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Copyright issues can be complex. This guide will help you understand the basics of copyright law, fair use, public domain, and Creative Commons.

Want to know how to link to library resources? Use this technology guide to provide the best research tools to your students.

Would you like to break down the research process for an assignment? Have your students try the Assignment Calculator!

The Start Date is the day students plan to begin their research. The End Date is the date their assignment is due. The Assignment Calculator will layout a step-by-step plan to help students along their way.


 

Most students prefer using the open web for research and recreation. However, they may not completely understand the web'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 open web learning experiences.

 

Provide Guidance
If you know the URL, provide it. This way, students should have no trouble getting to the website.


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 website (browsers automatically print 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 This should help clear up any problems if the information changes all of a sudden, leaving some students with out-of-date material.


Avoid Bad Sites
Ask students to do more than 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. For help with evaluating websites, see the library's Website Evaluation guide.

If assigning a research project that either wholly or partially includes Internet sources, ask students to include their search strategy as a component of the research project. Request that they analyze methods they used to refine their search and what made the search more and less successful.


Draw on Their Knowledge
When assigning students to create a bibliography of websites (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. Often students accept any information found on the web at face value. As above, provide them with the tools to evaluate the websites they do find.


Use Established, Trustworthy Web Guides/Directories
You might want to use the library's Websites by Topic or LibGuides pages as either a starting point for students and/or as a link from your online-class web page. Other invaluable web directories include: the Internet Public Library, and the Internet Scout Project.


Inform the Librarians
Let us know about your assignment. This is equally important for both on-campus and distance learning students as we receive many interpretive and procedural questions in person and online.


Let's Work Together
Request an instruction session for your class. Complete the Library Instruction Request form, contact Donna Windish dcwindish@randolph.edu, or phone 336-633-0204.


Research Papers Alternatives

  • You can provide opportunities for students to practice information-gathering skills.
  • The traditional research paper is often an excellent medium, but not every instructor uses research papers.
  • For those instructors who do not assign traditional research papers, but who still wish to highlight information retrieval and evaluation, the following links provide some ideas for assignments that deal explicitly with locating authoritative, reliable information sources.

 Adapted and used by permission: Beck, Susan. "Suggestions for Successful Internet Assignments." The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources. 1997. http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalsugg.html

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