I agree with the previous post as far as learning a great deal from the questions I receive and the answers I give. In addition to the research and rereading I do, I learn a great deal more on each topic the more questions I answer. Many are basic questions that seem to come from students too busy (or possibly lazy) to reread the material for the answer themselves. But many are thought-provoking and they make me dig deeper for answers I hadn't considered. I also enjoy conversing with students through the message system and helping them outside the eNotes Q&A realm. The eNotes links to other web sites are also quite helpful and informative.
Using eNotes in the classroom and as an editor, I have to say that I have learned more from the questions and answers on this site than I feel I have ever learned in any other single source.
Sometimes I read materials in the form of eTexts (which are actually poems, stories, plays, etc.) just for pleasure. eNotes has been a great resource in putting together lesson plans, reviewing stories and characters when preparing to read a book with my class for the fourth year in a row, or looking for an answer to a completely an unrelated question I might have. (In other words, though an English teacher, I sometimes look for information from history.) While background information can make an English topic more interesting and understandable (for example, why Shakespeare wrote Macbeth), I find a great deal at this site about things I just never knew.
I have to say that I have found some really wonderful poems and short stories that I had never read before, and I just love that aspect of eNotes.
From the back-end perspective, I use eNotes resources to check on dates of publication; figure out WHICH chapter THAT event DID happen in; refresh my memory on the summary of a chapter; read a biography of an author; or learn more about the "Identities and Issues" relevant to an author, among other things. One thing I don't use is the e-texts because they cover so many pages. If I want a text, it is so I can find the bit I vaguely remember but can't quite place. So I use Gutenberg Project (when text is available) so I can search (Firefox Ctrl+F) the whole document at once and quickly find that elusive bit.
Given I am new to eNotes, I am enthralled with the possibilities the site provides. I plan on incorporating the site into my lesson plans. My plan is to have students look at the questions and discussions which surround the text we are working on so as to gain alternative perspectives on the material.
As for the site itself, I am proud to be a part of a community so dedicated to education. I hope that students look at the site as a priceless tool they can always count on to help them through their educational careers.
I think there is a full spectrum of user motivations for the site, since it is quite complete and versatile vis-a-vis student needs. I think students are attracted to the literature reviews and summaries, sometimes because it helps them to clarify what they are reading and, quite honestly, sometimes because they haven't/don't want to read the actual novel.
In the non-literature areas, it allows students to get direct help with assignments and questions they have, and very subject specific curriculum in a short time period. So imagine on Sunday night when the students are working on what's due tomorrow (and the teachers are grading what's due back tomorrow), and they have access to such a dynamic database of information and professionals to help them.
Well, speaking as another teacher and an enotes editor, I have encouraged students to use this service in terms of using the discussion format to gain a number of different answers to their questions. I have also refered them to the enotes study guide sections on various novels (making sure that they cite them correctly, of course) when I give them independent projects for them to do on novels.
I use eNotes to gain insight on topics I am unsure about, or to confirm my thoughts on a subject. I also help out other people with questions that they may have more difficulties on.
enotes is good for clarifying doubts through discussions :D i always find it enriching when a teacher explains the question in a way that enlightens me. also, when i know how to answer a question, i feel satisfied that i have understood the topic well enough to be able to do so :)
I use enotes for every subject! I use it to clear up thing's I'm not sure about, or simply just a second opinion on my thoughts!
Thank you folks. As teacher i got lot more ideas about this. I can also utilize this while teaching students.