Seeking for online information about everyday life topics – such as climate change and personal health issues – determines many of our daily research activities, both professionally and privately. News sites, blogs, forums, and social networks are increasingly becoming the main information search platforms. Furthermore, seeking for online information can determine individuals’ personal decisions and hence can prepare future actions.
The key challenge for information seekers is to become able to properly assess the quality of online information. Is searching for “correct”, “complete”, and “appropriate” online information always the same as the successful finding of good-quality information? And, at all, what information is accurate, complete and appropriate? Are there types of media and providers of information whose information is particularly reliable and credible? Which criteria are used by information seekers in order to decide whether the information is of good quality and do they need to use such criteria differently depending on different contexts?
In this course, we will examine research approaches and empirical findings on individuals’ online information behavior from psychological and pedagogical perspectives. In this sense, we will discuss whether and how any strategy of information seekers in dealing with online information can be rather successful under which conditions. Furthermore, we will question how to promote skills related to successful online information behavior, as the education of individuals to become competent in dealing with online information forms an integral part of media education. Thus, based on the knowledge acquired in the course, approaches to promote information seekers’ ability to seek, evaluate, and use online information successfully should be expanded (especially for educational contexts).