Catalyzing Conversations: Critical Thinking Skills to Win the Battle for Truth in the Post-Truth Era


  • Katherine Boggs Mount Royal University
  • Kevin O'Connor Mount Royal University
  • Charles Neild Mount Royal University
  • Glenn Dolphin Mount Royal University
  • Brendan Lazar Mount Royal University
  • Alexander Cuncannon Mount Royal University
  • Kelly Fleming Mount Royal University
  • Aliyah Dosani Mount Royal University



Critical Thinking, Building Resistance, Misinformation, Disinformation, Conspiracy Theories


The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is uniquely poised to address one of the greatest challenges in the “post-truth” era through catalyzing conversations that promote the effective development of critical thinking skills necessary for identifying and avoiding conspiracy theories. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, science communicators, public health nurses and educators has designed case studies, modules and activities that are curriculum-based for use in kindergarten to grade 12 classes to promote vaccine safety.  Two serendipitous outcomes from this Building Resistance to Vaccine Misinformation program included: i) significant learning experiences for everyone in our team about the other disciplines, and ii) that the research assistants articulated their own emerging professional identities.  Once this program receives ethics approval, we will work with education programs to beta-test the case studies, modules and activities then assess the impacts of this program through pre and post experience questionnaires and journaling.    


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Author Biographies

Katherine Boggs, Mount Royal University

Katherine Boggs, (, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University.  She is the Director of the Community Science Liaison Program where she is driven to engage school-aged children in hands-on citizen science programs such as the Building Resistance to Vaccine Misinformation project.

Kevin O'Connor, Mount Royal University

Kevin O’Connor, (, is an Associate Professor and Chair for the Department of Education, at Mount Royal University, Canada. Much of his current research is based on the synthesis of multi-sensory pedagogy and interdisciplinary curriculum through the integration of experiential and place-based learning, science field studies and Indigenous education.

Charles Neild, Mount Royal University

Charles Neild, (, is a fourth year student in Mount Royal Universities’ Faculty of Health, Community and Education pursuing a Bachelor of Education. He is a research assistant for the Building Resistance to Vaccine Misinformation program. Charles is interested in how academics and professionals can have an impact on elementary schooling.

Glenn Dolphin, Mount Royal University

Glenn Dolphin, (, is the Tamaratt Teaching Professor in Geoscience at the University of Calgary. Having degrees in both geology and science education, Glenn is interested in how students learn geoscience concepts with a particular focus on the use of visualizations, metaphor, and the history of science.

Brendan Lazar, Mount Royal University

Brendan Lazar, (, graduated from Mount Royal University (Bachelor of Sciences; Health Sciences) in 2020 and is currently a Master of Science student in Biomedical Communications at the University of Toronto. His motivation is to bridge the gap between science and the general public by communicating complex ideas in tangible forms.

Alexander Cuncannon, Mount Royal University

Alexander Cuncannon (he/they), (, is a 2020 graduate of Mount Royal University's Bachelor of Nursing program. He is currently practicing as a registered nurse in Addiction and Mental Health at Alberta Health Services.

Kelly Fleming, Mount Royal University

Kelly Fleming, (, is a Registered Nurse and an instructor in the Bachelor of Nursing program at Mount Royal University, with a practice specialty in the care of Older Adults. As a vulnerable population, care providers must ensure that they provide evidence informed care that reduces risks for older adults.

Aliyah Dosani, Mount Royal University

Aliyah Dosani, (, is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Mount Royal University and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at University of Calgary. Her research interests include health equity and social justice issues focused on maternal, newborn, and child health.