Topic 1 Navigating the Internet

The internet is a vast place with a lot of information and knowledge. This topic aims at

  • Providing the participants with information on reliable sources
  • Helping them exercise proper and safe internet research
  • Recognizing fake news and reliable online sources.

There are many studies regarding the reliability of internet information. The University of Georgia defines it as “A reliable source is one that provides a thorough, well-reasoned theory, argument, discussion, etc. based on strong evidence.”

Most studies identify various check points to judge an internet source for its reliability:

-Author: is the author a reputable source/organisation or was it written anonymously?

-Evidence-based: is the content evidence- and fact-based?

-Date: Is the information recent or out-of-date?

-Purpose and audience: What is the purpose of the source (e.g. entertainment, scientific research, etc.)

Modern technology also tries to improve the search for reliable sources through multiple features:

-Specific URL endings: .gov (Governmental sites); .edu (university and educational institute websites, etc.)
In some countries the governmental sites differ (e.g., in Spain government translates to gobierno and therefor the ending is .gob)

-Transport Layer Security (TLS) for Google Search (https): Mainly to guarantee safety on the websites themselves, sites without this URL are deemed more unreliable and non-priority by Google Search.

Online Search

Materials: Topic Cards, ability to conduct an internet search (smartphone, laptop, etc.)

To start off the activity, the learners are asked to research a specific topic/information on Google.

After 15 minutes, the participants share their results. Some may have different results than others, depending on their sources and search terms.

This activity highlights the need for proper internet search and reliable sources. If everyone has the same results, replay their search, it might be, they all clicked on the same source (e.g. Wikipedia or such).

Identifying reliable sources

Important checklist on how to identify reliable sources:

https://www.thoughtco.com/gauging-website-reliability-2073838

More in-depth list of reliable sources regarding webpage endings and news pages:

https://sites.umgc.edu/library/libhow/credibility.cfm

Reliability of Wikipedia

Considering its broad usage worldwide, it is important to know more about the accuracy of Wikipedia.

https://www.livescience.com/32950-how-accurate-is-wikipedia.html

This topic addressed the amount of fake news and unreliable sources on the internet and how to identify reliable sources and links. Recognizing reliable webpages and information is fundamental in being able to differentiate between true and false information online.