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Listen in on community conversations that counter disinformation, enhance civic participation, and improve media literacy 

A Digital Technology Partnership

Working with our friends at Cortico, the Media Education Lab created a Conversation Portal as an interactive, public-facing platform to explore ideas and insights that emerged from the Courageous Conversations program.  

This interactive digital platform showcases and synthesizes the many insights that emerged from the more than 700 people who participated in one or more of the 22 programs we offered in March - July, 2023.

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This website showcases some of the insights that emerged from the Media Education Lab’s whole-of-society approach to learning that included a focus on media literacy, active listening, kindness and compassion, and community engagement. 

Documenting the Experience

Participants registered for each Zoom meeting and each session explored a specific inquiry question, with time for lightly facilitated dialogue and discussions among a group of 6 to 9 people for about 15-20 minutes. Participants came from across Rhode Island, the United States, and around the world. 

Research Process

Participants agreed to participate in a research study that was approved by the University of Rhode Island Institutional Research Board (IRB). They completed survey questions and their voices were recorded when they participated in small group discussions. 

Identifying Important Themes

The Media Education Lab research team approached each conversation recording by reviewing the transcript. We then highlighted any remarks that seemed noteworthy. After reviewing the highlights, we assigned codes to sort comments by session topic and theme. We wrote a summary and linked specific examples to illustrate key ideas. 

Analyzing Conversations

By logging patterns we noticed in our observations, we were able to identify specific examples of how people interpreted and applied the skills of media literacy, active listening, kindness and compassion, and community engagement.



Cortico’s vision is to become the platform that: surfaces underheard voices rather than the loudest; facilitates sharing experiences rather than battling opinions; and promotes empathy and connection rather than division and intolerance.

Alex Kelly Berman, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships at Cortico, explains, “At Cortico, we believe in handing the microphone directly to communities to hear their stories and personal experiences. Cortico is proud to support the Media Education Lab to make sense of the conversations they collected, surfacing underheard community voices with authenticity, nuance, and transparency.”

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