Here's some more information about the assignment:
The students are asked to find somewhere in the media where an incorrect statement is made about a genetic topic. This could be in a tabloid, newspaper or magazine, on television, or in a news-media online source. (General blog posts are not eligible, though media-affiliated ones are.)
These students are only part-way through their first genetics course, so the error needs to be pretty basic. Examples I've given them include
- describing genome sequencing as 'cracking the genetic code'
- describing a bacterium with arsenic in its DNA as 'a new form of life'
- credulously reporting about the predicted effect of what turns out to be an imaginary gene
- claiming that gene A causes behaviour B, when it only slightly increases the probability of the behaviour.
The present class is only 40 students, but if this assignment works well (and the CPR works well) we'd like to run it for 500 students next Fall. This would lead to a barrage of letters to the editor complaining about the poor quality of their genetics coverage, and might even lead to an improvement in future reporting.