Whether we like it or not, online resources that students use for their writing assignments (e.g., Wikipedia, Fact Monster, Awesome Library, The Futures Channel) certainly enable them to get quickly to an output or outcome for a class and are continuing to grow in number.
In numerous in-person and online (e.g., Classroom 2.0) conversations with teachers of courses where writing is core to their term deliverables, I’ve found that many are becoming overwhelmed with the accelerating number of online resources that students can leverage and approving or disapproving of their use of these resources is burning up more and more of their time.
Besides vetting the sites and their appropriateness for use as sources for papers, the receipt of the student writings cause teachers to invest time in policing plagiarism, ensuring source citing has actually been done and is accurate, and that their students actually enjoyed the process and learned the material.
There is a resource that has continually impressed me with their keen engagement of students as well as the way in which they deliver rich content for teachers, streamlined processes, content and policies that radically reduce those feelings of being overwhelmed with assurances student work hasn’t plagiarized, been cited accurately and that students have likely enjoyed the writing experience. That resource is Shmoop.