Tips for faculty who use the Web, but aren’t about the Web

Plenty of instructors use the Web. Many require students to do the same for assignments and papers. But for the instructors who think about other things like History or English or motor development more than they think about web development, I have a few tips.

First, there’s that reference to in the student’s list of resources. A tinyurl is not actually a destination, it’s a way of writing the destination URL in a very tiny way. For example, leads, not to a place called tinyurl, but to an analysis of Shakespeare’s 55th sonnet. If the student quoted the actual URL, it would be Think of tinyurl not as a source, but as an abbreviation or shortcut.

Next, there’s Wikipedia. Students may think that if something can be found in this online encyclopedia, it must be accurate information. While that is often true, sometimes it is not accurate information. The reason lies in the very nature of a Wiki. A Wiki can be edited by anyone. Uh huh, anyone. Most contributors to Wikipedia do their best to be accurate, but sometimes someone with a bias or a particular spin on a topic can do some editing that makes the information less reliable than you might want in a source.

Finally, there are the blogs. It’s the nature of most blogs that the blogger is interpreting the news, not reporting it. The difference between hard news and opinions about hard news may need exploring, depending on what the students are trying to accomplish.

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