this because it gets students engaged in just what we want them to be engaged with,” said Paul Kelter, NDSU’s Office of Teaching and Learning director. He led a few of the classes at this event. “Thinking about things. Learning to raise questions. Learning that there are all kinds of ways to look at things and to analyze and make predictions and create knowledge.”

Every half hour, new classes start in the separated rooms.

Topics ranged from things like politics, Native American relations and even the media.

Steve Beckerman went over the recent surge of fake news.

He said students should ask these questions about what news they’re consuming.

“Looking for multiple sources to back up the story that you’re reading, questioning what the interest of the source is,” said NDSU media technologies consultant Steve Beckermann. “Do they have an invested interest in trying to push across a certain opinion or perspective. Or are they somewhat unbiased.”

He recommends watching your local news for a new perspective, but said to treat it like any other news source.

“If you have questions about what you’re hearing, take the time to look for other news sources that can either back that up or maybe offer a different perspective of that,” said Beckermann.

More than 160 students registered for the event and some even got credit in their classes for showing up.

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