The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:
or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources
Suggestions for Successful Internet
||Most students prefer using the Internet
for research and recreation. They will spend countless hours searching
and surfing. However, they may not completely understand the Internet's
strengths and weaknesses as both a research tool and as a general source
of information. Here are some suggestions to help you design effective
and successful Internet learning experiences.
- Provide Guidance
If you know the URL,
it. This way students should have no trouble
getting to the web site.
- Plan Ahead
Check to make sure that
the site is still working a few days before
giving the assignment. Web pages have a strange way of vanishing without
any warning. Alternately, provide several different sites to visit just
in case one or two disappear.
- Request a Hard (Backup) Copy
Have students make a
print copy of the web site (Netscape automatically
prints the date and time of access) or else ask them to note the date and
time they used the site. This should help clear up any problems if the
information changes all of a sudden, leaving some students with out-of-date
- Avoid Busywork
Ask students to do more
just fetch something off the Internet.
Require them to visit one or more sites or search by topic. You might have
them compare or evaluate several similar sites. Give them a
list of criteria to follow for their comparison or evaluation.
If assigning a research project that either wholly or partially includes
internet sources, ask student to include their search strategy as a
component of the research project. Request that they analyse methods they
used to refine their search and what made the search more and less
- Draw on Their Knowledge
When assigning students to create a bibliography of web sites (webliography) Ask
students to come up with their own method of evaluating and assessing web
sources. They could list the criteria they feel is most important in site
selection and inclusion.
- Don't Assume Student Expertise
Often students cannot always differentiate between advertising and
information on a web page, especially undergraduates and those unfamiliar with the web.
Often students accept any information found on the web
at face value. As above, provide them with the tools to evaluate
the web sites they do find.
- Use Established, Trustworthy Web
You might want
to use the library's Internet
Resources as either a starting point for students or else as a
link from your class web page. Other invaluable web directories include:
Librarians Index to the Internet at http://www.lii.org
Internet Scout Project at
- Inform the Librarians
Let us know about
your assignment so that we can be prepared. This
is equally important for both on-campus and distance learning students as we
receive many interpretive and procedural questions in person, over the
phone and via our e-mail Reference Service, http://lib.nmsu.edu/webref/index.html.
Each academic department has a librarian contact for assistance with
designing library related research assignments as well as providing
instruction in electronic research tools, research strategies,
use. Your departmental library contact also plays a major role in collection
development for your subject area. See the list of Library Selectors/Liaisons at
- Let's Work Together
session for your class. Call Wendy Simpson at 646-4129
for more information or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated:April 27, 2009
Susan E. Beck
Collection Development Coordinator
New Mexico State University Library
© 1997 Susan E. Beck
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web site (http://lib.nmsu.edu).
All other uses: For permission to reuse copyrighted content from The Good, the Bad and
the Ugly, or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources, please contact the author.
Cite this source as:
Beck, Susan. The
Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why Itís a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources.
Send comments or suggestions to: Susan E. Beck