Saturday, January 21, 2006 as a sample of my online teaching ideas

In about 2000 I was a major designer of the website, which was an effort to create a website for family members about important concerns that they have.

One of the strategies was to create short (50-100) word answers to questions that family members were likely to have. The idea was to provide a lot of short answers to specific questions and then organize these in ways that led to deeper and richer information on this same topic.

Here is a sample of what we did. One common question about divorce is-- what is the divorce rate in the United States? We provide the answer here and then at the bottom of this page is a link to a longer article on the demographics of divorce that provides more information on divorce statistics. On the page there are links to some of original U S Census Bureau data for those people who really want to learn more about divorce rates, trends, etc.

We know from watching how people naviagate through the site that the path that we created is followed by a number of users of the website. The other evidence we have of our success is that this particular page with the short answer quickly became one of the most popular pages found when people searched for "United States divorce rate." Today at least it continues to be the first or second item on a Google search.

A critical idea in our development of this website is that each "answer" to a question should be coherent, meaning unit of information and users would not have to follow the links to get the whole idea. They only had to follow the link if they wanted more information.

No comments: