Creating Effective Internet Assignments

Consider these issues in creating an effective internet assignment for your course.


  • Make sure your students understand the assignment. Give your assignments in writing to reduce confusion.
  • Could we please get a written copy of your assignment? It will better help us at the Reference Desk to assist your students.
  • Check URLs carefully for any typos.


The internet is continually changing. Check your assignment regularly so your students are not looking for outdated or no-longer-existing web pages/sources.


  • Do the assignment yourself to see how long it takes before you decide how much time students will need to complete it.
  • Remember to consider unexpected technical problems (e.g., servers down, home campus system not available, etc.).
  • Allow time for students' inexperience with this new technology.

Critical Thinking

  • Information quality varies considerably on the internet. Stress the importance of evaluating what they find.
  • If the process itself is too overwhelming, students will settle for the first piece of information they find-regardless of its value.

Realistic Expectations

  • Students do not learn good research skills from frustrating "no-win" assignments.
  • Make sure the information you are requesting actually exists and is available on the internet.

TRY TO AVOID THIS ASSUMPTION: "Most students already know the basics."

Consider a Library Research Orientation for your entire class.

Remember: Librarians are available to assist you when creating internet or other research assignments!

(Some ideas for this web page were taken from the California Clearinghouse on Library Instruction- Southern Section's "Guidelines for Effective Library Assignments" and "Characteristics of Effective Assignments" from the Sterling C. Evans Library at Texas A&M University.)