15.431 evaluating Web-sites, measuring learning

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Fri Jan 04 2002 - 05:57:19 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 431.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Willard McCarty <w.mccarty@btinternet.com> (25)
             Subject: evaluating Web sites

       [2] From: lachance@CHASS.UTORONTO.CA (Francois Lachance) (29)
             Subject: measuring learning

             Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 10:47:08 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <w.mccarty@btinternet.com>
             Subject: evaluating Web sites

    In response to Humanist 15.427, allow me to point interested persons to the
    summary I put together last Autumn on evaluating Web-sites, at
    <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/year1/comms/evaluate.html>. As many
    will know there are now many pages devoted to the topic, some with useful
    exercises. I would be most grateful for pointers to additional exercises
    and indeed for comments on my own summary.

    It does seem to me that in the context of *humanities* computing, critical
    thought about online resources is of the greatest importance. Of course
    much of this applies to resources in earlier media. Thus we can draw on
    prior work and be immediately helpful to colleagues whose focus is on these
    earlier media. (In fact, as a number of people have pointed out, our
    raising of the question for electronic resources illuminates its relevance
    elsewhere.) What preoccupies me particularly, however, are the differences
    that the electronic medium makes. To take just one example, the ease with
    which lists are made in HTML suggests that they have a new prominence
    online, and the degree to which highly divergent, de-contextualised
    resources can be recontextualised hypertextually in such lists gives them
    the potential for rhetorically very interesting work.


    Dr Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer,
    Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London,
    Strand, London WC2R 2LS, U.K.,
    +44 (0)20 7848-2784, ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/,
    willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk, w.mccarty@btinternet.com

             Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 10:47:21 +0000
             From: lachance@CHASS.UTORONTO.CA (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: measuring learning


    I think this little bit from a vendor might be of interest to subsribers
    concerned about the rhetoric surrounding the question of the links between
    training and education:


    An organization will license Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
    for their employees. The average employee will utilize approximately 20%
    of the capabilities of the software program (open a document, save, print,
    etc). Yet, an organization wanting to provide training, will most likely
    license training courseware to cover 100% of the software programs


    Accessed November 5, 2001

    This is not necessarily a horrible scenario of wasted resources. We can
    distinguish between training and education. The learning opportunity of
    being exposed to more than the 20% of software features commonly utilized
    may be more valuable than acquiring the knowledge of which button to push.

    It seems that a scenario of habit formation subtends the granularity
    argument (waste to know what you don't use). And that the argument fails
    in a scenario of discovery where it becomes an asset to learn what can be
    used and where it is a waste not to play.

    Of course, BitLearning sells courses in three highly quantifiable subject
    areas: computer hardware, software and business management. One wonders
    what presures market forces will have on huminities disciplines and how
    these pressures will shape moves to quantify learning outcomes.

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality

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