Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
January 2, 2003

Research-Based Observations One adage is missing from this article: be careful when conducting usability tests, because you will only find what you're looking for. Usability tests are conducted by giving people specific tasks to conduct on a website. If you don't ask them to, say, bookmark a page on the site, then thinks like frames will not appear as a problem. That's why the advice in this article should be taken with a grain of salt. Most of it appears sound, but recommendations to use Flash, use left-side navigation frames and to write at a grade 8 level (because that's what Americans can read) are inappropriate. By Bob Bailey, Human Factors International, December, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Professors Vie With Web for Class's Attention You're standing at the front of the class giving your usual Thursday lecture when you notice that the clicking from the back of the room has increased in volume. It's an audible vote: your students are tuning out and taking to the web, waiting less than patiently for you to return to something more interesting. This article looks at the issue of internet access in the classroom, but astonishingly, never comes up with the obvious solution: make classes more interesting! By John Schwartz, New York Times, January 2, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Rice University's Connexions Another repository project, this one intended as "an experimental, open-source/open content project . . . that gives a learner . . . free access to educational materials that can be readily manipulated to suite her individual learning style. . . . The free software tools also foster the development, manipulation, and continuous refinement of educational material by diverse communities of authors and teachers." By Ashley Craddock, Creative Commons, December, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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