Assessing the Usefulness and Validity of Online Sources, or Developing Information Literacy

A couple of years ago I published an article in the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy called “Doing Digital Art History in a Pre-Columbian Art Survey Class: Creating an Omeka Exhibition Around the Mixtec Codex Zouche-Nuttall (2018). As part of this essay I shared examples of assignments I use in a Pre-Columbian art class, which are part of a shared set of assignments that I use in all my art history classes. One of these, an assignment that includes assessing online sources for their validity, developed initially in a class I taught at Brooklyn College (and before that at the University of Oregon) called Death and Dying in Mexico. Since that class’s origins in 2009, I have used an assignment about Aztec (or more accurately, Mexica) human sacrifice, a topic often sensationalized. After reading materials for the day, and brief lecture, students had to assess a commonly used online popular source (often whatever came up on the first search page). They used a rubric I borrowed from the University of Nebraska Library that I slightly tweaked to suit the needs of my classes. It empowers students to think about the validity and trustworthiness of online sources, and encourages them to think about power structures, racism, popular media, technology and more. Developing information literacy and digital literacy is incredibly important in this era in which we find ourselves.

It was a powerful assignment then, and it continues to be a powerful and important assignment now.

I mention it here because over the years I have shared this assignment, along with the the materials I developed from my course on death and dying in Mexico with many colleagues–but never here on the website.

Cite this article as: Lauren G. Kilroy-Ewbank, "Assessing the Usefulness and Validity of Online Sources, or Developing Information Literacy," in Adventures in Pedagogy, Digital Art History, + More, February 15, 2020, http://lkilroyewbank.org/lke-blog/assessing-the-usefulness-and-validity-of-online-sources-or-developing-information-literacy/.

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