Stella Sigal's Project Portfolio

Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2021 (Byrne) | Evaluating Online Health Information Mini-Course





About Me

Hi all! My name is Stella Sigal, MSLIS, and this is my second to last semester at UAlbany CDIT Program. I am currently a medical librarian at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. I am not your typical educator, as I do not follow my students throughout the year. Rather, I offer research consultations and standalone CE workshops to clinicians to better their searching and research skills.

I enjoy listening to audiobooks, and I am enjoying Faye Kellerman’s series. In addition to audiobooks, I enjoy learning about personal finance and investing.

Stella Sigal.jpg

My Topic and Purpose

For my Mini-Course, I have selected to focus on creating a course to be embedded into a high-school health education course on health information literacy. Health literacy is usually defined as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions" (NNLM/NIH,n.d.). Health information is more accessible than ever before. With a plethora of health information on the Internet, it is hard to discern what is factual. According to researchers, many Americans have low levels of health literacy. This course aims to combat health misinformation found on the Internet by equipping students with the knowledge to find and appraise online health information. Through this mini-course, health educators will learn how to integrate health information literacy standards within their existing courses.

Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content

After completing this course, learners will be able to:

  • Effectively identify and explain health literacy and its connection to online health information
  • Explain the benefits of implementing health information literacy into their existing health education courses


  • Describe and identify the important components of online health information
  • Differentiate high-quality health information from lower-quality health information on the Internet
  • Effectively locate and appraise online health information


  • Identify areas in which they can implement health information literacy into an existing lesson plan
  • Integrate and create a health information literacy lesson plan within the given lesson plan format

Needs Assessment

According to the CDC and Healthy People 2030, health literacy is defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (CDC, 2021). With so much information on the internet, it is difficult for individuals to discern whether or not the information they are reading is authoritative. In an age where information is widely shared with a Tweet or a Facebook post, misinformation can spread like wildfire. In fact, a study “concluded that most of the messages had false information and that 'bad' tweets were more retweeted than the ones with truthful information” (Fernández-Luque & Bau, 2015, p.71).

Health literacy is important for one’s wellbeing and decisions regarding one’s care. When one understands and has access to accurate health information, one can make informed decisions. In fact, studies have shown that improved health literacy levels decrease avoidable hospitalizations by 26%, hospital readmissions by 9%, and lowers emergency visits by 18% (United Health Group, 2020). Overall, improving health literacy levels could prevent one million hospitalizations and save health care twenty-five billion dollars a year (United Health Group, 2020).

Health literacy levels could be improved within the United States, as “only 12% of adults have a high level of health literacy” (Vecchiarelli, 2018, para. 1). Vulnerable populations at risk for lower health literacy levels include “older adults, immigrant populations, minority populations, and low-income populations” (NNLM, n.d., para. 10).

As mentioned, the explosion of fake health information on the internet is out of control. With the click of a button, someone can share false information. According to the Roundtable on Health Literacy, “The proliferation of consumer-facing technology and personal health information technology has grown steadily over the past decade and has certainly exploded over the past several years” (Round Table on Health Literacy, 2015, p.1). With such an explosion, false information can make its way to the consumer, misinforming them. In addition to misinformation, there is little privacy and standards on commercial health websites and apps that track your digital footprint (Round Table on Health Literacy, 2015). Consumers must be educated on critically appraising quality online health information and ways to protect their privacy.

There are different ways to improve health literacy (or health information literacy). The National Plan to Improve Health Literacy offers seven goals to improve health literacy levels within the United States population. One way is to “incorporate accurate, standards-based, and developmentally appropriate health and science information and curricula in child care and education through the university level” (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2010, p. 1).

High school health educators are in a position to further educate their students on health literacy and health information literacy. According to the United States Bureau of Statistics, 42.9 percent of 16-24-year-olds were not enrolled in school (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020). Through instruction, high school health education instructors could potentially make a difference in the health outcomes of their most vulnerable low-income students who will not attend college or a post-secondary school.

Not every health education class includes segments on ways to critically evaluate online health information. This course will explain to health education teachers the importance of health literacy- specifically health information literacy. It will provide skills and resources to create a health literacy-centered class or lesson plan.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

This course is designed for high school health education teachers, teaching in both public and private schools.

Prerequisite Skills:

  • Critical Reading Skills
  • Basic Knowledge of Health Literacy
  • Experience Designing Lessons

Supportive Prerequisites:

  • Willingness to learn new information
  • Openness to change existing practices
  • Interest in integrating health information literacy into a lesson plan

Performance-Based Objectives

After completing this course, learners will be able to:

Unit 1

  • Effectively identify and explain health literacy and its connection to online health information [background article or video] [possible activities: journal/reflection such as using Padlet, Jamboard, Google Doc, etc.; interactive discussion; possibly self-assessment or quiz using a google form.]
  • Explain the benefits of implementing health information literacy into their existing health education courses [possible activities: reflection posts or journal using google form]

Unit 2

  • Describe and identify the important components of online health information [background information: MedlinePlus and trust or trash tutorials]
  • Differentiate high-quality health information from lower-quality health information on the Internet [possible activities: journal/reflection such as using Padlet, Jamboard, Google Doc, etc.; interactive discussion; possibly self-assessment or quiz using a google form]
  • Given an online tutorial that expounds upon health information literacy skills, the learner will be able to locate and appraise online health information and determine quality which will be represented by appraising a health website by appraising the elements in which it makes it a reputable or untrustworthy site.

-demonstrate understanding of health literacy by classifying, or listing, or comparing and contrasting two health information websites they found on the internet (and applying critical appraisal skills) [possible activities: journal/reflection such as using Padlet, Jamboard, Google Doc, etc.; interactive discussion; possibly self-assessment or quiz using a google form]

Unit 3

  • Identify areas in which they can implement health information literacy into an existing lesson plan

-learners will brainstorm ideas and submit their final idea [possible activity: google form submission or journal submission for a final project idea]

  • Integrate and create a health information literacy lesson plan within the given lesson plan format

- Using their submitted idea, learners will create a lesson plan surrounding health literacy information literacy skills [activity: create a lesson using learning software of students' choice (i.e. online Jeopardy, google sites, blendspace, Padlet, etc.)] -After completing the project learners will review their lesson with the grading rubric to ensure it is complete [possible activity: self-grading: google form submission, journal submission]

  • Reflect on the overall course experience [possible assessment: submit google form offering course feedback]

Curriculum Map

Health Literacy Course.jpg

References and Resources