2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Across the Disciplines: Strategies for Teaching Cyber-Savvy

Katherine Deibel, Sarah Read, Timothy Wright - Computer Science and Engineering, English, History

The growth of the World Wide Web as source of information is pervasive, both in and out of the academic world. Google, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! have become 21st-century reference portals and the ease of posting material on the web has lead to a dizzying array of “sources” of widely disparate quality and usefulness. Like it or not, the web is usually the first stop for students—regardless of discipline—or consumers looking for information.

Yet, while the amount of information available online continues to grow, students and others ability to critically assess those sources has lagged behind. Novice information users are often encouraged to use rote checklists or rubrics to mechanically judge the “accuracy” or “reliability” of a website and its contents even though those checklists often provide misleading results. There is unquestionably a need to teach students, across the disciplines, how to become more critical in using web sources in ways they can continue to use beyond their academic careers. Our proposal will do just that, providing instructors with guidelines on how to construct and integrate web assignments that give students tools that allow them to become more thoughtful online information consumers, to become, in short, cyber-savvy.

Our approach, drawing on a variety of interdisciplinary research studies, takes a holistic view of online information analysis, taking learners beyond the checklist and through a process that teaches them how to critically approach most sources of online information. Our presentation will outline that process and seek partnerships across the university in deploying and refining those strategies in real learning environments.




Index of Symposium Presenters