What challenges exist as our students search and sift online informational text? As a history major, and future historian, research is the key to my craft. I have been through it all when it comes to online research. Sifting through the web looking for information for hours then realizing you haven’t done much of anything is a real drag. The challenges that exist when searching online for informational text are pretty obvious. First and foremost you have to figure out whether what you are reading is factual. When you are researching a specific topic the best way to figure out the facts of the event is to have many different sources, from many different time periods, written by many different people. Once you have a good amount of sources you can read through them all and decide for yourself what is true and what you think may not be true. Another problem is that with the advancement of technology over the last few decades we want immediate answers. Some information may be online, and they even are starting to scan books online, but sometimes you need that one hardback book that is in Hawaii and cost 100$ to be sent over. If we could somehow make all books and research tools available online, or more easily accessible, then it would be a lot easier to search online.
The amount of time we spend on our phones, computers, and other electronic devices pretty much guarantees that we have all read something online that was not true. Most of the time the articles that “fool” us online are on TMZ or some social media site, but many times informational, or academic, writing’s online are often misinformative. It is much harder to determine whether or not an informative, or academic, article is right or wrong because most of the time they are so elegantly put together. Often times I come across an “academic” article that is written with a certain agenda, which can be very confusing/misleading. The best thing to do is to research the author and find out his bio, or you could even send him/her an email. I don’t have a definitive answer when it comes to figuring out a solution for learning online, but the more research and the more answers I look for online the closer to the truth I seem to get. It takes practice, but the more you research and read online the better you will get at figuring out what is BS and what is helpful.