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Combating Disinformation: Hendrix Professor’s Open Access Course and NYC Exhibition Highlight the Need for Media Literacy

Glick_Revised.pngCONWAY, Ark. (January 20, 2022) — Dr. Joshua Glick wants you (and everyone else) to know that seeing shouldn’t always be believing. 

Glick, the Isabelle Peregrin Odyssey Assistant Professor of English-Film and Media Studies at Hendrix College and a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), designed “Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes.” Created in collaboration with colleagues in MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality and hosted through OpenCourseWare, the open access online course is available for free to anyone with an internet connection.

Building on this project, Glick also co-curated with Barbara Miller an exhibition currently on display at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in New York City: Deepfake: Unstable Evidence on Screen. The show will run through May 15, 2022. 

Cultivating Media Literacy

The course, available at, teaches students and educators about the history of media manipulation, the rise of “deepfake” videos, and some civic applications of emerging technology. Importantly, individual course modules aim to teach digital media literacy, which includes sharing tools and techniques for combatting the spread of misinformation. 

Glick OpenAccess course screenshotGlick’s teaching and civic engagement work at Hendrix directly connects to this material. English majors recently enjoyed his Fall 2021 course, Media in the Age of Fake News, a seminar that contributes to the media studies facet of the department’s degree program.

“The course engages with this urgent topic from a few different angles,” Glick said, noting that everyone from journalists, to technologists, public policy experts, and everyday citizens are interested in these issues. “First, we take a deep dive into the history of misinformation, then some of the recent forms we’re seeing, and finally a discussion of what we can do to fight back.”

The online course involves a suite of three modules and lots of educational resources. “The project provided the R&D to both create new in-person courses and incorporate new units in classes such as Contemporary Documentary and Intro to Film Studies,” Glick said. “It has also given me ideas for future Project Pericles events and more public-facing writing. And I love how what we talk about in the classroom can live on and benefit a larger community.”

The course can be completed in as little or as much time as the user chooses to engage. While a teacher may choose to assign a module as a long-form homework assignment, they could also use it as a launch point for an entire course.

Exhibition Demonstrates Danger of Deepfakes

With advances in machine-learning technology enabling the creation of deepfakes, it has never been more difficult to separate fact from fiction and truth from illusion on screen. Deepfake videos draw on artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate people saying or doing things they never said or did. With social media enabling the sharing of moving images with large segments of the population in ever-shorter periods of time, deepfakes are more immediately believed or contested based on the viewer’s entrenched perspective.

Glick MoMI exhibition photoDeepfake: Unstable Evidence on Screen demonstrates the instability of on-screen truths, and places them in a historical continuum from the late 19th through the early 21st centuries. 

The centerpiece of the exhibition is In Event of Moon Disaster, a deepfake art installation co-directed by Francesca Panetta and Halsey Burgund that uses AI technology to suppose an alternate history of the Apollo 11 mission, presented on a television set in a period living room. Glick was the Education Producer for In Event of Moon Disaster, an MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality production that won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Media in 2021.

To organize the exhibition, Glick worked with Barbara Miller, MoMI’s deputy director for curatorial affairs. “This has been such a rewarding experience. Given everything that’s happening in the U.S. and around the world, it’s important that people have a critical understanding of both the peril as well as progressive possibilities of emerging technology. Teaching in a liberal arts environment really propelled this work forward and facilitated my collaboration with the museum. In turn, I’m excited to bring students to the show (covid permitting) and to continue to incorporate what I’m learning into the flow of my classes.”

About Joshua Glick

Joshua Glick joined the Hendrix College faculty in 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in Film & Media Studies and American Studies from Yale University. His research and teaching explore global documentary, critical race studies, emerging media, and Hollywood as an evolving form of industrial and artistic production. Glick is currently writing a book that examines how the post-1989 rise of neoliberalism and seismic shifts in the media industries galvanized an interest in documentary on both the left and right of the political spectrum. In collaboration with Patricia Aufderheide, he is also co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Documentary, which brings scholars and practitioners into dialogue about the ethics and craft of social justice filmmaking.

Glick’s filmmaking and public humanities projects involve collaborating with archives, museums, and community media organizations. He served as the moving image curator for the NEH-funded exhibition, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit