Evaluating Online Info

Distinguishing fact from fiction, proof from persuasion, and authority from advertising to assess the credibility and reliability of online information.
Made by Digital Promise
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
Learn More About Graduate Credit

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Students use a combination of technical and critical thinking strategies supported by a five-part approach to evaluate the credibility and reliability of online information.

Method Components

Educator leads students through a five-part process designed to help them differentiate between credible and noncredible online information resources. This can be done individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction.

Guidelines for evaluating online information

Use the following five-part approach to evaluating online information to help students improve their ability to assess the credibility and reliability of online information.

  1. What can the URL tell you?
    • Is it somebody's personal page? (blogging site, personal server, etc.)?
    • What type of domain does it come from (education, government, commercial)?
    • Is it published by an entity that has expertise in the content or is known for the quality of its journalism (NIH for health info, NYTIMES for authoritative journalism, etc.)?
  1. What can the perimeter of the main web page content tell you?
  2. (check pages such as About Us, Our Staff, Who We Are)

    • Who wrote the page? Which organization does it come from?
    • Is the page dated? Is it current?
    • What are the author's credentials on the subject?
  1. Are there key indicators of quality information?
    • Are sources documented with footnotes and links?
    • If the information is reproduced from another source, is it complete and not altered or faked?
    • Are there links to other resources on the topic?
  1. What do others say about the information?
    • Who links to the page?
    • Is the website listed in other reputable sites or references?
    • What do others say about the author or organization that sponsors the information?
  1. Does it all add up?
    • Why was the information put online?
    • Might it be intended as a satire, spoof, parody, or joke?
    • Is this as credible and useful as resources available in print or online through a library?

Suggested preparation

Students discuss how they determine whether the information they find online is credible and reliable, creating a list of techniques and strategies they find useful.

Suggested review

Students discuss how these strategies have helped them be more confident about the credibility and reliability of online information and what other strategies they have found to be useful in evaluating online information.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Information literacy, discerning the credibility and reliability of information found online, is important for effectively researching answers to questions, finding truthful and reliable information, and learning in general; certain strategies and techniques have been proven to be effective in assessing online information.

  • Making Sense of Credibility on the Web: Models for Evaluating Online Information and Recommendations for Research, http://bit.ly/2jn31vl
  • Head, Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College, Project Information Literacy, http://bit.ly/2jtY7KB


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in evaluating online information? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the activities and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, or other media) that demonstrate progress toward the competency in evaluating online information, including such items as evidence of discussions of helpful strategies to evaluate online information, examples of student analyses of websites and pages, samples of credible and false online information, or other relevant items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the evaluating online information activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • How did the activities for evaluating online information help you use online information more effectively and efficiently?
  • How did the online information evaluation strategies change your view of the value and usefulness of online resources?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the evaluating online information activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Evaluating Online Info
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

Ready to get started?