how online resources like enotes help in enriching literary criticism skills of the students of literature? is there any study that will prove that online resources has an effect in enhancing the critical literacy of the students?
akannan is correct that teachers must be vigilant to ensure that students don't abuse technology and plagiarize instead of generating their own work. The fact that some students do this does not point to a problem with the technology or the resource, but with the teaching. If teachers approach their classrooms as though there is not a world of online information available outside the classroom door, then students will fill the gaps with whatever tools they have. One way to "turn the tables" is to use a resource like eNotes as a lesson development tool. This familiarizes the teacher with some of what's "out there."
Part of what makes enotes and other online resources helpful to students is that they can provide further links and references for students to enhance their course of study on a particular work. Students are able to utilize online resources both for what they are and what more they can give to enhance study, develop arguments, and gain further insight. Indeed, there might be some abuse of the technology, but if teachers are vigilant, this can be minimized for a greater advantage to students in their courses of study on a particular work.
I think that enotes helps students especially with the writing process. Yes, there are students who want editors to write their essays for them essentially, but for the most part, teachers can help students with thesis statement problems or discuss whether or not a student has provided enough support for his/her main points in a paper.
In regards to literature, enotes is extremely helpful because a student often gets more than one answer to his or her question and has to decide which one works best with his/her interpretation of a text or might even begin to think of a work in a different way because of the variety of answers the student receives.
Students come to E-Notes for answers to questions given by teachers. Regardless of whether they are given specific answers or more questions to guide their thinking, the critical literacy of students is enhanced as they have to decide what information to use, how they will convert the information into a format usable for whatever assignment on which they are working, and etc.
If teachers on the site do their jobs correctly, copying and pasting should not even be possible. When a student asks a question about a literary work, we can help him/her hone his critical/analytical skills by suggesting lines of questioning instead of providing answers. For example, a student just posted an inquiry about a "critical appreciation" of a poem. It is not our job to provide OUR critique of the poem, but to ask questions that help the student construct his/her own. We might ask if the student notices any familiar literary devices in a poem, and if he/she thinks they are used well. We could ask what the student notices about the way the poem is "built" (stanzas, etc) and if he/she thinks this structure is best.
I am not sure that there are any studies that show the effect of online resources on critical literacy of students. I think that the effect depends on what the student does with the information they get from sites like this. Do they use it to enhance or reinforce their own thinking or just copy and paste it into their own work without trying to learn from the information.
On-line assistance is wonderful if it points students in the right direction as opposed to being their menu for their own creation. If students can use the information wisely under the guidance of teachers, it can be highly rewarding. Otherwise, it just becomes another crutch.