A sure sign.

A quick glance at the due dates for assignments in course sites that we sometimes stumble across (usually when we're looking for copies of articles that are no longer available, except for pay, on their original servers) usually gives us a very clear indication of whether or not the site is still active. Often we'll learn that papers are due two or three years ago. And even on sites for courses that, at least judging from the date, are apparently still taking place we'll frequently see examples of student work from a few years earlier, yet nothing from last year. It's as though the lecturer has lost any expectation of getting quality work from his or her students and thus is content to leave the output of earlier classes on the class site.

Sadly, this is often also true of the bibliographies in these courses. We'll often discover that neither the sites, nor the books and/or articles, cited have been updated for a few years, and that students taking these courses are being asked to read (by web standards at least) quite outdated material.

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