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ACS 108 Critical Reading and Thinking

Blue Banner image with laptop keyboard photo and text ACS 108 Web Evaluation

What is the Web?

Key Facts:

  • The World Wide Web (aka "The Web") is the part of the Internet that contains websites. 
  • Websites store, link, and deliver webpages and can range in size from one page to thousands of pages. 
  • Only a tiny fraction of the web is available through an internet browser like Google. It is estimated that over 90% of the internet is made up of the "deep web", which includes research databases and library catalogs.

Who adds content to the Web?

  • Anyone with an Internet connection can create a website or post content on social media. 
  • No one edits or verifies general content on the Web.  
  • Most published content like books and periodicals are protected by copyright laws. Only the authors and/or publishers can provide permission to post the content online. Many people think that all information is available online for free, but this just isn't true.  


What do pizzas parlors, viruses, and wildfires all have in common? They've all been the subject of misinformation! Most of us have encountered misinformation on our news feeds, but we might not always recognize it. Let's learn more about misinformation, why it's a problem, and tips for recognizing it.

Web Evaluation Warm-Up Activity

Briefly look over the CO2 Science website and use your best judgement to decide if the website is:

Definitely reliable: 0 votes (0%)
Somewhat reliable: 0 votes (0%)
Not at all reliable: 0 votes (0%)
Not sure: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

What are two (2) pieces of evidence that helped you make your decision?

Domain Names

A website's address is often referred to as the URL or Uniform Resource Locator.  Much like a physical address that can help us find a location by a street, city, state and zip code, the URL provides key information about a website. 

The domain name is a three-letter code found at the end of the URL and preceded by a "dot."

Which of the following domain names are interchangable?
.gov, .edu, and .org: 0 votes (0%)
.org and .gov: 0 votes (0%)
.com, .net, and .org: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0
Does a domain name give you enough information to make a decision about the credibility of a webpage?
Yes: 0 votes (0%)
No: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

Who is Behind the Information?

When testing the reliability of a website, we are really asking ourselves who is behind the information. This means we need to find out more about the author and organization who created and shared the content. Here are four things to consider: 

Learn about the Organization through Lateral Reading

Lateral reading means clicking away from a webpage to open additional Internet browser tabs and search outside the original source. This helps you to learn more about the organization, author, and/or claims made on the original webpage. 

Understand the Motivation

Lateral reading helps us determine an author or organization's motivation for sharing information.

  • Inform - news, public information, research, education
  • Persuade - to make money, think a certain way, lobby for a cause, political movement, or industry
  • Entertain - satire, pop culture, fun

When the motivation is to inform and provide accurate information. You will usually see:

  • Editors, fact-checkers, reviewers, or peer-reviewers
  • Transparent systems to catch, correct, and admit mistakes when they are made.

Look for Author Qualifications/Credentials

Credentials help you understand an author's level of expertise on a subject and provide context for the type of information they are qualified to write. Credentials can include degrees, employment and publications in a field, work with a specific organization, and so on. 

Watch for Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is information created and sponsored by a business. It is often created to look like a real article or infographic, but the content is going to be in the best interests of the business. 

Web Evaluation Escape Room

ACS 108 Evaluating Online Sources Activity