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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Washington
  • Jevin West
  • (206) 543-4043
  • Katie Davis
  • Emma Spiro
  • Samuel C Woolley
  • Ahmer Arif
Award Date:09/20/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 750,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 750,000
  • FY 2021=$750,000
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.083
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:NSF Convergence Accelerator Track F: Co-Designing for Trust: Reimagining Online Information Literacies with Underserved Communities
Federal Award ID Number:2137519
DUNS ID:605799469
Parent DUNS ID:042803536
Program:Convergence Accelerator Resrch
Program Officer:
  • Mike Pozmantier
  • (703) 292-4475

Awardee Location

Street:4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Awardee Cong. District:07

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Washington
Cong. District:07

Abstract at Time of Award

Problematic information—inaccurate or misleading information—has emerged as a growing threat to American democracy since it undermines citizen trust in public information and institutions. It often does so by exploiting personal beliefs, emotions, and identity, thereby triggering responses that expand social divides and encourage individuals to actively resist competing claims. Solutions therefore require more than just providing the public with skills and tools for determining the truthfulness of claims; they also require resources for addressing the social and emotional impacts of problematic information. Creation of these educational resources requires a fundamental reimagining of digital literacy, so that it is better grounded in the everyday realities of the communities most impacted by problematic information. The project will address this need by establishing deep partnerships among academic institutions, community organizations, news and fact checking networks, industry, public libraries and museums, K12 schools, and national non-profits to create new educational resources that address problematic information as a critical threat to communication. The work will advance knowledge about how trust in communication systems is shaped by local social, cultural, and emotional contexts. This knowledge will inform the development of educational resources and platforms to empower librarians, journalists, educators, and community organizers to deliver holistic and locally-contextualized responses to problematic information. The project will develop these educational tools by leveraging participatory design (PD) to support convergence thinking amongst a broad range of stakeholders. At its core, this project posits that digital literacy interventions could be strengthened by better leveraging sociocultural and emotional strengths that exist within communities alongside the cultivation of critical reasoning skills. This requires not only interdisciplinary expertise from across the social sciences, computer and information science, journalism, and education, but also the integration of diverse sociocultural perspectives from community practitioners. The project team includes partners that represent perspectives often overlooked within existing research on problematic information. This includes organizations that perform formal and informal educational work with urban and rural populations, that support digital equity within Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, that engage all age ranges, and that incorporate journalists and technology leaders. These academic and practitioner partners will carry out a series of seven community workshops that will build community ownership in the project, identify design requirements, and identify potential usability concerns for project outputs. These insights will then be used in a series of PD sessions to design and evaluate an educational toolkit prototype for addressing problematic information in BIPOC communities. The project plans to expand, customize, and co-develop this prototype and design process with other underserved communities in Phase II, including under-resourced journalists, rural public librarians, and K12 educators. Ultimately, the project will produce a scalable platform and PD model that diverse organizations can use to produce locally tailored digital literacy toolkits of their own. This ensures that the platform will continue to be scaled out to new users, to ensure long-term impact on trust in national communication ecosystems. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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