Virginia Montecino
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This assignment may be copied with attribution. 

Exploring and Critiquing the WEB 

The Internet has become a valuable resource for information in various disciplines. I would like you (in your small groups) to explore some of the Internet sites and the Internet culture that relates to your major. Each member of your group will explore one WEB site that relates to your major (each person in your group can select one WEB site with various hypertext links, or a variety of sites, depending upon the substance of the material). You may decide to observe the differences in presentation and how that affects your interpretation of and understanding of the data. You may also want to explore the differences in ease of use, advantages/disadvantages of the WEB sites you visit. You will analyze the WEB sites in relation to the points below, write a collaborative report on your findings (plus an informal individual report telling me your contribution to the project), and give an oral presentation to the class: At the beginning of your report, I would like you to list the URL address of each site and include a brief a summary of the content of that site.

Questions to address:

  1. What is the theme and URL of the Web site?
  2. What are the various categories of information listed under that WEB address?
  3. What are the hypertext links on that Web? How do the various links relate to the main "page"?
  4. What kinds of graphics are on that site? Describe them in detail. How do they relate to the topic? What, if anything, do the graphics add to hold your attention? Do the graphics provide useful information - in what way? Do the graphics support text information or do they stand alone? Who is the audience for these graphics? 
  5. Are the sites user friendly?  Do they load quickly or are they memory "hogs"?  Do they assume the visitors have plug-ins like Flash and Quicktime? Do they assume the visitors can navigate sites that are complex and sophisticated in design and navigation?
  6. Discuss the credibility/authority of the sites. It is a given that you may not be familiar with the institutions, organizations, or individuals connected with the sites (and this is also true with traditional text sources), but what clues do you have about the credibility of the sites and information? From what institutions or organizations do the site originate? Are they the products of a recognized institution and/or individual with credibility in that particular field? Or are they products of individuals whose authority you do not know?
  7. Make some general observations about what you learned from exploring these sites - what you learned about your field and what general observations you can make about the usefulness and value of the information you found on the Internet.

You might want to keep a "bookmark" of your web site address on a diskette so you can return to it on the campus machines without having to start all over. Keep track of your work, take notes, to help you write your individual assessment of the work you did on the project.

You will be assigned a day to give your oral report and show your sites to the class.

Virginia Montecino