Many students now use the internet to find materials for their papers, which would be fine if they used valid, reliable sources. Despite me explaining to students the difference between peer-reviewed journal articles and everything else, and a very explicit, written policy on my syllabus about using Wikipedia, they continue to use any old thing they find including Wikipedia. In fact studies have found that students use the first things they find, rather than assess their quality. In Spring 2012, I added to my HS5 Systems course a unit on “Evaluating Web Resources” since they have to use material to create their own web page.
These new resources included:
- Choose the Best Search for Your Information (Noodletools.com)
- Tutorial on How to Choose Credible Sources (Sophia.com)
- UC Berkeley - Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask
- John Hopkins - Evaluating Information Found on the Internet
- UC Santa Barbara - Evaluating and Citing Online Resources
In HS5 Systems course one of the questions on their assignment asks them to explain how they evaluated the sources they included on their web page. This question might be included in other course assignments to encourage students to evaluate the web resources they use.