E-learning Course: How to deal with misinformation and disinformation during public health emergencies

When public health emergencies occur, risk communication from authorities to individuals living in the community is essential to inform people about what is happening, seek to engage them in protective behaviour, address concerns, and create an overall feeling of support and collaboration towards limiting the spread of a disease. Yet, institutional communication is impacted by several challenges and a major challenge is nowadays the blooming of misinformation and disinformation.

With reference to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the objective of this course is to provide knowledge, strategies and tools to identify and respond to suboptimal information that can negatively impact institutional communication during public health emergencies. Specifically, participants will develop competences and skills on the following topics:

  1. The basics of disinformation
  2. Persuasion
  3. Risk perception
  4. Credibility in the information age
  5. Conspiracy theories
  6. The competition between science and pseudoscience
  7. The (mass & social) media effects
  8. Communicating science to lay-audiences

A set of conclusive slides gives concrete advice on how to manage disinformation.

The theoretical background of the course is grounded in disciplines including: linguistic and rhetorical analysis, argumentation theory, critical thinking and persuasion research, theories of advertising and social marketing, and the cognitive and behavioural sciences.

Every month there will be the possibility to talk with the authors of this course, discuss case-studies or ask for advice on communication in the field. The dates and time of these online tutorials are displayed here on a regular basis.

Next online tutorial

The next online tutorial will be from 1200-1400 BST/GMT+1 on Friday 14 May 2021.

The course targets practitioners, professionals, educators, researchers and anyone interested on how to respond to suboptimal health information by strengthening communication skills and overall developing a communication competence to persuasively engage with communities in current information society.

The course is free to access online.  Please complete the form below to register and gain access the course.

The course is run by:
Prof. Sara Rubinelli, Dr. Nicola Diviani and Dr. Claudia Zanini (University of Lucerna, Switzerland) and Dr. Maddalena Fiordelli (Università della Svizzera italiana Switzerland).

For information and questions please contact:

Sara Rubinelli
Department of Health Sciences and Medicine
University of Lucerne, Switzerland
sara.rubinelli@unilu.ch

Register for the Course

E-learning Course: Misinformation and disinformation
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