I wanted to add some comments and observations for your readings and activities in this unit. There is quite a bit of content that has been put together for this course for this week and I have added a few readings and examples of tools that try teach the concept of website evaluation.
My approach to website evaluation is that the skills developed for this task are equally useful for evaluating other forms of media. I have taught using approved textbooks that contained errors of fact and omission. I find journalism that is trustworthy and timely on the web. The cautionary clichés about Internet sources are, I believe, true for those who cannot or will not evaluate what they find.
Kathy Schrock and Stephen Downes have distinct differences in how they evaluate content on the Web. Such systems are always works in progress that can be informed and perfected by each use. This is why I want you to develop, use, and reflect on multiple sets of criteria. This is an important opportunity to engage your fellow students to better develop an approach that withstands hard questions.
Finding usable, current, and reliable resources using the search and cataloguing facilities that the Web offers can be frustrating, at best. We have all heard the stories about the amount of digital information that is out there and how fast it’s growing, so it’s no wonder that doing a search using a couple of keywords returns an enormous number of search results from which to pick. One of the most important information literacy skills is being an effective searcher. We are going to have a look at some strategies for making searching more effective, but a couple of good general tips are:
- Pick a maximum of two or three sites from which to do your searching and learn them inside out.
- Don’t only rely on simple keyword searches—learn how to use the advanced search options.
Social bookmarking tools are an important part of my workflow as an instructional designer, researcher and instructor. I was resistant to takeing on this tool until I was faced with coordinating resources that I encountered at several different computers throughout the week. After making an account in Delicious and installing the bookmarklet on web browsers in all the computers I use, I was able to save bookmarks with tags for sorting and descriptions to remind me what I hoped to use them for. Now I’ve switched to Diigo (there is a way to transfer bookmarks from Delicious to Diigo) and social bookmarking continues to be a vital part of my daily work.