Web Textbook Will Assist Students in Improving Their Internet IQ

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Susan B. Barnes, professor in the Department of Communication and associate director for the Lab for Social Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology, has just released the second edition of her textbook Web Research: Selecting Evaluating and Citing.

The book seeks to provide a better understanding of the Internet as a scholarly research vehicle. The new edition contains expanded sections on avoiding plagiarism and proper citing of materials, while also including tips on locating credible information and evaluating Web site content.

“Currently, students are using the Web as a research source in addition to, and often in place of, traditional printed texts,” Barnes says. “Unfortunately, they often do not have the tools necessary to properly evaluate the information they find. It is my hope Web Research will provide the necessary framework to allow students to effectively utilize all of the benefits the Internet has to offer.”

Barnes coauthored the book with two librarians, Marie Radford from Rutgers University and Linda Barr from Texas Lutheran University. The authors will be promoting the book at various conferences throughout the country over the next several months.

Given the growing use of the Web in college classrooms, many universities are now considering testing students’ Internet IQ, including California State University and University of Texas, to gain a better understanding of what they know and what they need to learn.

“Eventually, proper understanding of the Internet will be as common a test of college students as math and writing skills,” Barnes adds. “We need to do a better job of educating students in this area and providing them with the tools to succeed.”

Susan B. Barnes has studied the Internet for over a decade and is an international expert in Web communication and technology. She is also the author of Online Connections: Internet Interpersonal Relationships (Hampton Press, 2001) and Computer-Mediated Communication: Human-to-Human Communication Across the Internet (Allyn & Bacon, 2003). She currently serves as a technology columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, NY.