Flex Courses

What is a flex course?

To redefine the limits of online and blended learning, GOA is creating a series of “flex courses” that teachers can embed in their curricula, bringing to schools the globally networked learning that is our hallmark. These courses will focus on timely and important topics that lay outside the frameworks of traditional disciplines. Our first flex course, “U.S. Elections in the World,” brought together more than 400 students from 17 different schools to discuss the global impact of an important political moment. Our second, “The Truth about Fake News,” brought nearly 1,300 students from 25 different schools!

Be the first to know when our next flex course starts!

The Truth about Fake News
February 27-March 10, 2017





When you look at a news headline on your phone or computer, do you think about whether it’s true?  Do you read the story before sharing it?  60% of links shared on social media haven’t actually been clicked by the people sharing them. That’s one of the ways fake news spreads on the internet. In this two-week, online mini-course, you’ll learn how to stay media literate in a world where false information is more prevelant and more sophisticated than ever.  You’ll examine fake stories with classmates who live in other regions and countries, and you’ll look for clues about who is trying to fool you and why. Through GOA’s partnership with News Decoder, you’ll meet and interact with media experts who will share their own experiences and advice about reporting and analyzing authentic information. You’ll become a savvier news consumer by learning strategies you can use in a rapidly changing media landscape.

The Facilitator

Bessias headshot

Tina Bessias is an English teacher and blended learning coach at Durham Academy in Durham, NC, USA. From 2013-15, she taught Digital Journalism for GOA. More recently, she developed and taught one of GOA’s Learning Studio courses, Water: From Inquiry to Action. She is an avid follower of the news and is excited about this opportunity to explore the changing media landscape with a large and diverse group of students.



The NewsDecoder Experts

GOA’s partnership with News Decoder brings media experts into our online courses. Students in The Truth about Fake News will have the opportunity to interact synchronously and asynchronously with our two experts, who will share their experience and expertise in tackling these issues in real world contexts.

Elaine Monaghan

Elaine Monaghan is professor of practice at Indiana University’s Media School who worked for two decades in international journalism. For Reuters, she was a correspondent in Russia; chief correspondent in Ukraine and Belarus, and in Ireland and Northern Ireland; and U.S. State Department correspondent in Washington. She joined The Times in 2002 as Washington correspondent before moving to the Congressional Quarterly.




Peter Bale is a media industry leader who served as chief executive of the world’s leading investigative news non-profit, the Pulitzer prize-winning Center for Public Integrity. He has held senior positions at CNN International, FTMarketWatch (an award-winning site from the Financial Times and MarketWatch), The Times and Microsoft. A Reuters correspondent and editor for 15 years, Bale worked with the international news agency in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and held senior roles in London. He is currently president of the Global Editors Network, the leading international association of senior editors across all media.

Key Details

  • This two-week online mini-course is designed for students in grades 9-12.
  • Students will spend about two hours per week exploring content, engaging in discussions with guest speakers and each other, and completing coursework.
  • Most of the work of the course is asynchronous, with weekly opportunities to join synchronous events with News Decoder speakers.
  • Students will be from many different schools and locations, and will participate in mixed discussion groups.
  • The Truth about Fake News is ideally suited for groups of students led by a teacher who wants to embed the online class into on-campus coursework, though individual students are welcome to enroll.
  • Enrollment in this course is FREE for GOA member schools. The fee for non-member schools is $50/student.