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On the Advantages of Following the Links

  October 17th, 2011

In today’s technological societies the Internet prevails.  Almost every email, website, or file contains links to the world wide web that may supply some extra information, clarify an issue, suggest an interesting sidebar on a topic you’re studying… or contaminate your computer with a virus. So one has to follow the links carefully.

I have been greatly pleased with following the links of the webquest activity assigned for our online development class.  Having done my grading for today, I decided that I could have a little fun checking out the potential help for creating my class content.  I dismissed many of the videos from Ted as a bit too socially conventional for my courses, lost patience with sociology.org, but was pleased beyond belief with what following the links allowed me to discover.

One of the websites, Merlot (I feel compelled to explain that the acronym stands for Media Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching), sported clear discipline categories, so I clicked on Sociology and dug in.  I looked at the couple of quizzes, and then a tutorial called Science and Race: Concept and Category peaked my interest since I was looking for a good presentation on racism for my Social Problems class.  I clicked…

…I have to admit, I did not finish this activity in one sitting. As I went through the tutorial, I was clicking on the signs on the slides – letter I for information that appeared on a slide, a little globe for a link outside the tutorial – and I clicked – and made it to this activity.

If you are interested in what I have found, try it out for yourself, and prepare for a challenge – this is an activity that is impossible to get right! At least, I think so.  I bet it could be pretty fun for the students to start from trying to assign a face to a census category and end up finding out about the social construction of race and the realities of racism.  I could not believe I found an activity that is so perfectly aligned with the content of my course – I even have a reading on the history of the census that my students read already. With this activity, I am sure, I will get responses for the topic that are much more alive. I can’t wait.

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7 Responses to “On the Advantages of Following the Links”

  1. Thanks for sharing what you found. These searches can truly be productive, and Merlot is an excellent site.

    I tried your linked activity; yes, it’s a challenge . . . that’s a great learning object! A lot of students will benefit from this.

    Cub Kahn
    Ctr. for Teaching & Learning

    Comment by Cub Kahn - October 19th, 2011 @ 5:41 pm
  2. Olga, I’m thrilled that you found this. I tried the activity and got only five correct. I would have estimated before starting that I’d get at least 50% right … but I wasn’t even close.

    I’m also thrilled to see that you’re discussing alignment with your outcomes. This was a great find!

    Comment by Shannon Riggs - October 20th, 2011 @ 3:48 pm
  3. I loved your comment about following the links, Olga. I found MoOM particularly useful for link surfing to useful materials, even if I found the original site kind of hard to navigate. I didn’t find many resources with Merlot, but I wonder whether my search terms may have been too restrictive. I’m looking forward to searching pbs.org for materials though – I already know they have an entire site devoted to a research expedition on sperm whales (http://www.pbs.org/odyssey/), because this is the project where I got my samples for my PhD from!

    Comment by Alana Alexander - October 22nd, 2011 @ 12:33 pm
  4. Cub, thank you for your comment! I agree that the students will benefit from this activity, and I think it is fun and different from the other assignments in class. I agree with you as well that MERLOT is excellent, I will explore a lot more of it.

    Shannon, interesting, isn’t it? I was not quite 50% right either, something like 7 or 8.

    Alana, thanks for commenting about the links! I am not sure I know what MoOM stands for.

    Comment by Olga Rowe - October 24th, 2011 @ 4:25 pm
  5. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

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