I feel the site is especially valuable to the student of Literature. eNotes has excellent information in one place on virtually every classical book. As such it is a gem of a resource for the serious student of literature.
Students should be exposed to the site. They should also be encouraged to cite their sources and credit verbatim quotations.
I did encourage my students to use websites like eNotes. I found the modern translation of works by authors like Shakespeare to be particularly helpful. Of course, some students would try to use this type of site to cheat. It's fairly easy to tell that something is plagiarized when a 9th grader hands in work that looks like it was written by a college professor. eNotes is a wonderful resource for students and teachers alike.
When I started being a contributing editor at the end of last year, I let a few students know about the site and how to use it, but I haven't used it as an official resource in my class.
Now, after having been using it throughout the summer, I realize what a wealth of information is here, and I plan on recommending it more in the coming year.
I intend on using the discussion forums in order to encourage students to post questions and then to contribute to a range of different responses. I do feel that enotes has a lot to offer students, but apart from making them aware of it and perhaps using the discussion forums as I mentioned, I will probably leave the decision of whether they use it or not and to what extent up to them.
I have only been here a month, and I don't know yet if this site will be blocked at my school, as we have a rather restrictive filter system. I was amused to stumble over a question that one of my classmates from a recent graduate school course had apparently posted, but that's what the professor gets for asking simplistic questions. I agree with the others that it's a good place to get a feel for a topic, read through different opinions, and get your juices flowing.
Any experienced teacher should have some feeling for the student voice. If something doesn't sound like a certain student wrote it, it's usually because they didn't. Copying the questionable passages and pasting them into a google searchbox is not hard to do.
I recommend eNotes to my students who have special needs in particular. I find parents appreciate the resource of the teacher who can make the house call in a society where that idea is completely gone. Also, I agree with pohnpei397 in that the fact-finding aspect of the question and answer segment is not enough to be learning. So, I encourage use only when in desperate need for help to locate seemingly important details that were overlooked. Then, back in the classroom, we talk about the relevance of the information retrieved in a Socratic forum.
Actually I was surprised by how many of my students had already found eNotes, especially for the literature summaries and help. The school I teach in, however, is in a largely poverty stricken area (58% of students on free and reduced lunch), so I know of only a handful that actually are subscribers, so that does limit their site use a bit.
For discussion-type question, absolutely. I don't see any problem with the pay aspect since the majority of the users on here aren't paying.
I do recommend this for students who are trying to get a range of opinions on a topic. This way, they can get perspectives different from mine/those of their classmates.
As for factual stuff, I don't assign homework like that because I don't think it has much pedagogical value. Therefore, I can't really recommend my students use this site since I don't assign anything that they could get from eNotes.
I try to let all of my students--and my friends who have school-age children--know about eNotes and encourage them to use the site. There are many excellent teachers and editors available to help students in need, and there are few sites that offer better educational services. I just warn them not to use my own answers on papers they turn in to me.
I plan on recommending the site to my students. Many of the questions that they have will have probably been answered previously by another person (no need to pay). Outside of that, I am on here all of the time. I can check up on answers and see if they are plagiarising anything from the site.
I happen to love the technicality of the answers provided by the editors. I think that sometimes students need to see a different point-of-view that allows an idea to "click".
i encourage students to use the websites by which they can learn as them education have. On internet many things are there which gives you best knowledge.