Teaching Information Literacy in the Trump Era

Not long into my second semester freshman comp class, we do a group exercise to identify credible websites. I provide links to about half a dozen sites about climate change, ranging from outright fakes and conspiracy theorists to unimpeachably reliable sources. For several years, the climate change page from the EPA (a nonpartisan, taxpayer-funded government agency) has been a staple of this exercise as an example of the latter.

Yesterday, according to Reuters, the Trump administration ordered the agency to remove this page from its website.

If and when the link in my online course enhancement “breaks” or redirects, I will not repair or replace it. I will leave the link there, alongside screen shots of what the website looked like today: January 25, 2017. I will add a footnote to explain why the link no longer directs to the intended page, and I will use this as an example of why (even though the most recent version of the MLA guide says it is optional) I require that they include access dates on their works cited pages:

Because what was true last year — or last month, or yesterday — might be erased tomorrow.

My job is suddenly a lot harder.