Melanie Ann Kincl

FAE InstructorFE / VTS / FMPA
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FAE Instructor
FE / VTS / FMPA Unit
Truth and (Mis)information

There are countless articles about the dangers of misinformation in the modern "post-truth" era. Politicians yell "fake news!" about things they don't like, journalists have sold out to the lure of clickbait, and conspiracy theories are rampant. Scientists are left as the only ones left representing Truth--or are they?

In this course we will first investigate the role that trust plays in defining information... and therefore misinformation. Next, we will consider how these ideas affect the sources of many peoples knowledge--professional and amateur journalism. Finally, we will improve our own abilities to spot misinformation on the internet. By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of how to evaluate information for credibility and write in a way that builds trust with your reader.

Rethinking Normal

Why is “normal” normal? Who does it benefit and who does it harm? When is it more advantageous to keep things as they are and when is it worth it to strive for change? These are some of the questions we will use to rethink different kinds of “normal”. Using the sociological lenses of Functionalism and Conflict Theory, you will interrogate and evaluate a social norm. Throughout the course you will research ideas relevant to the norm and the people it may affect, finally coming to a conclusion about whether that norm should be changed or maintained.

I have a B.A. in linguistics from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an MA in TESOL from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. I also have some background in astrophysics, and these disparate fields have given me a particular interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and communication. Similarly, as a Czech-American Third Culture Kid, intercultural communication is important to me. I am also a strong supporter of the neurodiversity movement.
I have lived in France and the Czech Republic and have studied various amounts of French, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, Czech, and now Turkish. I taught English in the Czech Republic for four years, and have been at Bilkent since 2020.