Not just how to pay for college – but who to trust. Christina Reisinger EDTL 6360 Web Page Evaluation
A Tale of Two Sites Something almost every college student needs… Money to help pay for college! Let’s evaluate two sites: www.StudentLoans.gov And www.StudentLoan.comMy Reason for choosing this comparison:As a former VP for a financial institution, I used to get a lot of questions about student loans. I also have a huge personal commitment to students’ financial literacy. When I performed a google search for Student Loans, I was provided several ads related to the search, but the first two sites provided were for the ones above. Not only did I see this as an opportunity for this class, but also a future lesson for my students on website evaluation and personal finance!
Criteria #1 Authority • Who is responsible for the web content? • www.StudentLoans.gov • www.StudentLoan.com •The United States Department of • Citicorp Inc. is responsible for the content. Education is responsible for the site. The domain extension of .com could also One can also glean that the United give us a clue as to the type of site it is. States government is responsible for the .com means it is a commercial site. web content due to the domain extension of .gov.• The government can be considered qualified in • Citicorp could be considered qualified. They are in providing information on student loans as they are the financial services business and a student loan is a responsible for regulating the student loan industry financial service. as well as having responsibility for the regulation of colleges and universities. .com might mean something to us…
Criteria #2 Accuracy IS THE INFORMATION BASED ON VERIFIABLE FACTS? WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION? ARE THERE LINKS TO OTHER SOURCES? • www.StudentLoans.gov • www.StudentLoan.com • The United States Department of • Citicorp Inc. is the source of the Education and therefore the US information. Citibank is a subsidiary of Government is the source of the Citicorp. information. • Most of the links for information on the siteThere are links to other governmental sites link back to the site in some way. There for more information or for assistance, are very few links to other sources of such as mynextmove.org, the US information. Department of Labor’s Career Search tool or Sat.collegeboard.org for information on undergraduate admissions testing. StudentLoan.com is starting to seem a little fishy…
Criteria #3 Currency • No, not the paper kind you can spend! • How recent is the information? When was it placed on the web? • When was it last revised? Is the information timely? • Are there dead links on the site? • www.StudentLoans.gov • www.StudentLoan.com• The information seems recent, but there • The site was last copyrighted in 2012, so is no date to show when it was the information should be timely and up to published or last updated. Information date. There appear to by no dead links on the site refers to the 2012-2013 on the site, however most of the links loop school year so the information seems back to the site itself. timely. There are no dead links on the site.
Criteria #4 Objectivity • Is the information presented with a minimum of bias? Is the information fair, balanced, and reasonable? • www.StudentLoans.gov • www.StudentLoan.com• The information is non-biased and the • The information is one sided and rates are links allow for exploration into types of not provided until you apply for a loan, so aid, schools, and ways to avoid scams. information is not made available to There are links to other governmental everyone. Most of the links on the site agencies that can provide assistance come back to the site. There is little as well as outside sources of information available for exploration. information. Rates are provided for anyone to view. Objectivity is important to consider so you know if a site is credible or possibly up to no good…
Let’s unlock the mystery of the Student Loan sites! I choose www.StudentLoans.gov• I trust the domain extension of .gov. A .com site indicates a commercial site that could be vying for my business. I also found the inability to link to sites outside of the Studentloans.com site disturbing. Citicorp has a vested interest in my application for a student loan through their site, they don’t seem like they want to provide other non- biased information for me to consider.