No 7 – How to manage the onslaught of information and fake news? The 2019-nCoV ‘infodemic’ #onlinetogetherVirtual Events

Monday, 11 May 2020, 17:00 CEST

EDEN webinar


In these uncertain times due to the Coronavirus COVID-19, many of us are struggling with the adjustment to working and teaching online. Where do you begin? How do you manage the process?
To address these questions and many others, EDEN is organising a series of practical webinars entitled “EDEN webinar series: Education in time of a pandemic #onlinetogether #covid19”. These webinars are featuring experts and experienced practitioners within the field of open, distance, and e-learning.
The weekly, one-hour sessions are held every Monday at 17:00 CEST, from March through June, 2020.




What happens when the communication of the 2019-nCoV pandemic generates a new wave of “information-overload”? How can you help your students manage it? How can you manage it yourself?

The term infodemic has been coined to outline the perils of misinformation phenomena during the management of virus outbreaks, since it could even speed up the epidemic process by influencing and fragmenting social response (World Health Organization, 2019; Cinelli et., al 2020).

How has been infodemic studied so far? How can we assess learners’ digital literacy and critical thinking abilities in collaborative virtual environment (CVEs)? Starting from these questions, the present webinar will be structured in three parts:

  • The concept of infodemic will be presented to see how it is possible to monitor the spreading of misleading unreliable information, by combining Big Data and Natural Language Processing techniques (Cinelli et al., 2020)
  • The potential role of Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy as “antibody” for the infodemic will be discussed (Katz, 2007)
  • Finally, a Survey session will be carried out. Data collected will be employed to develop new evidences for the automatic assessment of online learners’ Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy (Poce et al., 2019).

Questions to be covered over the session

  • Which kind of resources we can suggest to our students to manage the current infodemic?
  • How can we protect ourselves from misleading information during an infodemic?
  • How can we support the development of Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy in students?
  • How can we assess students’ Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy?
  • How can e-learning strategies be used to develop and assess students Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy?


  • Cinelli, M., Quattrociocchi, W., Galeazzi, A., Valensise, C. M., Brugnoli, E., Schmidt, A. L., … & Scala, A. (2020). The covid-19 social media infodemic. arXiv preprint arXiv:2003.05004.
  • Katz, I. R. (2007). Testing information literacy in digital environments: ETS’s iSkills assessment. Information technology and Libraries26(3), 3-12
  • Poce, A., Amenduni, F., De Medio, C., & Re, M. R. (2019). Road to Critical Thinking automatic assessment: a pilot study. Form@ re-Open Journal per la formazione in rete19(3), 60-72.
  • World Health Organization (2019) Novel Coronavirus(2019-nCoV) Situation Report – 13. Retrieved from:


Antonella Poce
EDEN Fellow
Associate Professor, PhD, Head of the Centre for Museum Studies, Department of Education, Università Roma

Antonella Poce currently holds the post of Associate Professor (qualified as a full professor), in Experimental Pedagogy at the department of Education – University Roma TRE (IT), where she chairs the Centre for Museum Education and the post graduate courses: annual Museum Education and biennial Advanced Studies in Museum Education. Her expertise concerns research education methodology and evaluation. In the last five years, her interests have been focused on methods to develop and assess transverse skills and dispositions (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication) in different kinds of users by combining formal, no-formal and informal methods through the use of innovative digital technologies. Currently, within her research group, she has been working on Critical Thinking automatic assessment through the analysis of open-ended questions and essays. She coordinates national research units within European projects frameworks and she has been chairing international academic committees dealing with professional development and distance learning. She is author of different publications of national and international relevance on the topics of innovation, assessment and use of technology in teaching and learning, at different levels.

Antonella Poce coordinates national units within European project frameworks and she chaired international academic committees dealing with professional development and distance learning. She is author of different publications of national and international relevance on the topics of innovation, assessment and use of technology in teaching.


Irvin Katz
Senior Research Director at Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey, USA


Irvin R. Katz is Senior Research Director of the Cognitive and Technology Sciences Center at Educational Testing Service. Throughout his almost 30-year career at ETS, he has conducted research at the intersection of cognitive psychology, psychometrics, and technology. His research involves developing methods for applying cognitive theory to the design of assessments, building cognitive models to guide interpretation of test takers’ performance, and investigating the cognitive and psychometric implications of highly interactive digital performance assessments. In the 1990s, he pioneered the use of cognitive labs at ETS, employing this methodology in the investigation of traditional ETS tests as well as innovative item types and constructs (architecture licensing, engineering design, digital information literacy). This and other research are represented in more than 100 research reports and professional publications in the fields of educational measurement, cognitive psychology, and human-computer interaction. He is also a human-computer interaction practitioner with about 40 years of experience in designing, building, and evaluating software for research, industry, and government. The Cognitive and Technology Sciences Center that he directs comprises staff with a wide range of expertise who conduct research and development at the forefront of educational assessment, serving the current and future needs of ETS programs and clients, promoting quality and equity. Current research and development areas include simulation-, game- scenario, and conversation-based assessment; training of human raters; theoretically driven analyses of test taker process data; score reporting; and cognitive modeling.

Dr. Katz received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to Educational Testing Service, he has worked at the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics and the Census and was Associate Professor of Psychology at George Mason University.

Francesca Amenduni
PhD student at at Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy


Francesca Amenduni is a PhD Student in Education, Culture and Communication at Roma TRE University (IT). She  has developed her expertise in the e-learning field both as practitioner and researcher at national and international level. She carried out research on blended learning and her current PhD project regards semi-automated assessment of Critical Thinking short essays and open-ended answers. Part of her research has been developed at ETS Princeton (USA) where she spent a term period as visiting student, funded by the Italian Minister of Education and Research (MIUR) through the “Leonardo da Vinci” scholarship. She has been working as researcher in several European projects in the field.