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January 26, 2013

Common Assessment in ENG102 – Evaluating Web Sources

For two years we’ve been discussing a common assessment tool to use in all of our freshman composition courses at GCC, from ENG071 all the way up to ENG102. I participate in the ENG102 assessment group since I teach that course every semester. The course competency that we decided to focus on was: Find, evaluate, select, and synthesize both online and print sources that examine a topic from multiple perspectives. Our course competencies are so broad, as you can see, so we started by writing several Student Learning Objectives (SLO).

We then choose SLO 3: Locate at least one online source and determine the credibility of it by evaluating the validity of information contained within each source. We came up with a few tools that we could use for this assessment in our individual classes. This semester we have started to collect data from this common assessment, but I think we still have some ironing out to do.

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For instance, we’ve agreed on a common tool or a collection of tools to use in this assessment, but we’ve never really discussed a rubric in which to evaluate this assessment. I think coming up with a rubric will help make the assessment valid. That way if won’t matter which tool we use to assess the SLO. How we evaluate our students’ work will be the key to success. With this in mind, I actually give students a choice in which evaluation tool they want to use in this assessment, but no matter which one they choose, I use the same rubric to evaluate their work. I think we should adopt a rubric for everyone to use in this process.

Below is my rubric followed by the assignment (Assignment #4) that I give students.

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Assignment #4: Evaluating Online Sources

Student Learning Objectives
In this assignment students will:

  • Locate at least one online source and determine the credibility of it by evaluating the validity of information contained within each source.

 A Little Humor to Show the Importance of Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Online Sources

Read the CARS Checklist handout. Read the online tutorial: Evaluating Online Sources. This tutorial presents a brief overview of the reasons to evaluate information you find on the Internet, offers guidelines to assist you in the process, and helps you assess the information found on sample web pages. Finally, check out the Evaluating Web Sites tutorial from Maryland and their Online Checklist.

Each tool listed above uses its own vocabulary in evaluating sources. You need to be familiar with different evaluation tools. You will need to use this vocabulary in your evaluation for this assignment. Listed below you will find a list of the vocabulary needed for each tool. Remember you will only use one tool for the assignment, but you should be familiar with all three.

Keep in mind that some of the guidelines presented here might not apply to your research needs. You need to think about your own purposes and about how your audience will use the information you provide.

How to Use The Tutorials & Vocabulary

Assignment Steps

Prepare: Read the above online tutorials: Evaluating Online Sources, CARS Checklist handout or Evaluating Web Sites.

Read: Choose a web page from Assn. #3 or do a new web search to locate a website with information related to your research topic. Read through the web page.

Evaluate: Using the Guidelines for one of the three tools above (not all three), write a one page evaluation of the chosen website. Your evaluation should focus on the guidelines and how the chosen website meets or does not meet the desired guidelines. Write your evaluation in paragraph form and use the vocabulary of the chosen tool. Highlight or bold or underline the guideline terms (vocab) in your assignment.

Submit: Save your one page evaluation, minimum 300 words, and post it right here. If it’s not one full page, it is not enough. Feel free to write more if you evaluation warrants it.

Example Assignment

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