Background: Evidence-based practitioners need to develop proficiency in locating and evaluating necessary information from a variety of sources, a concept known as information literacy. One potential source of information is the World Wide Web; however, the wide range in the quality of information available through the Internet indicates a need for strong critical appraisal skills.
Objectives: To facilitate development of these skills in dental hygiene students, dental hygiene faculty collaborated with a librarian to implement a project to improve information literacy skills and integrate the use of the Internet into dental hygiene course work.
Methods: Students were required to develop a scenario about an aspect of dental hygiene practice, such as client health concern, practice management, or selection of an appropriate dental hygiene therapy. Students were to search the Internet, locate and evaluate a website that could address their scenario, and post this information and additional comments to a text-based computer conferencing section of a class website. Web CT software, particularly the computer conferencing function, was used to support asynchronous online activities. Student evaluation of the assignment was conducted using a 5-point Likert scale.
Results: Mean ratings for structure variables ranged from 3.94 to 3.81. Slightly lower mean ratings for process variables, ranging from 3.74 to 3.21, suggest room for improvement to activities. Mean ratings for outcome variables, ranging from 4.42 to 3.29, suggest achievement of the desired learning outcomes.
Conclusion: Evaluation results warrant the continued inclusion of asynchronous online activities in conjunction with face-to-face classroom instruction.