Media Literacy

From: $90.00 / month for 5 months

Grades:  10th–12th (others by permission of instructor)

Class:  Wed 11:00 am–12:00 p.m. ET

Dates (1st Sem):  Aug 26–Dec 20, 2024

Dates (2nd Sem):  Jan 13–May 9, 2025

Prepaid:  $399

Instructor:  Nate Noorlander


Course Description

(Seating is limited. Students need to attend live classes, keep their cameras on during classand contribute to this community of scholars. It also helps to have a sense of humor with the teacher and their fellow students 🙂)

“Media Literacy” is a bland title for an engaging course 🙂

What is bias? Can any sources be “trusted”? Are people weak-minded and easily manipulated? Is “technology” dangerous and predatorial? Are our intuitions reliable? What’s the difference between reading something and watching something? What is “the media” and where did it come from? Are you as fair and balanced as you think? Is “the news” basically all political spin? Why are we still talking about Aristotle if he died over two thousand years ago? Is humor persuasive? Do people make decisions based on incentives or values? Is there any way to be informed but not overwhelmed? How does “AI” upset everything we thought we knew?

These are a small handful of the questions we’ll raise and pose answers to over an intensive 1-semester deep-dive into everything media, from the philosophy, to the psychology, to the history, to the politics, to the language, and everything between.

Students should expect to engage with current events of all kinds, and they should expect to encounter ideas they disagree with, even ideas they disagree with vehemently. These can be ideas from the class readings, ideas from fellow students, or ideas put forward by the teacher. Students will be expected to practice decorum and respect in all cases. The work they produce will include weekly forums, quizzes, guided notes, readings and exercises, and vocabulary reviews. The final work product will be a 1500-2000 word argumentative essay on a media topic of the student’s choice, with teacher guidance and final approval.

Course Structure

Students will be required to come to the weekly 1-hour live class prepared with the assigned work for that week. This will include the weekly readings and videos, and the accompanying notes and assignments. All assignments for the week should be submitted in Canvas prior to that week’s live class, in order to verify that the student is ready to meaningfully ask questions and contribute to class discussion. 

This is a 16-week course. Students should plan on approximately 1 hour of work per school day, and up to 1.5 hours a day for limited stretches of time depending on the reading and source material for a given week.

Who should enroll?

This class is designed for students following an honors track in grades 9-12. As an honors course it will push students to think deeply and carefully, and perhaps to engage with the material with the kind of insight that comes from being interested in a subject, rather than merely doing what’s required.

Students need to plan on attending live classes with their cameras on. Our work will be most productive when we can see each other, talk to each other, and focus for our limited time together. Students do not need to be experts in any particular subject to take this course, but to get the most out of it they should want to be here.

Technology Requirements

  • High-speed, broadband Internet
  • Webcam, sound card, and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • PDF editing software that will allow you to type into and save a PDF form

Evaluation and Feedback

I will be available by email as well as prearranged video calls during available work hours M-F (my work hours are 8am-4pm MST, M-F). Video calls will be set for default 15-minute windows. While I will reach out where I see a need or a problem, students who are struggling should take the initiative to openly engage with me and their classmates. Students will have access to my calendar to see open slots for video-call feedback and questions. I reserve the right to combine one-on-one meetings into small-group meetings where appropriate. Usually a video call will need to be scheduled at least a day in advance.

Students will receive a rubric with comments in response to all written work. Quizzes will be electronically assessed with built-in feedback.


Parental support will significantly improve the results of most students. Parents are welcome to reach out to me directly with questions or be present during prearranged video calls with their student(s). I can be reached at, and you can expect a response within 48 hours. However, please bear in mind that this is an honors-level high school course, so students should also be capable of taking their own initiative in most cases. I encourage parents who have questions that should come from their students to push the students to ask the question on their own.

Required Texts

There is one required outside text students will utilize to write an argumentative paper in this course. They may utilize any edition and can find used copies on sites like Amazon, Thriftbooks, and AbeBooks.

So What? The Writer’s Argument, by Schick, Kurt and Laura Schubert. New York: Oxford UP, 2017, (


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Instructor Bio

Nate Noorlander

In college, Nate Noorlander double-majored in philosophy and history education. After a stint as a project manager with a disaster repair company, he moved to Beijing, China, where he taught IGCSE and A Level history at the Cambridge International Curriculum Center of Beijing Normal University. He also spent time touring India and trekking in Nepal. Worn out by the Beijing air, Nate moved home with his family and taught English and history at Mountainville Academy and then the American International School of Utah. At AISU, he developed mini-courses in boredom and awareness (probably close to what many people call mindfulness) based on Heidegger’s ideas about technology and Nicholas Carr’s ideas about what the internet does to our brains, areas of study that he finds compelling. Contact:


All classes taught by Nate Noorlander