A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented exercise using websites. Students
explore online resources to obtain answers to questions, conduct
research, or learn more about particular positions. A WebQuest has
students synthesize, analyze, solve problems, or apply knowledge to real
world situations. For example, the WebQuest in LandmarkCases.org’s Texas v. Johnson could
help prepare for a legislative hearing about flag burning by
researching the positions of different interest groups on the issue.
Many WebQuests use group-based work, with a division of tasks among
students. It is usually best to build the activity around pre-selected
resources so that students can spend time engaging with information, not
searching for it.
Before class begins:
- Decide on the problem or issue students will address through the
WebQuest. Locate helpful resources online that will help students
address this problem or issue. When appropriate, look for a variety of
sources with a variety of perspectives.
- Create a list of websites for students to use. Indicate whether
these websites are required or optional, and if you want them to find
additional resources. Some students may find it helpful to see a
particular list of questions that can be answered by going to a specific
website. (This “worksheet” should not be the end product, but rather a
place to take notes.)
If you have a classroom website or space on a learning management
system like BlackBoard, Google Classroom, or Edmodo, you might consider
posting this worksheet there. Include hyperlinks to the sites so
students can find them quickly. If students will be working in groups to
gather information, you might consider creating the worksheet as a
shared online document (through a service like Google Docs or Zoho Docs)
so students within a particular group can collaborate and share their
work more easily.
- Devise a task for students to complete that incorporates information
from the various sites. The task should involve higher-order thinking
and not simply summarizing the content contained on websites. Some
examples of tasks include creating a multimedia presentation,
participating in a discussion, debate, or deliberation, participating in
a simulation, presenting possible solutions to a problem in a
multimedia format, or publishing solutions on a website.
- Develop a rubric or another clear (written) set of expectations to give to students so they know how they will be assessed.
When class begins:
- Introduce students to the general goal of the activity. Familiarize
students with guidelines for web-based research. See “Evaluating
Websites” described in this document for more information.
- Frame the problem, issue or task for students. Explain how and why
the websites will be the source of information and drive the activity.
- Distribute assignment sheets and assessment rubrics or tools.
- If you want students to work in groups, spend time reviewing the roles and how each student is expected to contribute.
- After students have completed their tasks, debrief the activity by
discussing what they learned, as well as possible extensions and
applications of the information.