So what makes a WebQuest a WebQuest?
Keep in mind that the most important feature of a WebQuest is that it guides students through the use of information found on the Internet to solve a specific problem. As such, you should end up with products that fall into the catagory of higher order thinking.
No matter what terminology you use, a good WebQuest will present the students with a task, a general list of steps to complete that task, links to specific information related to the completion of the task, and a wrap-up once the task is completed.
The most generally accepted pieces of a WebQuest (in the standard sequence) are:
The introduction is usually a short, general presentation of the task the students will be required to complete. This is where you really need to get your hook right. A quote from cornerstone material or an entertaining backstory will usually do the trick in the introduction. For the Introduction, remember KISS: Keep It Short & Simple.
The task is the what of the WebQuest. Most good WebQuests engage the students in some sort of role-playing, and the best WebQuests provide students with an opportunity to take on one or more distinct roles or points of view. The task gives students a general roadmap of what they'll accomplish during their quest. Some WebQuest authors begin putting links to information here, while others do not. The choice is up to you, but personally, I do not put links to anything other than basic definitions because it helps to keep the quest moving along.
The process is the bread and butter of a WebQuest. This is where a tendancy for specificity comes in very handy. The process should provide links to pertinant information. How many links do you need? Like most teaching questions, it all depends on the material, the students, & your teaching style. There are no right or wrong ways to do it. One general suggestion is to not link to resources that contain pages upon pages of information unless you specifically tell the students what part of the page to look at. Otherwise, they end up spending more time looking for information rather than using it, thus defeating Dodge's original purpose for the model.
The process should be sequential. Do not think, however, that this will limit your quest to simple regurgitation of what's on the screen. This simply means that the students will spend very little time saysing, "What do we do next?" Include visual queues in your process so that students can easily identify the various sections. This seems to give them a sense of accomplishment as they motor through each section and decreases frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed.
This section is where you explain to the students exactly what they are supposed to do. Here's where your scoring guides and rubrics go.
The conclusion is where you wrap things up. It is important that you make the students feel as though they have completed something important. Stress that they started with nothing and ended up with something. This is also a good place to have the student exhibit their products to one another. Remember, students learn through healthy exchange of ideas just like we do!