As a profession, we have spent a lot of time in the past several years wrestling with the issues of students using robust sources in the digital age. One common intervention has been the use of rubrics, checklists, or numerical weighting to help students see the relative values of open Web sites.
But we have discovered that often, just as a checklist activity concludes and students begin their work, they’re right back using Google’s top three results. We’ve taught, but they have not absorbed or implemented.
Marc Meola’s article, “Chucking the Checklist: A Contextual Approach to Teaching Undergraduates Web Evaluation,” reviews these less-than-successful efforts and offers that we, instead, help students look more holistically at a source for its quality while encouraging professors to explicate what “use good sources” means in their classroom (e.g., “Please use databases featuring scholarly journals” may be more effective).
The abstract reads:
This paper criticizes the checklist model approach (authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, coverage) to teaching undergraduates how to evaluate Web sites. The checklist model rests on faulty assumptions about the nature of information available through the Web, mistaken beliefs about student evaluation skills, and an exaggerated sense of librarian expertise in evaluating information. The checklist model is difficult to implement in practice and encourages a mechanistic way of evaluating that is at odds with critical thinking. A contextual approach is offered as an alternative. A contextual approach uses three techniques: promoting peer- and editorially-reviewed resources, comparison, and corroboration. The contextual approach promotes library resources, teaches information literacy, and encourages reasoned judgments of information quality.
If you’re struggling with how to wrap your hands around this issue (or just want to know the context in which this blog post’s title is found in the article), this short, easy-to-read article may give you a new perspective.
Meola, Marc. 2004. “Chucking the Checklist: A Contextual Approach to Teaching Undergraduates Web Evaluation.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 4: no. 3, 331 – 344. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from http://www.tcnj.edu/~meolam/documents/Chucking_003.pdf.
PS: yes, the p in portal is intentionally not capitalized. :)
via Chris Leeder